I'm a 33-year-old adult who has never seen the 1999 Pokémon movie.
...There, I said it.
I am, however, an avid fan of pop music from the late 90's and early aughts, and the musical selections from Pokémon: The First Movie certainly make the cut.
Last week I settled in with the Youtube playlist and listened to the soundtrack, documenting my honest, stream of consciousness reactions in realtime. Before I dive in, please note that some of these songs were featured in the movie...and some were not.
Alright, here we go.
We're off to a pretty average start. This is virtually interchangeable with any generic 90's commercial jingle — just a lot longer. I do not know who Billy Crawford is. Shamefully, the musical break sort of pulls me in; it's super cheesy but it builds nicely. Overall a pleasant surprise, given that it was clearly written by a marketing department. 4 Pokéballs.
I might have heard of M2M — a breathy, late 90's female pop duo. Little bit of acoustic guitar in the mix. I cannot imagine what scene this was used in…perhaps some sort of wistful montage? 5 Pokéballs.
I can easily envision making up a dance routine to this song with my friends for the 6th grade talent show. 6 Pokéballs.
This is the token slow song at a middle school dance. It sounds just like another song I've heard. (Maybe another Christina Aguilera song?) I cannot deny that she has an amazing voice. A minute later, I've figured it out — it's basically a carbon copy of "I Am Your Angel." Not hearing the originality or flair I expect from XTina. 3 Pokéballs.
Britney Spears with a reggae hook? OMG yes. This is the first song that gives me a solid nostalgia rush. This was, I think, one of the last throwaway tracks off of her debut album. So far, this seems the most appropriate for a children's movie about adorable anime creatures. Everything else I've heard is WAY too serious. Kiersten, remember dancing to this jam in your room in 6th grade? 7 Pokéballs.
Three 90's superstars back to back to back. Another slow jam? Is this a really sad movie? Regardless, it sounds like another Friday night D.A.R.E. dance hit for the 6th graders. 5 Pokéballs.
Here we've got solid lyrics right out of the gate: "Don't you be a brontosaurus, don't you ever walk that way." How have I never heard this before? Put it directly in my veins. 7 Pokéballs.
A catchy pop song, although it's fairly generic. Sounds like discount Mandy Moore — could they not get her for this soundtrack? 5 Pokéballs.
I'm already bored after the first 5 seconds. Lyrical highlight: "Let me mend your broken wings and set you free…" Thanks, but no thanks. Some tight harmonies, but that's about it. Nothing interesting here, so we'll move right along. 3 Pokéballs.
'Lullaby' is right — I'm starting to get tired. I don't know if it's the afternoon crash or the lulling effect of all the bubblegum pop bleeding into each other. Either way, I'm feeling far less generous with my ratings. 2 Pokéballs.
This is catchy — surfer vibes, fast pace, some experimenting with ukulele. Picking up the Dick Dale-esque surf rock guitar riffs, too. I dig this. 8 Pokéballs.
I can't come up with anything to say about this song. 2 Pokéballs.
Catch me if you can! I get it. This is cute — the chorus is upbeat and catchy. I'm back to feeling generous. 6 Pokéballs.
Getting funky in here with Aaron Carter. How old was he? A quick Google informs me that he was born in 1987, and this album came out in 2000. Not bad for a 12 or 13-year old. Nice energy and a big bass line. 7 Pokéballs.
...I hate to say it, but this sounds exactly like one of the preceding songs. Losing my stamina for the homogeneity of this album. 2 Pokéballs.
"What are we fighting for?" indeed. This is kind of nice, although a bit overly earnest. Pleasant chorus, good vocals. Maybe I've been worn down by this soundtrack, but this final song is uplifting. (I assume it played over the end credits?) Solid finish, Pokémon: The First Movie. 8 Pokéballs.
Overall, I'd say this soundtrack is fairly average, with a few standout songs — but it ends on a high note. Whether you loved the Pokémon movie or just really miss the early 2000s, consider taking this trip down memory lane to judge for yourself.
...Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get this Vitamin C song out of my head.