SingStar ’08 Round-Up Guide: The Year of SingStar

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Similarly to the Buzz! series, SingStar began life in the UK and has been a smash hit overseas for years now, but here in the US it’s only started to catch on recently. And boy did it ever catch on this year in particular, with a total of seven new installments released throughout 2008 alone, including the series’ launch on the PS3. The complete 2008 SingStar lineup stars SingStar (PS3), SingStar Vol. 2 (PS3), SingStar ABBA (PS2 and PS3), SingStar Legends (PS2), SingStar Country (PS2), SingStar Pop Vol. 2 (PS2), and SingStar ‘90s (PS2), all of which will be outlined in this guide.

But before outlining the track lists for each game, let me first begin with an overview on the series as a whole. In case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, SingStar is Sony’s first-party karaoke franchise. You pick up a mic, sing to various songs and music videos as the lyrics scroll on the screen and try to wrack up the highest score possible by maintaining the proper pitch and timing as indicated by performance bars on the screen. It’s that simple.

What you ultimately need to know about getting into the SingStar series is that all the different versions contain different music content but are otherwise exactly the same in terms of gameplay and mode lineup (modes include Solo, Duet, Battle, Practice/Freestyle, and a Pass the Mic party mode for up to eight players), and therefore they are all supplemental to one another. Each version is available in two forms: a standalone disc and a bundle with the game and two USB microphones. On the PS2, the standalone units cost $30 and the bundles $50, and on the PS3 it’s $40 and $60. So basically, you should buy a bundle of the SingStar game that features the song list best suited to your tastes and then supplement your collection with the standalone titles as you desire.

Nowadays the best way to get the full SingStar experience is to get a PS3. Earlier this week Sony released a free game update for all PS3 SingStar titles enabling hot-swapping with all PS2 SingStar titles. And the best part is you don’t need to own a backwards compatible PS3 to take advantage of this great new feature. As long as your PS3 is online, the update will download and install when you put in any PS3 SingStar game, and from then on you can swap discs in and out and access tracks from the entire SingStar library without ever having to exit back to the XMB.

The other major benefit to SingStar-ing on a PS3 is the access to the online SingStore to buy new songs and the My SingStar Online component that allows you to interact with the SingStar community, including the uploading and sharing of any home video performances, snapshots or audio tracks you record with a PlayStation Eye or EyeToy camera. Thus far, the SingStore has caught heavy flack for not offering the most inspiring catalogue of downloadable tracks, and for the most part that is true. But as of now there are right around 400 songs available at $1.49 a pop, so surely amongst that mass quantity you can find enough worthwhile songs to keep your karaoke parties lively until the next disc release arrives.

The PS3 SingStar experience does have some other drawbacks though. For one, I’ve been fairly disappointed at the quality of the music videos so far. Some are in HD, but the majority of the tracks are accompanied by standard-def videos. It’s hard to fault Sony for this since many of the videos were shot years and years ago, but still, that doesn’t change the fact that the SD videos playing on a big-screen HD display look incredibly blurry. Another thing that’s missing is trophy support. The first SingStar came out before the advent of trophies, but Vol. 2 and ABBA just came out this fall so I expected some trophy love from those. And finally, it’s disappointing that Sony has yet to upgrade its USB microphones. Whether you get a PS2 or PS3 bundle, the mics are exactly the same. Don’t get me wrong, they are extremely high quality mics. They’ve got an excellent heft and durability about them and are exceptionally accurate, but come on, this is the wireless age. Being tethered to the PS3 with a USB cord is annoying, especially if you find yourself in an 8-player karaoke-a-thon. Sony, please bring on the wireless mics already!!!

Whether you own a PS2 or PS3, SingStar is the ultimate karaoke gaming experience on the planet, even compared to competitors on other platforms. If you dig karaoke, you NEED to have a PlayStation console in your home.

Now for a breakdown of this year’s entire SingStar lineup. Below you’ll find the track listings and my take on all seven games.

