Smooth McGroove: Undisputed Champ of Vocal VGM

If you’re a fan of video game music and you haven’t heard of Smooth McGroove, I’m not going to judge you for your ignorance. Nobody’s perfect. However, you might want to redeem yourself by watching this video from Mega Man X. I’ll wait.

Oh yes, that is the sweet sound of VGM being faithfully recreated with nothing more than a microphone and some mouthparts. Well– there’s a computer involved, and experts are still debating the technical purpose of his cat, but you get the idea.

Some backstory for the uninitiated: Max Gleason uploaded his first Smooth McGroove Acapella video (Zelda’s Lullaby) on January 13, 2013. The Internet quickly responded with a loud, enthusiastic “Yes!” and within two years he had amassed more than a million subscribers on YouTube. Very rarely do we see an online star rise to fame at such a meteoric rate, and Smooth’s story will surely go down in history as one of the fastest climbs to success the Internet has ever seen. Not only do his videos perfectly fill a niche, but they also ooze quality. Simple, accurate, and beautifully polished; each one is a perfect storm of childhood memories for any gamer.

There is something magical about capturing note-for-note nostalgia with the universally recognized sound of the human voice, and Smooth’s got it down to a science. Not only does he have the chops– and the beard– to get the job done, but he’s also got the expertise in music production to bring the whole experience together. The result is basically what you would expect to hear from the angelic choir in video game heaven. With beatboxing.

Speaking of production experts, I’ve heard whispers that GameChops is planning an official Smooth McGroove remix album. No release date or track list yet, but I can say that it’s definitely happening. Start your hype engines!

Now, I’m supposed to be keeping everything top-secret, but I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I made an announcement like that without giving you something to nibble on. So I’ve whipped you up a tasty little preview of my own “Smooth” Super Mario Bros. 2 remix:

Just keep that between us, okay? Our little secret.

Anyway, trust me when I say there are more than enough videos to satisfy your hunger for video game music on Smooth’s YouTube channel. He’s covered just about everything: Zelda, Phoenix Wright, Kingdom Hearts, Pokémon… and that’s just in the last month.  If you love video game music, do yourself a favor and jump down the rabbit hole headfirst.

Unfortunately for our ears, Max isn’t always creating the stuff goosebumps are made of, but he has been known to appear on Twitch and his gameplay channel, Smooth McGames. Be sure to follow and subscribe to both if you want to get the full experience.

Smooth McGroove is on Twitter and Facebook,  and you can download his music from our friends at Loudr or Bandcamp. If you really want to pledge your support, he also runs a successful Patreon campaign with great perks.

And finally– let’s bring it back to his cat really quick, because seriously, look at this adorable cat:

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