A word of warning: FreshPlanet’s SongPop 2 may force you to come to terms with an unpleasant fact about yourself. Namely, you might think you know all about the music the kids are into these days, but rest assured if you’re over the age of 30, you have no idea about the music the kids are into these days.
But that’s OK. SongPop 2’s sampling of acoustic music trivia spans dozens of genres and sub-genres. Your time of reckoning will come when you challenge some snot-nosed upstart to a retro Bon Jovi duel. And then they will slay you when they opt to test what you know about 2014’s Greatest Hits.
It’s this give-and-take tug of war that helps make SongPop 2 so compelling. Everyone can find a niche and wield it against friends and strangers, making for a lot of fun back-and-forth.
Basically, SongPop 2 plays a lot like SongPop, just with more of everything piled on. When you start a game (or when you take up a game started by another player — either a Facebook friend or a randomly-selected stranger), you’re asked to select a category of music from a series of playlists. When that’s done, relevant songs parade in one after the other and you’re subjected to a few seconds of music. You need to select the song’s correct name from a list, though you may occasionally be asked to select the artist instead.
The more quickly you select your answer, the more points you earn. If you’re taking a turn after another player, you get to see the answer they picked, which comes in handy if you’re stuck — though obviously they score more points on that question than you.
Still, earning a reduced score on a question is preferable to earning a zero — which can happen if you slip into a panic and make a dumb selection. I may as well air my shame: In one particularly memorable match, I got a bit flustered and somehow selected “Pink Floyd” for an Avril Lavigne song.
SongPop 2 doesn’t have many notable flaws. Even your original SongPop data, if you have any, is ported over to SongPop 2 once you start playing. There’s a new Party Mode that functions like a tournament, and it feels a bit secondary next to the primary experience.
Some of the playlists can be a bit vague, too. I still have no idea how “2000 Hits!” differs from “2000 Jukebox!” when there’s so much crossover between the two lists, but here we are. Also, earning the coins necessary for buying new playlists is a slow process (though it can obviously be expedited via an in-app purchase).
If you’re any kind of fan of the original SongPop, and / or if you’re just in the mood to bring your epic knowledge of cool music down on your friends’ heads, SongPop 2 is a worthwhile musical journey. Just make sure your iTunes account is topped off: You’re going to wind up with a lot of new music in your library.