SingStarPS3.jpgSingStar (PS3): As the debut PS3 installment, SingStar is one of the base series installments featuring songs from a wide range of genres and time periods. Beck’s “Loser,” U2’s “Beautiful Day,” Weezer’s “Buddy Holly,” OutKast’s “Hey Ya!,” – oh yes, there are many catchy tracks to sing to! This is the must-buy PS3 SingStar starter kit.

Amy Winehouse – “Back To Black”
Beck – “Loser”
Blind Melon – “No Rain”
Blink-182 – “All The Small Things”
Britney Spears – “Toxic”
Coldplay – “Clocks”
Corinne Bailey Rae – “Put Your Records On”
Dave Matthews Band – “Crash Into Me”
David Bowie – “Let’s Dance”
Faith No More – “Epic”
Franz Ferdinand – “Do You Want To ?”
Jane’s Addiction – “Been Caught Stealing”
New Found Glory – “My Friends Over You”
Ne-Yo – “So Sick”
OutKast – “Hey Ya!”
Pixies – “Here Comes Your Man”
R.E.M. – “Losing My Religion”
Radiohead – “No Surprises”
Scissor Sisters – “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'”
The Automatic Automatic – “Monster”
The Cardigans – “Lovefool”
The Killers – “Mr. Brightside”
The Pussycat Dolls – “Beep”
The Ramones – “I Wanna Be Sedated”
The Rolling Stones – “Sympathy For The Devil”
The Smashing Pumpkins – “Today”
U2 – “Beautiful Day”
Warrant – “Cherry Pie”
Weezer – “Buddy Holly”
Wolfmother – “Love Train”

SingStarVol2.jpgSingStar Vol. 2 (PS3): SingStar Vol. 2 continues the tradition of its predecessor by offering genre diversity above all else. Unfortunately, unlike the original SingStar, Vol. 2’s track list is disappointingly weak. When Eminem’s “Without Me” and The Offspring’s “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” are the headline songs you know this game’s got problems. I’d say don’t bother with it, but again, music taste varies person to person, so check out the song list and make the decision for yourself.

Aerosmith – “Dude Looks Like a Lady”
Bad English – “When I See You Smile”
Bobby Brown – “My Perogative”
Boys Like Girls – “Hero/Heroine”
The Bravery – “Believe”
The Cure – “Pictures of You”
Elton John & Kiki Dee – “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
Eminem – “Without Me”
Gavin DeGraw – “In Love With A Girl”
Gnarls Barkley – “Run (I’m a Natural Disaster)”
Goldfrapp – “Happiness”
The Killers – “When You Were Young”
Lit – “Miserable”
The Mamas and The Papas – “California Dreamin'”
Natasha Bedingfield – “Unwritten”
The Offspring – “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)”
Panic! At The Disco – “Nine in the Afternoon”
Paramore – “CrushCrushCrush”
Phantom Planet – “California”
P!nk – “Just Like a Pill”
The Police – “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”
The Proclaimers – “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”
Radiohead – “Street Spirit”
Rise Against – “Prayer of the Refugee”
Sara Bareilles – “Love Song”
The Shins – “New Slang”
Tone Loc – “Funky Cold Medina”
Weezer – “Beverly Hills”
Yael Naim – “New Soul”
Young MC – “Bust A Move”

SingStarAbba.jpgSingStar ABBA (PS2 and PS3): This is the only game of this year’s crop that is available on both of Sony’s consoles, which is good news for those of you who only own one or the other. The bad news is that this entry only comes with 20 songs on PS2 and 25 on PS3 (opposed to the 30 all the other games come with), all of which are very limited in appeal. If you’re like me and had never heard of them before, ABBA is a group of Swedish female pop/disco from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Honestly, the only ABBA song I’ve ever heard is “Mamma Mia” and I’ve only heard it because of the recent movie musical inspired by the song. Seems to me this version will only appeal to an older set of casual gamers, which doesn’t really seem to jive with the younger, hipper audience the SingStar franchise targets overall.

