As a child of thrifty parents, my CD collection as a child was pretty weird. For every Soul Asylum album, I also had some weird crap that I got because it was cheap, like this soundtrack for the Mega Man cartoon. Some department store was going out of business and had a bunch of stuff on clearance, so since it had Mega Man on it and it costs three dollars or something, it seemed worth a purchase. Hey, the title theme to the cartoon was a solid example of Saturday morning cartoon music, so how bad could it be? Well, as it turns out that song isn't on the album, and basically everything that is on it is wholly inappropriate. Throughout this article will be Youtube videos for the songs that I've been able to find on there, so thanks go out to the brave people that have uploaded them. Please note that any of the videos that actually have anything to do with the cartoon are fan-made.
“Driver” by The Hollowbodies
For me, this song was the saving grace of the album. It seems that The Hollowbodies made the simple sort of alternative rock that I like, and “Driver” is a nice, short, upbeat rock song. I actually liked this song so much that I purchased The Hollowbodies' album Viva La Dregs, which was pretty good. It seems that the album's song “Underground” was pretty much an updated version of “Driver,” but I still prefer the latter. As with every song on the album, I have no idea why it is on the Mega Man soundtrack, seeing as none of the music has anything to do with the show, though some of it was added to the credits after the soundtrack was released in order to advertise the soundtrack.
“Eileen” by Skid Row
This is what I mean when I called the album inappropriate. Was there really a large amount of overlap between fans of heavy metal band, Skid Row and children's cartoon, Mega Man? Probably not. I'm certainly not a Skid Row fan, but looking past that, this is an alright song. At least it is from a time when heavy metal wasn't just grinding and screaming. It's pretty dark and heavy song about some crazy lady named Eileen.
“She” by Smile
Another confusing pick, “She” is a heavy grunge song that lays the distortion on thick. This is another song about a woman, which actually kind of fits. The singer complains about how he thinks he is going to lose his mind, and I can understand Mega Man having those feelings, because Roll was kind of bitch in the show. Again, it is a decent song, but the choice is baffling.
“Iron Mic” by Sugar Ray
Warning: this video has shorted out my doucheometer.
This is a Sugar Ray song off their first album, before they ever had their one hit. It's a weird song in that it starts off with some funky bass, has some decent guitar riffs, and a whole lot of rapping and scratching. The end result isn't very good, but I guess it turned out better than most of the rap rock the world ended up allowing to happen. At least the creators of the soundtrack had the decency to censor some of the profanity in the song, showing that they were at some point aware they were releasing an album for children. Still, a sample saying “kickass” is used quite liberally.
"Realms of Junior M.A.F.I.A. Pt. 2” by Junior M.A.F.I.A.
I could go on about how inappropriate it is for this soundtrack to include a track that features Lil' Kim and has verses that go on about selling drugs and getting head, but you'll have to excuse me while my mind is blown by a coincidence. I believe I've mentioned Chrontendo on multiple occasions at this point. It's a video series that chronicles one man's quest to play every NES game in chronological order, and it is very informative and interesting. It also happens to use a song called “UFO” by ESG as the theme between games, which also happens to be the song that was sampled to create the beat in “Realms of Junior M.A.F.I.A.” I should also note that while it is called “Pt. 2,” it is really just an altered version of the “Realms of Junior M.A.F.I.A.” found on their album.
“Tryst” by Machines of Loving Grace
While many of the acts on the album were up-and-coming bands, Machines of Loving Grace were on the opposite end of that spectrum, offering up a track from their final album. It seems that the goal of the person responsible for collecting these tracks was to create a soundtrack in which every song is from a different genre, and this is the industrial song. Like a lot of tracks on the album, it is okay, but it is also kind of dark, which lends to the overall dark sound of the album, which again makes no sense for a soundtrack to a children's cartoon.
“Sinner Man” by Extra Fancy
The title “Sinner Man” may have made you hopeful that this would be a song that is actually related to Mega Man in some way, but I can assure you that there was never a robot master called Sinner Man, which seems like a missed opportunity to me. “Sinner Man” is actually a hard rock cover of an old gospel song that is sometimes written “Sinnerman.” I love the idea that some kid really liked this song and then went out and bought Extra Fancy's album, because Extra Fancy is considered a pioneer in what has become known as the queercore genre, which is version of punk that focuses on gay themes. I just find the idea that some parent out there might blame Mega Man for “making their kid gay” to be hilarious.
"So Far, So Good... So What" by CIV
Firmly filling the album's punk quota is this song by CIV. It is a thoroughly generic punk song, and I'm sure I've heard the main riff a million times, but it isn't that bad. This is a song that fueled my “punk” phase, but I have to say in retrospect I never really did properly get into the genre, and I still don't really understand it. At least I was rebellious enough to listen to this instead of Blink 182 or something. I ended up downloading some of their stuff from Napster back when that was the place to steal music, and in retrospect CIV is kind of an atypical punk band. I mean, they have the usual sound that you might find in a Tony Hawk game, but they generally have a strangely positive message in most of the songs I've heard.
“Take Cover” by Mr. Big
So, when I watched the cartoon as a kid I never actually saw any of the credits where they started playing songs from this soundtrack, but years later I caught an episode at like four in the morning on some network that is probably bankrupt now, and the credits had this song playing. At first I was bewildered because I was under the impression that the music from the soundtrack was never actually used in the show, but then I just started laughing hysterically because it's fucking Mr. Big, and I can't think of any other band whose mere existence is wont to make me laugh so much.
At this point, the creators of this album have gone completely insane. They have been so dedicated to this whole “every song is a different genre” thing that they decided to throw in a disco song, because why the hell not. Wikipedia lists the genre of the album this came from as “dance-pop” and “house music” but I don't know, I'm not an expert on this sort of stuff and it sounds like disco to me. There just isn't much to the song, and at five and half minutes, it feels like it goes on forever.
“Signs, I Can't Take It” by Inner Circle
I think at this point the creators didn't expect anyone to still be listening, so why not throw in a reggae song. I didn't know it until I did the research for this article just now, but it turns out that Inner Circle is the acclaimed reggae outfit responsible for the famous COPS them “Bad Boys,” so I guess I can now say that I've at least gain some knowledge from writing this. It is kind of depressing to know that they've released twenty five albums, and that is all they will ever been known for in the eyes of the average man.
“Mega Man Theme” by Mega Man
That's right, for the final track Mega Man himself makes a song, and as it turns out he kinda sucks at it. It's an incredibly bland electronic dance track that, frankly, has no redeeming qualities outside of being hilarious. It sounds exactly like every boring dance song that's ever been released by some fourteen year old that fancies himself a DJ because he downloaded a copy of Fruity Loops. I can't help but laugh every time that deep voice says “Mega Man.” When I wrote that “Got Myself Together” felt like it went on forever, that is nothing in comparison to the nearly six minutes of this song really feels like it is reaching the point near a black whole in which time stops. I get the feeling that people won't believe me on this, considering that I can't find a link to it, but I assure it exists, it is on the CD (just look at the scan of the back), and it is not simply the theme from the intro to the show.