Woah, there! Stop. If you're thinking about buying a copy of SingStar for a rousing chorus of God Save The Queen, a quick burst of Deutschland Uber Alles or a duet on Fair Antigua, I Salute Thee - then don't. This game does not feature those sort of anthems. SingStar's karaoke killers are more the sort of anthems that appeal to... how can we put this? Men who are good with colours. Men who own more than one hat. Men who moisturise. Men who... well.
Look, there's no escaping this: SingStar Anthems is as camp as a turret. Sony can't say so on the packaging, but this edition in the singalong series is clearly lasertargeted at exactly two demographics: hen party-goers and the sort of chaps who own leather chaps. Don't believe us? Then allow us to draw to your attention exhibit A - the intro video. It features a bunch of Gap-smothered Pringle-munchers who spontaneously decide to interrupt a night of discussing genetically modified food, and their favourite episodes of Friends, to plug their SingStar microphones into their PS2. They start singing - tentatively at first - and before you can say 'Graham Norton', their home has been invaded by a shrieking harpy in clown-style rouge and a sequined Mardi Gras costume. Within minutes, everyone's blowing party streamers, wearing feathery hats, and the whole place looks like an advert for Bacardi Breezers. The message is clear: play SingStar Anthems, and you're going to end up in a feather boa.
Not that there's anything wrong with feather boas. Rock types, emo kids and Smash Hits readers have already got plenty of SingStar options, so it's about time somebody else got a go. But the fact is, unless you've just tottered out of Wetherspoons wearing L-plates and a pink cowboy hat, it's possible you aren't going to like this SingStar very much.
We tried to enjoy it, honest. We made a genuine attempt to recruit an actual, real hen party off the throbbing streets of Bath to play it with. Using our own bodies as bait, we flexed our pecs and tried to lure the staggering, stiletto-heeled vixens back to our PlayStation haven with the promise of Candi Staton and all the Smirnoff
Ice they could drink. For some reason, they weren't interested. We were several pints of 'confidence' juice in to be fair, by the time we started hollering at them in the streets, and that may have affected our usual charm.
SingStar Anthems needs a crowd though, and we're professionals, so we made a determined foray into a couple of Bath's 'friendlier' pubs. We thought we might find some people who actually like Steps - or at least don't want to batter blonde buffoon H to death with a rake every time they see him. We couldn't find anyone who didn't want to do that. So we had to make do with a few of our mates, some girls we met in the chippy and an incredibly drunk Irishman with a glass eye we met on the way home.
IT'S DRAINING MEN
Our initial impressions of Anthems were middling. A first flick through the track list left everybody a bit underwhelmed. The men point-blank refused to sing It's Raining Men and I Will Survive, possibly because they imagined they had some male pride to salvage. Just look in the mirror, lads. Then the girls started acting up. They didn't want to sing the Pussycat Doll's Don't Cha or Biology by Girls Aloud. Apparently it was "embarrassing" (by which they mean demeaning) and no amount of baying like dogs by the blokes could convince them otherwise. Don't they want to be popular?
First tune out, then: Bonnie Tyler's magical Total Eclipse of the heart. This is a song that couldn't be more '80s if it was being sung by Hulk Hogan and Mr T inside a giant ceramic recreation of Billy Idol's face. It's the perfect combo of shouty - singability and fist-clenching faux-earnestness - and it's almost impossible to stop singing once you've heard it a couple of times in a row. After that rousing starter, we dished out some much-needed vodka and blasted through Spin Me Round, Laura by Scissor Sisters and Young Hearts Run Free. Then we drank the last of the booze, took a deep breath, and sang Don't Cha, Turn Back Time and Crazy Chick by Charlotte Church. Then we just about made it through the rest of the songs... and then we frisbeed the disc out the window, put on SingStar Party and had a great old time.