Shared Songs on Both Platforms:

Chiquitita
Dancing Queen
Does Your Mother Know
Fernando
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
Knowing Me, Knowing You
Mamma Mia
Money, Money, Money
One of Us
Ring Ring
SOS
Summer Night City
Super Trouper
Take a Chance on Me
Thank You for the Music
The Name of the Game
The Winner Takes It All
Voulez-Vous
Waterloo

PS3 Exclusive Songs:

Happy New Year
Head Over Heels
The Day Before You Came
Under Attack
When All Is Said and Done

SingStarCountry.jpgSingStar Country (PS2): Though I’ve grown up in a family that listens to quite a bit of country music, I’ve never quite grasped the genre myself. That said, SingStar Country offers songs that even I enjoy listening to, like Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road,” Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line,” and Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee.” However, I do question some of the additions. America Idol rejects like Bucky Covington and Kellie Pickler managed to get songs on here, and for some reason there are songs from Jessica Simpson and Jewel, who last I checked were not country singers. Their songs that are included have a country vibe about them, but still, they really aren’t country songs, I didn’t think. Great song selection overall though.

Alan Jackson – “Chattahoochee”
Alan Jackson – “Good Time”
Big & Rich – “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)”
Blake Shelton – “Home”
Brad Paisley – “Online”
Brooks & Dunn – “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”
Brooks & Dunn w/ Reba Mcentire – “If You See Him/If You See Her”
Bucky Covington – “It’s Good to be Us”
Faith Hill – “Red Umbrella”
Gretchen Wilson – “Redneck Woman”
Jessica Simpson – “Come on Over”
Jewel – “Stronger Woman”
Johnny Cash – “A Boy Named Sue”
Johnny Cash – “I Walk the Line”
Josh Turner – “Another Try”
Keith Urban – “Days Go By”
Kellie Pickler – “Red High Heels”
Kenny Chesney – “Big Star”
Lady Antebellum – “Love Don’t Live Here”
Martina McBride – “A Broken Wing”
Miranda Lambert – “Kerosene”
Montgomery Gentry – “My Town”
Montgomery Gentry – “What Do Ya Think About That?”
Rascal Flatts – “Bless the Broken Road”
Sara Evans – “Born to Fly”
Taylor Swift – “Our Song”
Terri Clark – “Girls Lie Too”
Trace Adkins – “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”
Trace Adkins – “You’re Gonna Miss This”
Willie Nelson – “Pancho And Lefty”

SingStarLegends.jpgSingStar Legends (PS2): As far as straight up music quality is concerned, Legends trumps every other game in the series by a landslide. From Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin on?” to Elvis’s “Blue Suede Shoes” to John Lennon’s “Imagine” to 27 other timeless songs from some of the music industry’s most legendary artists, Legends features an exceptional all-around karaoke song lineup. Like ABBA, most of these songs cater to a more mature audience. However, so many of these songs are such classics that even the younger, hipper SingStar crowd has likely heard many of these songs even if they don’t know who sang them.

Barry White – “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything”
Biz Markie – “Just A Friend”
Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”
Bonnie Tyler – “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”
David Bowie – “Life On Mars?”
Dusty Springfield – “Son Of A Preacher Man”
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off”
Elton John – “I’m Still Standing”
Elvis Presley – “Blue Suede Shoes”
Grateful Dead – “Touch Of Grey”
The Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back”
James Brown – “I Got You (I Feel Good)”
John Lennon – “Imagine”
Johnny Cash – “Ring Of Fire”
Joy Division – “Love Will Tear Us Apart”
Madonna – “Papa Don’t Preach”
Marvin Gaye – “What’s Goin On?”
Michael McDonald – “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)”
The Monkees – “Daydream Believer”
Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Patsy Cline – “Crazy”
The Police – “Roxanne”
Ray Charles – “Hit The Road Jack”
The Righteous Brothers – “Unchained Melody”
The Rolling Stones – “Sympathy For The Devil”
Sam Cooke – “Wonderful World”
The Smiths – “This Charming Man”
Tina Turner – “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”
Tom Jones – “What’s New Pussycat”
Whitney Houston – “I’m Your Baby Tonight”

