It was Christmas, 2006. I wanted to get a present for my girlfriend, who 1) loved cats, and 2) was totally into the Nintendo DS. Since Nintendo had yet to produce a cat version of Nintendogs, I got her the best thing available at the time: Ubisoft’s Catz.
The game itself was fine, if a little primitive in comparison to later pet-raising games for the DS. It let you use the DS stylus to pet fuzzy little kittens, and that’s really all I wanted. At the time, it seemed like the perfect Christmas gift.
Unfortunately, it also had a vocal theme song.
There’s just something about the singer’s voice, the low-quality sound sampling, and the way it crackles through the DS speakers that makes this song incredibly depressing. I gather that it’s supposed to be a song about a newborn kitten looking forward to a bright future, but the delivery makes it sound more like a baby animal dirge.
It’s the first thing that plays when the game powers up, too, so it instantly saps away all desire to brush virtual kittens. My girlfriend described it as producing a “Li’l Brudder” kind of effect — it’s just not possible to enjoy the game after you’ve listened to a song about a weak, possibly crippled kitten who isn’t yet aware of the hardship that awaits him in life.
(The title screen isn’t much help, either. Those poor kitties seem so sad! And just look at their misshapen little triangle heads! Why?)
To my surprise, I found out recently that the song wasn’t an original recording produced specifically for Catz. “Meow Meow Lullaby Remix,” as it’s called, was originally written for the charity album “For The Kids Too!” It’s performed by Nada Surf, who you might know for their ’90s hit “Popular.” What a strange discovery that was, by the way. It’s like finding out Butthole Surfers did a track for Mario Teaches Typing, or that Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the theme song for a Korean Sega Master System game or something.
The full version of “Meow Meow Lullaby” is here (warning: do not under any circumstances watch the meme-filled video itself), and if you want to hear Nada Surf drop the f-bomb while performing it live, that’s also an option.