Back in our grandparents’ day, traditional Christmas entertainment - following a stodgy, traditional meal – would have included gathering around the piano to sing traditional carols.
Times and traditions have certainly changed. These days we are more likely to ditch the roast turkey and plum pudding in favour of a barbie and pav. Once the food has been devoured and several rounds of Christmas cheer knocked back, the festive entertainment is almost certain to involve a TV screen, and what better way to round off the day than to engage in a little caterwauling with your nearest and dearest?
There’s certainly no shortage of newly released karaoke titles to choose from, all of which are contenders for the Christmas stocking.
We kick off the program with two Disney titles, both for PS2 and both aimed at a younger audience: Disney Sing It features stars and music from some of Disney Channel’s most popular shows and movies, such as Hannah Montana, High School Musical (1 and 2), and Camp Rock.
In most respects it is just like SingStar; it uses the same mics and follows the same basic formula of singing along to a track, whilst attempting to match the pitch and timing of the original. However Disney Sing It has more to offer young fans with its layout, content and tutorials. You can choose skins from each of the shows, sing along to tracks that anyone over the age of fourteen won’t recognise (unless there’s a young girl in the house), and practice singing techniques such as breathing, accuracy and harmony, with a limited selection of vocal exercises.
All in all, Disney Sing It is a great little title, and the kids will get plenty of mileage out of it.
There is another upcoming Disney Sing it title, which coincides with the release of High School Musical 3. This would make an excellent pressie prospect for any tweenie girl this Christmas. Don’t wait too long though, or it will be… like… soooo last season!
SingStar: Singalong with Disney is basically ‘just another’ SingStar game, and one with a mere 20 tracks. While it’s a bit light on content – especially when compared to other SingStar titles, its saving grace lies in the fact that it is a themed disc, and one which will appeal to all generations.
The tracks - accompanied by the appropriate animated video clips, are taken from animated Disney movies ranging from old school classics such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Peter Pan, to more recent hits like Toy Story, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. Everybody, no matter their age, will know at least one song on this disc, and it implements a simplified scoring system with emoticons rather than words, to let you know how well (or poorly) you are doing. We’re unsure of the reasoning behind this, since any child too young to read the lyrics probably won’t understand why sad or smiley-faced stars keep popping up onscreen. Despite its reduced tracklist, we can definitely recommend SingStar: Singalaong with Disney as suitable for the whole family.
Heading up Act 2 of Sony’s star studded line-up are a couple more SingStar titles, this time for PS3.
SingStar ABBA (also available for PS2) is another generation-spanning themed disc with a reduced tracklist and wide appeal. ABBA has become one of those bands with iconic status, their music having featured in stage and screen productions such as Muriel’s Wedding, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and more recently, Mamma Mia!
Anyone who was around in the mid to late ‘70s, when ABBA was at their peak of popularity, will know 90 percent of the tracks… whereas younger singers are likely to be familiar with only 30-40 percent of them. If you’re looking for a SingStar title where the ‘mature’ singer can outshine their younger counterparts, this is it! Even with the inclusion of a couple little known tracks, SingStar ABBA is a winner.
We only hope the production of such band-themed discs continues, as there are many ‘70s bands deserving of a SingStar-driven revival.
If you love the glossy features of SingStar on the PS3 but ABBA isn’t really your scene, SingStar Vol.3 is another crowd pleaser worth serious consideration; on offer is a far more eclectic selection of tracks than the two previous titles. This fact alone makes it a prime candidate for that Christmas Day family entertainment.
Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow and Kate Bush rub shoulders with Timbaland, Coldplay and The Ting Tings. Any way you look at it, there is something for everyone here, and when compared to Volumes 1 and 2, SingStar Vol.3 is the best of the lot… so far.
With such a vast selection available this festive season, there's no reason to resort to actually conversing with your relatives. Break out the microphones and provide them with an excuse to cut short their stay!
Tracklistings for these titles are provided on the next page.