Crazy Hits! Special Edition (Jpn)


aec.tshi70258.2 8/1/05 New
$32.29 $37.99

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    Crazy Hits! Special Edition (Jpn) Toshiba EMI

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Review Text Before it was known as Crazy Frog, the European ringtone sensation had a much more accurate name: The Annoying Thing. This helium-voiced, bluish-gray, anatomically correct CGI lump -- which looks and sounds like an amphibious take on Hampton the Hampster -- became a pop culture epidemic in Europe and especially the U.K., with ringtones, TV commercials, pop songs, and other forms of (over)exposure included in its virus-like spread. Crazy Frog's popularity peaked that summer, when the full-length single of the "Axel F" ringtone, based on Harold Faltermeyer's instrumental theme for Beverly Hills Cop, topped the U.K. singles charts for several weeks and kept Coldplay's comeback single, "Speed of Sound," from debuting at number one (which might be reason enough for some to love Crazy Frog). Later that summer, the ringtone and full-length album Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits marked the Frog's arrival in the States, minus his tadpole. The album attempts to repeat "Axel F"'s success by pairing Crazy Frog with a rogue's gallery of pop hits that, in their heydays, were just as omnipresent (and almost as annoying) as "Axel F." "Get Ready for This" and "I Like to Move It" are silly enough in their own right, but with the addition of a little voice chanting "bing bong a ding ding ding," they're pushed into deeply stupid territory. Of course, novelty pop is one of the few genres where deeply stupid can be taken as a compliment, and Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits' stupidest moments are also the most fun (or irritating, depending on your outlook). "Axel F" is still the definitive Crazy Frog song, but the follow-up single "Popcorn," "In the '80s," and "Whoomp! There It Is" are nearly as dumb and infectious. However, the songs with vocals besides Crazy Frog's fall flat: on songs like "Pump Up the Jam" and "Who Let the Frog Out," the Frog sounds like a guest on his own album. Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits would be better (if that's the word for it) if it had more instrumentals to provide a backdrop for Crazy Frog's infuriating babble, which the aptly named "Crazy Frog Sounds" delivers in spades. Mostly a cappella, the track sounds like someone goofing around in his home studio, making nonsense noises while playing with the pitch and reverb controls (which is exactly how Crazy Frog's "voice" came to be). Ultimately and unsurprisingly, Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits is basically a collection of extended ringtones. There isn't much gray area when it comes to pop culture phenomena like this -- you'll think Crazy Frog is another sign of civilization's decline, or you'll find its sheer ridiculousness oddly endearing. Either way, the album lives up to Crazy Frog's original name: it is quintessentially annoying...and somehow fascinating because of it. ~ Heather Phares

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