Folks, I'm a cursed being. I love to suffer, I love to feel the horrible sting of bad content running through my veins. I sometimes enjoy stuff like Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass and think, "gotta balance this quality out." So, I saw this tweet by somebody going by Ultima talking about video game parody songs and it reminded me of Starbomb. Then I thought, "huh, I never listened to it and I'm bored at work, so let's listen to it."
Starbomb is a video game-themed comedy music group that consists of Arin Hanson, Dan Avidan and Brian Wecht. The former two are the main duo of the Game Grumps while the latter two make up the band of Ninja Sex Party. At some point they all decided to make music about games together because I guess making regular music and playing video games wasn't enough, so in 2013, they released their self-titled first album.
I went in with the expectation that it'd be bad. Like, even way back when I was a fan of the Game Grumps, I didn't want to listen to it because Arin sometimes did shitty raps in their videos that I didn't like and an album of him rapping sounded like a nightmare.
So, listening to it in the present, I can say that my past self is right. However, it's not the kind of bad that hurts me deep inside. It's not even bad in the same way Nostalgia Critic's The Wall was. I felt a numbed sense of hatred because all the stuff I thought was bad is all stuff I saw before.
It's because Starbomb absolutely felt like it's trapped in 2000s Newground video game parody humor. It's all stuff that I've been exposed to before and grew to hate when I was older. Like with Doug Walker's work, he frankly astounded me with bad takes and insane reinterpretation of something that's meant to be personal - he brought new bad stuff into existence. With Starbomb, it's just, oh it's this old stuff that sucks.
Like, just everything ticks off the boxes of Newgrounds game parody humor. You got beloved video game characters acting like sociopaths for little to no reason, you got copious sex jokes to the point that I rolled my eyes, you got "those" kinds of sex jokes that just feels uncomfortable, etc. At best? As somebody that's been on Newgrounds back then, this is just incredibly lame. The only place it really worked for me was "Rap Battle: Ryu Vs Ken," because the deluge of juvenile insults worked within that context.
There's "Regretroid," a song featuring Emily Valentine as Samus, whose main idea is that Samus doesn't like being seen as a sex object. Like in a different context, I'd probably think this is the best song on the album because it actually means something. However, this is all undercut by "Luigi's Ballad," the song where Mario's portrayed as an obnoxious sex pest vying for Peach's (played by Rachel Bloom) attention and at best, she's just slightly annoyed. Like hey, I don't think you can have a song about a woman not wanting to be seen as a sex object then have another song with a different woman treated like that.
While Peach does have sexual agency in that song by choosing Toad in the end, even that's undermined to me by a different song, "It's Dangerous to Go Alone," where a gay old man constantly sexually harasses Link and it's treated as a joke. Thanks, very nice.
The video I listened to the Starbomb album from does have visuals, but I was listening to this at work so I didn't watch it. But it doesn't really matter because I'm only caring about the songs here. Lyrically? Man, I hate Starbomb.
The only good thing about Starbomb is the instrumentals. Like Nostalgia Critic's The Wall, I actually think the instrumentals are okay. They do a good job at tricking you into thinking Starbomb is better than it actually is. While Dan and Arin did the singing and stuff, Brian Wecht was responsible for the actual music and production, at least according to the Wikipedia page. Very funny to me that the Game Grumps weren't responsible for the part that I actually liked. That said, I actually like the sound of Dan's voice even though I hate what he's saying. I can see why he's the musician of the duo.
Starbomb released two albums after that, one of which came out earlier this year. I refuse to listen to them because I refuse to subject myself to further pain. I looked at the lyrics for the Dark Souls song they released this year so I can confidently say that they haven't improved on the lyrical front.