Favorite Song Tourney Matchup #23 Still Alive vs. I Feel Fantastic

edited February 2009 in Forum Games
Still Alive beat out Octopus to get here
I Feel Fantastic has had two previous matchups though, beating both First of May and Re: Your Brains.
Does the roll stop here?
Favorite Song Tourney Matchup #23 Still Alive vs. I Feel Fantastic

eta: Now in extra innings! Break the tie!
eta: Tie Broke! I Feel Fantastic wins this one. The Final is 22-21


  • As much as I love "Still Alive," I think "I Feel Fantastic" certainly takes the (ahem) cake this round. It's fast, it's furious, it's funny, and it's pharmaceutical!
  • Tough one, but "Still Alive" feels more finished to me than "Fantastic". Feels more like a complete story rather just than a song based on an article from a magazine (which "Fantastic" is). "Fantastic" is one of the couple of songs JoCo's made that I think is good, but probably could have been better if he'd had more time to flesh it out. "Still Alive" gets my vote.
  • I like I feel fantastic. Its on my *best of* CD...
    But Still Alive got into my head and stayed there!
    Still Alive gets my vote for this one.
  • I happened to be listening to Still Alive when I clicked on this thread. But I love I Feel Fantastic. It's hard to choose.
  • On just plain quality of song, I think it's a very close matchup. So I'm going to ignore that.

    Instead, I'm going to go with "draw-in" factor. I have no doubt that Still Alive has created a ton more new fans than IFF has, so it gets my vote by a narrow margin.
  • I'm not a big fan of IFF; Still Alive is a tremendously catchy song.

    It's also in Rock Band, so there's that.
  • I don't know. I could vote for Still Alive for the draw-in factor, or I could vote for IFF for the more-understandable-on-its-own factor. I played part-way through Still Alive at a friend's place where I was staying after the first JoCoLoCo, but mostly I only get the jokes from reading the wikipedia page. On the other hand, if I bring up JoCo in the presence of somebody who hasn't already heard about him ad nauseam from me, 'You know the game Portal? He's the guy who wrote the end credit song' goes a long way.
  • I've never played Portal, but even without that context, I still think that Still Alive is the better song. It gets my vote.
  • Still Alive means nothing to me.

    IFF it is.
  • 'You know the game Portal? He's the guy who wrote the end credit song'

    If I had a nickel for every damn time I have used that phrase....
  • edited February 2009
    If it where almost any other song I would vote IFF. I am an internet nerd. A friend talking about Portal and looking it up on youtube was the only reason why I bought the orange box (and was thus introduced to JoCo [despite the fact that I had already seen blackcatbonifide's video. hmm...]), and Portal is the best video game of 2007.

    Since you guys beat down Code Monkey, Still Alive it is.

    "I feel fantastic and I'm still alive..."
  • Hmmm... on the one hand Still Alive is a great song and the whole reason I know about JoCo. On the other hand, I do like IFF, which is a good, upbeat song.
    ... I think I'm going to go with Still Alive. I've played Portal and it just has this great, twisted feel to it that I really like.
  • i think i have to go with 'i feel fantastic', simply because 'still alive', while brilliant in its context, doesn't really make a whole hell of a lot of sense outside that context, to me. if the vote was between portal and that issue of popular science, it would be no contest. however, i did hear 'still alive' before i played portal, and while i thought the song was neat and catchy, it didn't have half the power it does when you've finally beat the game. whereas i've never read a single issue of popular science, but i still love and cherish 'i feel fantastic' as one of my favorite coulton songs.
  • As a complete 180 degree turn from The Clinger, I Feel Fantastic was my gateway song to JoCo, AND it was due to blackcatbonifide's video.

    Also I think I Feel Fantastic is a much better, and catchier song. The chorus is infectious. Maybe I just like quick singing.

    Also, what three08 said about context. IFF holds up much better on its own as a song, whereas Still Alive is kind of dependent on its source material to produce a full effect.

    Also, I'm way over Still Alive. In fact I've gotten sick of it.

    And if I were to try to introduce JoCo to a non-geek who's never played Portal IFF would probably be one of the first few songs I'd have them hear.
  • I'm with three08 and Encubed: I think "Still Alive" depends a bit too much on its context. I've never played Portal (I'm not a gamer), so though I certainly appreciate the skill and artistry behind the song, and though I enjoy hearing how perfectly people say it capped off a great game, I don't have any particular emotional attachment to it myself. In fact, my view of it is forever colored by JoCo's line in the interview Jinx and I did last June:
    Jinx: How about Still Alive?
    JC: Well, yeah, I'm proud of it, but it's not one of my favorite songs. I think because it's externally motivated, to some extent. But it's not really me -- because I'm writing on behalf of a character that already existed.
    He's right, after all: both the songs in this matchup were write-for-hires, but "I Feel Fantastic" is JoCo being brilliant from pretty much a writing prompt, while with "Still Alive" he's being brilliant with a character and personality that other people created.

