In addition to the soundtracks from the games, a number of Pokémon albums have been released over the years, with many of these coming from the late ‘90s and early 2000s. These albums are absolutely a time capsule of that era.
A monumental event in the sears was the release of the ambitiously titled Pokémon: The First Movie. An album eventually released, containing all of the songs from the film and Pikachu’s Vacation, the short film that aired before the main event. Where things get weird is that there are a bunch of songs not from the film or the Pikachu’s Vacation that are included in this soundtrack, and the artists behind these songs were huge at the time.
NSYNC, Christina Aguilera, Emma Bunton (with backing vocals from Mel C), Billie Piper and B*Witched all made songs for this soundtrack, and to be honest, they’re all really good songs. And it doesn’t end here. Britney Spears also makes an appearance in 'Soda Pop', which has a radically different sound to any song of hers that I’ve ever heard before. My favourite of these songs would be Billie Piper’s ‘Makin' My Way (Any Way That I Can)’, but that’s not the only bop in this soundtrack at all. ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’ is a banger too, as are most of the other songs.
By the time the second movie, Pokémon the Movie 2000 rolled around, PokéMania had largely calmed down at this point, and as such there were still a couple of big names, but less so than its predecessor. Weird Al’s ‘Polkamon’ is a highlight from this album, in which The B-52’s also appear. My favourite song here is the cover of one of the anime’s opening songs though, Pokémon World.
When you get to the third movie, the celebrity guest stars have gone, but there are some fantastic tracks nonetheless. ‘You and Me and Pokémon’ is my favourite from this album, but the Latin-influenced ‘Pikachu (I Choose You)’ is another solid bop. Some of these songs were even used in the Pokémon Broadway play Pokémon LIVE! (yes, that’s a real thing), giving you two great versions of these fantastic songs to choose from.
The anime itself also has a bunch of exclusive songs that have been released on a few albums over the years. ‘Double Trouble’ is one of the best Pokémon songs outright because it focuses on the comic relief villains, Team Rocket, the best characters in the series. ‘What Kind of Pokémon Are You?’, ‘Together Forever’ and ‘Viridian City’ are classics, and the original ‘PokéRap’ is beyond iconic. It’s my secret shame that I know all the words to it. ‘Pokémon (Dance Mix)’ is a favourite of mine too because it brings back memories of me watching Pokémon videos on VHS when I was a kid.
Despite often being downplayed as a franchise for kids, the Pokémon series has produced some fantastic cheesy pop songs, and I wish this was something more people knew about. Although it’s not got the album treatment yet, ‘Advanced Battle’ is still the best of Pokémon song, and that’s a hill I’m willing to Pokémon battle on.