I Think It’s Finally Time To Safely Listen to Jonathan Coulton’s Still Alive From Portal
I know, I know. We are all aware of how this played out. First Valve drops Portal as almost an afterthought, 4 solid hours of gameplay and puzzle solving and the world is enamored. Suddenly cake jokes and portal gun jokes flood the internet, some as references some as original. Then the products came, and eventually the sequel with even more jokes and references about potatoes and lemons (guys I think the people at Valve need to eat), and so we arrive at today.
All throughout this we’ve had the song ‘Still Alive’ – a little ditty sung via GlaDoS’ autotune about the game. Done by the incomparable Jonathan Coulton it’s a perfect little reward for the original Portal. It wasn’t really used in the second game, but really for a long while after the first game came out the song was everywhere. I mean it ended up in Rock Band (as DLC, but still guys)
It also helped shoot Mr. Coulton into some new blood for popularity, and don’t get me wrong while this song for a long while was grating on my ears I could go listen to many of his other hit songs such as “First of May”, “Code Monkey” or really most of the Thing a Week 2006 album. We truly have no shortage of the JoCo, but I think we could all agree that after the initial honeymoon if Still Alive came on we skipped it faster than a Slipknot song. (Fight me Slipknot fans)
I think it’s time though.
It’s been almost 9 years, and to be fair about 8 years 10 and 1/2 months since we hated the song.
But I think it’s time.
Memes and pop culture trip all over themselves every day inventing new and horrible ways to amuse and shock people (#McChicken) but like many things they lost their luster over time (although oddly rickrolling still happens) The problem is that much of this stuff is flash in the pan. It burns red hot for a very short amount of time, but then it becomes burnt and acrid and no ones wants it. Well guys I think we left it alone for enough time. Like a shark buried in the sand it has taken time to ferment, and sure it still carries a whiff of ‘oh god the smell of Hakarl’ but now it’s been given the space to show it’s complexity, and has become a delicacy.
So yeah people might look at you and say ‘really the Portal song, geez 2007 called, something about a great economy and no housing bubble’, but shun them away, or let them listen.
Because the song has heart and if you take the time and really listen I think you will agree that it’s time.
Anyway, I’m sorry, but that just happens to be how I feel about it. What do you think?
The Buffalo is Nerdfit's longest active content contributor. Having helmed various podcasts (What's Nu in Animu, WritersCast), columns (I Hope Nippon Sempai Notices Me, Advanced Game Theory, Booze Reviews, Anime Season Previews, etc) - currently he writes a weekly article column of 'Buffalo's Shit to Think About'