    I love the fact that "Still Alive" drew so many people in, but honestly it's never been one of my favorites; it's got pretty strong lyrics, but oddly, of course, the only line that really sticks out for me is the one where it namechecks its competitor.

    And "I Feel Fantastic" is just an awesome song, musically and lyrically -- the one JoCo song that I'm most apt to set on "repeat" and listen to for an hour. I've been overexposed to "Still Alive" quotes, but it's "I Feel Fantastic" that to me is so tremendously quotable -- on top of the wonderful chorus, every line just gets funnier and funnier until we hit that spectacular "steak-tastes-better pill". And I can't end this post without linking to the video Encubed mentions by sporksmith and blackcatbonifide, which you haven't lived until you've seen.

    Besides, all y'all who talk about "Still Alive" being your introduction to JoCo make me feel really old. ;)

    PS: Also, "I Feel Fantastic" was the subject of one of my favorite wiki-edits ever.
  • I'm definitely with the IFF crowd here. I think it's interesting that blackcatbonifide's video is the one that people are mentioning.... for me, this video is right up there with Spiff's Code Monkey as the best ever JoCo fan video. I can't hear the song without picturing that dancing stick figure, just like I can't hear Code Monkey without picturing Spiff's poor, lovelorn WOW monkey.
  • Hmm. I'm torn. Bry makes a convincing argument, but I really hate my entry for the IFF video contest. It's something I'd rather forget about. And I really love Still Alive, even though I still haven't played Portal. (It's right there on the husband's computer, just waiting for me.)
  • Bry has convinced me. I love that song; how could I vote against it for a clever and popular but ultimately context-dependent song? I never made it to the end of Portal.
  • I don't think you need to have played Portal so much as know it exists, but either way, the context merely helps. Black Mesa and cake both require some sort of knowledge, but by and large, it's just a song about a gun and people dying ot make it; I don't think that's hard ot glean hearing the song game unplayed.

    I feel like IFF is a pretty generic song, which is a pretty hard hit, I know, but it doesn't have a very original subject or unique melody. I feel very strongly that "Still Alive" is a very good song from a melodic standpoint asnd is also ludicrously funny, even if it's licensed fanfic music.
  • I'd heard Still Alive before I played Portal.
    I still preferred ot to IFF.. only slightly, but we're into the "matter of tiny degrees" decisions now !!

    I thought the use of language and music in Still Alive beat out IFF, (mostly because the bridge in IFF bugs me) but there is an odd emotion behind Still Alive that IFF doesn't have.
  • Oh no, not this again. I do appreciate Still Alive and find it ludicrously funny, but I also love IFF (it's in my head right now) and the ties to Portal are a pretty big wedge with which to break a tie. Wait... a tie is a wedge to break a tie? I really need to work on my metaphors, I could have made an excellent pun there if I hadn't been so tired.

    The the beta/data lines need no context and I love them and dream of being able to say them truthfully some day. Also, 'there's no use crying over every mistake, you just keep on trying till you run out of cake' is my motto. My friends often ask me for the secret of happiness and I often respond that it's sugar, which is not entirely a lie. Cake is a great delivery method.

    But you know what happens when I'm doped up on sugar? I feel fantastic!
  • No, I don't need much context to know what's going on in "Still Alive", but because I've never played Portal, I'm distinctly aware of its artificiality. The song is amusing to me chiefly as a character sketch, and, yes, it's a great character sketch, but the funny things in the song are funny because they illustrate how heartless GLaDOS is. But GLaDOS doesn't sound like "a JoCo character" to me (unlike even the real people whom JoCo has featured, be it Soterios Johnson or George Plimpton or, heck, Leonard Nimoy).

    "Still Alive" doesn't have any line, really, that grabs my attention except because it's been overplayed or overquoted (and I mean outside this forum). Reading over the lyrics now, I find them entertaining but not a patch on even the second-string punchlines in "I Feel Fantastic" ("All I know is driving on drugs feels better when they're prescription" etc.).

    And it's somewhat ironic to me that you're slamming "I Feel Fantastic" as generic when the song itself is about how generic the narrator's life is -- besides being a clever tongue-twister, the chorus is about how the narrator never has to have any fluctuations in mood, and all the little understatements that hint at how miserable the guy's life probably ought to be besides the medication. (Not saying that I feel "I Feel Fantastic" is actually generic, which I don't, or that I think it was intended to be, which I don't.)
  • @Bry...
    You don't find the "So go on and leave me.. I think I prefer to stay inside..." line, heart breaking?
  • Cov: Not moreso than "All I know is the wine lasts longer when you don't gotta share it with someone."
  • Really?
    I thought that line only spoke of underlying greed and *i'm alright Jack I don't actually care if she comes or not*.
  • *i'm alright Jack I don't actually care if she comes or not*.
    That's what he's trying to convince himself of, as he has another glass of wine. Sad, eh?
  • I'd go a step beyond that and say he's too numbed to realize that his life is pretty miserable.
  • Then he's happy...!
    He's too miserable to know how sad he is...
    So he's happy!

