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Rock and Roll Out to This Transformers-Inspired Album

This past weekend, Hasbro Studios released an album full of songs on iTunes inspired by the Transformers franchise, written by alt-rock bands both obscure and well-known. The album’s roster of new, original songs all celebrate the world of Transformers, mostly with nerdy lyrical references. The album doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any official marketing, like say for Transformers 5, which isn’t out until 2017. Instead, it’s just a cool line-up of Transformers-inspired songs, apropos of nothing!

Some of the songs are from other related projects, like this one by Darby, which was composed for a Transformers video game and later shelved. Knowing that, I now wonder whether all of these songs were meant to be used for various Transformers-related creative works, but for whatever reason, they didn’t end up getting used. Since Hasbro had the rights to this collection, they probably figured, why not release these B-sides as a stand-alone CD?

Thank goodness they did, because a lot of these songs sound fantastic and have never appeared anywhere else. A couple of them have appeared in previous albums by the bands in question, but most of these are totally new alt-rock songs, each with the uniquely nerdcore theme of having lyrics about Transformers. I’ve embedded my favorite from the collection above: it’s called “Into The Fire,” and it’s a grunge-rock song with a country flair. It’s written by Elle Rae, who is best known for co-writing the song “Everything Is Awesome” for The Lego Movie (for which she gets credited via her non-stage name, which is Lisa Harriton).

The only thing that disappointed me about this album is that none of the songs make use of the sparkly 80s synthesizers that appeared in some of the original Transformers songs, nor do they attempt the intense power-metal aesthetic of the theme for the 1986 movie. I would have loved to see at least one throwback to 80s music of any genre, really, but none of these songs even approach that. All of them sound like they could’ve played on a rock station in the mid-2000s, or even today, depending on which rock station we’re talking about. If that’s the genre of music you love, then you’ll adore this album. But for synthesizer lovers like me, well … it’s just not the same as the ’80s songs, y’know?

Okay, really I just want an excuse to link to “The Touch” by Stan Bush.

When I first saw the news about a Transformers album, I was kind of hoping it would just be a collection of covers of original Transformers songs. But actually, what I really wanted was to re-listen to all of the old Transformers songs again!

(via Kotaku)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).