SingStar90s.jpgSingStar ‘90s (PS2): This is by far my personal favorite game in the series, not because the music is the greatest in the world but because it’s so nostalgic. As a product of the ‘90s, I grew up listening to all of these songs. Throughout my middle and high school days it was part of my morning ritual to wake up, take a shower, turn on MTV and watch music videos while eating breakfast before catching the bus to school. Over that time I recall watching the music videos for each of these songs tens if not hundreds of times. And that doesn’t count listening to many of them during gym classes. Quality music or not, these songs will be engrained in my head forever.

Arrested Development – “Tennessee”
Boys II Men – “Motownphilly”
Chumbawumba – “Tubthumping”
Color Me Badd – “I Wanna Sex You Up”
Divinyls – “I Touch Myself”
En Vogue – “Free Your Mind”
Extreme – “More Than Words”
Gin Blossoms – “Hey Jealousy”
Hootie and the Blowfish – “Only Wanna Be With You”
Jesus Jones – “Right Here Right Now”
Len – “Steal My Sunshine”
MC Hammer – “U Can’t Touch This”
Natalie Imbruglia – “Torn”
New Kids On The Block – “Step By Step”
Nirvana – “Lithium”
Paula Abdul – “Opposites Attract”
Poison – “Unskinny Bop”
REM – “Everybody Hurts”
Santana (feat Rob Thomas) – “Smooth”
Savage Garden – “I Want You”
SEAL – “Kiss From A Rose”
SIR MIX A LOT – “Baby Got Back”
Sixpence None The Richer – “Kiss Me”
Soundgarden – “Black Hole Sun”
Spin Doctors – “Two Princes”
Stone Temple Pilots – “Plush”
TECHNOTRONIC FEAT. FELLY – “Pump Up The Jam”
The Cranberries – “Zombie”
Vanilla Ice – “Ice Ice Baby”
Wilson Phillips – “Hold On”

SingStarPop2.jpgSingStar Pop Vol. 2 (PS2): Starring artists like Jennifer Lopez, Maroon 5, Matchbox Twenty, Norah Jones, Pink, Fergie, and Gwen Stefani, SingStar Pop Vol. 2 is clearly the game that caters most to the series’ target audience. I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to many of these songs myself, but I’m not the target audience so that doesn’t really matter. If you’re into modern pop music, you’ll love this.

3 Doors Down – “When I’m Gone”
Ashlee Simpson – “Boyfriend”
Avril Lavigne – “My Happy Ending”
Boys Like Girls – “The Great Escape
Cartel – “Lose It”
Colbie Caillat – “Bubbly”
Dixie Chicks – “Not Ready To Make Nice”
Duran Duran – “Ordinary World”
Evanescence – “Bring Me To Life”
Fall Out Boy – “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs”
Fergie – “Big Girls Don’t Cry”
Gwen Stefani feat. Akon – “The Sweet Escape”
Jennifer Lopez – “Jenny From the Block”
Lifehouse – “First Time”
Lily Allen – “Littlest Things”
Lloyd – “Get it Shawty”
Maroon 5 – “Makes Me Wonder”
Matchbox Twenty – “How Far We’ve Come”
Michelle Branch – “Breathe”
Nelly Furtado – “Promiscuous”
Norah Jones – “Don’t Know Why”
P!nk – “Who Knew”
Peter Bjorn and John – “Young Folks”
Plain White T’s – “Hey There Delilah”
Rihanna – “Umbrella”
Santana feat. Chad Kroger – “Into The Night”
Steriogram – “Walkie Talkie Man”
Sum 41 – “Fat Lip”
The Hives – “Tick Tick Boom”
The Outfield – “Your Love”

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Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!