    But... Poor GLaydos!

    :- (

    (My least used emoticon!)
  • Yeah, and it's more heartbreaking to me to hear someone "too miserable to know how sad he is" talk about how happy he is than to hear a character noted for passive-aggression behave passive-aggressively. The line'd be more meaningful to me if GLaDOS weren't spending the rest of the song trying to manipulate emotions that it itself clearly lacks.
  • "too miserable to know how sad he is"
    But thats just *our* take on it.
    HE thinks he's happy...
    Glados IS sad !!!
  • GLaDOS is a psychopath who knows how to feign enough emotion to manipulate others; I gather that's significantly more evident in the game, but it's to JoCo's credit that this much is evident from the song taken alone. It's about as "sincere" in the line in question as HAL is "sorry" it can't open the pod bay door (to give another cultural reference I'm cognizant of almost entirely through osmosis).

    The line ("Go ahead and leave me / I think I prefer to stay inside") actually reminds me of another of JoCo's great passive-aggressive anthems (besides "Soft Rocked By Me", or "Make You Cry", or... wait, shouldn't this be a JoCopedia theme?), namely "Take Care of Me" -- "I see you're busy with something / Go ahead and finish, I swear it's all right."

    [Oh, just realized Joe quoted it as "Go on and leave me", which is a much better metrical fit -- that's going to be my preferred version of that lyric now, the same way "Gambler's Prayer" now reads, "The day that they wagered their dogs and their wives."]
  • I actually read the line and it didn't jump out at me, what song it was from. I sung it to the tune of "Take Care of Me" before I realized it was from the rowbut.
  • She is a computer that has gone crazy "experimenting" on people, who killed off everyone in the facility but you. You kill her and supposedly ditch her, and she is happy because of it. The strength of the song is not that she is trying to manipulate you through emotion, but that for the first time in the game she is showing real emotion. "now we're out of beta we're releasing on time" She is actually happy that the experiment went so well. "This was a triumph" This may not have been the outcome that she was expecting, but I think that she genuinely felt that emotion. "Go ahead and leave me" JoCo could have easily put a double meaning into this if he wanted, but there really isn't a hint of her expecting, or trying to make you stay, just that she wanted you to.

    This crazy computer that has showed either no emotion, ignorance of emotion, or pain and hatred, for the first time in the game shows a brighter, emotionally functional side.

    In my opinion, this is not a song that can be rejected just because context is needed. Context may be needed to enjoy this song, but that is just it. This song takes the context of the game, exemplifies it with a basic message that could be understood out of context, and applies it in a way that makes both the game and the song better than the original parts. Context makes the message stronger, the emotions more real, the moment more savored, but the song is not great just because of the game.
  • Yeah... What clinger said !
    ;' )
  • BryBry
    edited February 2009
    The Clinger: Must I do a line-by-line exegesis? The internal evidence within the song points overwhelmingly towards GLaDOS attempting to make the listener feel bad / feel sorry for it. Can you point me to external evidence (e.g. something within the game) that would suggest otherwise? I'm fully cognizant of the storyline, including the parts where GLaDOS a) deceives the player-character like crazy b) has killed other people without remorse c) attempts to kill the player-character without remorse d) oh by the way is a freakin' computer that doesn't have emotions.

    What makes you think that GLaDOS is actually happy? What leads you to believe that any of its expressed emotions are real? What makes you say that expressing satisfaction about running experiments with callous disregard for human life, expressing happiness about getting dismembered and set on fire, and mocking the player-character about her eventual death are signs of a "brighter, emotionally functional side"?

    JoCo did indeed, to my reading, put a double meaning in "Go ahead and leave me" -- the entire stanza is far from a sincere attempt at telling the player-character to spread her wings and fly. I should start with the previous verse, "I'm not even angry" etc. The only reasonable reading of that one is as playing the martyr: "You did all these awful things to me and tried to kill me, but I'm just happy for you even though you're a mean, terrible person." Its purpose behind even saying the "even though" part is clearly to bring up all the ways in which the PC hurt it, just to make the PC's actions sound like atrocities and its own like benignities. GLaDOS is painting itself as the victim of some kind of abuse, as some kind of innocent who hardly deserves its treatment at the hands of the player-character.

