I do enjoy me some 1080 Snowboarding. This was a fixture for many years in my house as a youngster. It’s a mighty fine racer that shows absolute dedication to nailing the feel of racing on a snowboard (not that I would know), and features slightly out there tracks that are designed around the boards’ unique handling. As a racing game, it falls right in the middle of that arcade/simulation game spectrum. Besides the racing, I was also impressed by this game’s presentation. The music isn’t the best, but it was so rare to hear vocals in an N64 game! OK, so “hear” may be a strong word in this case, and that’s where our mystery comes in…
It’s very simple. The title screen music in this game. Can someone tell me what Nintendo EAD were smoking when they came up with this track? Nintendo’s first problem is that they officially titled this song, “Vacant Lives”. That is not an appropriate name for a videogame title screen tune, by any stretch of the imagination – unless your game is called Soul Reaver or something similar.
That’s not all. The song has lyrics, but unlike the rest of the soundtrack they’re UTTERLY INCOMPREHENSIBLE here. So I put it you, dear reader: what are the words to this song?? This is absolutely one of those “read your own words into it” songs. So if you would care to play along, slap on some headphones, click play on the video below and transcribe what YOU think the lyrics sound like, then post it below as a comment! I’d also recommend you not read the interpretations I’ve included below (they’re really more like blind guesses, but hey).
As far as I’m concerned, these lyrics are an eternal mystery. I cried with laughter at one stage listening to this music and trying desperately to understand the words in the middle section: “REEJULAKAMUL SO WRACKYUURMUUUL SO! OH! OH! OH!” is pretty much where I was at.
There are some theories that are at least partially convincing:
Look out! What is it? Who did it? What is it? But who’s to blame? Would you look at me right now please? I need You to tell me I’m a man. You gotta get me outta here. I want more life so I can feel. What is it? Who did it? What is it? But who’s to blame? We all wanted this joy of the moment. It will be for nothing – so what? I don’t care for it. We take vacant eyes. We take vacant words. We take vacant minds. We take vacant lives.
This is a popular one, but it doesn’t fully fit and there is one section that doesn’t appear to be in the song at all! Or how about this one, which is personally more convincing:
Watch out! Harder! Cooler! Harder! Kabuto kai! Hey Mickey Mickey, am I in your way? You see me in the mud. You think you know me real good. Give you a ride to rock your realm, wow! Ho ho ho, harder, ho ho ho, cooler, etc…
And if that’s not enough there is a short NeoGAF thread filled with interpretations, and a YouTube video with a subtitled take (clearly riffing on the success of the infamous Benny Lava), both of which are hilarious. When I was young, I always assumed that the opening yells were actually naming the different modes available in the game, like time attack, score attack and so on… I don’t think it’s completely out of the question that he sings those particular menu options, but I don’t hear this dude shouting about a contest, options and records at any point.
As a final note, I’d like to point out that this song was written by the one and only Kenta Nagata, who I ranked as my third favourite composer at Nintendo. Had I known he wrote this song at the time, well, I don’t know…