    Back to "Go ahead and leave me": the stanza parses, very obviously, for me as, "if you're so ungrateful to me for everything I've sacrificed for you, sure, go ahead, I'll just sit here in the dark then with no one helping me turn on the light; good luck finding someone else who's as willing to go through as much trouble for you as I do. Oh, and don't let this influence you, but if you come back, I've got cake." You can try to find some argument that GLaDOS is being sincere, and if you do I promise to sit patiently through it, but you'll have to work pretty hard to convince me of something when the entire song points to something else.

    [edited to fix clumsy word-repetition]
  • I've also wondered if there wasn't a alternate OOC meaning to those lines, especially targeted for those gamers who play continuously into the wee hours of the morning.

    Go ahead and leave me = The games over you can get up from the computer now.
    I think I prefer to stay inside = I'm just a computer game character. You're real.
    Maybe you'll find someone else to help you = Either in real life, or else go find another game to play if you must.
    Maybe Black Mesa = In fact, if you're gonna play another game, go play one of *our* other games, like Halflife. (PRODUCT PLACEMENT)
    That was a joke... = Okay, enough with the OOC.
  • that's an interesting read, voidptr, although i'm not sure how much of it actually comes from the text and how much is projected onto it by our (yes, our, i'm implicating myself in this too) own guilty consciences.
  • Okay, enough with the OOC
    Isn't that OCD?
  • edited February 2009

    Though OCD would probably work too. ;-)
  • edited February 2009
    Maybe Black Mesa = In fact, if you're gonna play another game, go play one of *our* other games, like Halflife. (PRODUCT PLACEMENT)
    If you are TOTALLY anal and have to check everything out in games... (not that anyone in here fits that description)
    IN portal, it is shown through a powerpoint presentation that is running away to itself in a room you cant get to but can see through a window.. Black Mesa has stolen GLaDOS' job ! Which is why, I think, she/it has gone mad. So you don't even need to know there's any *link* (or, Portal, if you would), to the other games... Which I have not played yet, so am in sweet ignorance of!

    Also, everyone seems to be forgetting that the 'character' in the game is not only female... but an android!

    Its LESBIAN ROBOT LOVE, people!!!
    How more Coulton-esque can you GET !

    (And... ultimately... there IS cake!)

    VOTE for Still Alive.. don't make me come after you ! ;' )
  • Stood up by your date, sitting alone with a bottle of wine and a steak-tastes-better pill.... checking your messages yet again, only to find that you STILL don't have any messages....

    How much more Coulton-esque can you get than THAT??
  • Its LESBIAN ROBOT LOVE, people!!!
    No, this is lesbian robot love.
  • democratization enabled
  • First Vote, IFF is winning!
  • Second vote, it's a draw!

    And now the voting is going to take attention away from that link I posted.

    (no, it's not mine, I just like it)
  • My vote makes it 4-3 to Still Alive...
    Let's hope it remains so...

    (See what I did there !?)
  • edited February 2009
    Bry, every argument that you bring up is true. She is "a passive aggressive robot acting passive aggressively." Yes she wants you back, and yes, in some respect she is sad that you left her.

    But the song is a surprising twist in that it is not completely only about the emotion faking, twisting that has been her character throughout the rest of the game. It is not about her wanting to now come and hunt you down. She is more sincere than she was previously.

    The song is about GLaDOS though, so the other elements of her personality are still present in the song.

    Of course, you could make the argument that she is exactly the same as before, that everything GLaDOS says is a lie and manipulative, in which case my argument would be made void. In this interpretation, yes, her saying that she wants to stay is just her trying to manipulate your humanity.

    ETA to Cov's ninja: He voted!?!?!11!?1/1!!??!1/1!/1?!?!oneone11!!backslash!/one
  • Of course, you could make the argument that she is exactly the same as before, that everything GLaDOS says is a lie and manipulative, in which case my argument would be made void.
    Yes, that's the argument I have been making. ;)
  • edited February 2009
    It's now tied at 6 each.

    I had to go with Still Alive, because randomly finding the song online led me to both play the video game, and discover Coulton. So personally, I've been much more influenced by it.

    That said, I won't be sad if IFF wins. It's one of my favorites (and my Mom's favorite -- she's a nurse as I mentioned previously), and it's one of the first I share with others. When I tried sharing Still Alive with some non-gamers, I gave a long explanation about a video game with a gun that shoots portals, a passive-aggressive psychopathic AI, and cake. It didn't go over to well, and I almost ended up losing the mood I had just established with the likes of IFF, SM, and Someone's Crazy.

    (ETA: And by the time I finish typing, SA has pulled ahead 7-6)
  • Everyone vote IFF so I never have to read a thesis post on why Still Alive is good/great/tied to the game/singular/lesbian robot theories.
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