There's plenty of reasons to love The Sims, but the soundtrack stands out as one of the most timeless features. Instead of just including instrumentals in the video game series, the developers began including covers of major songs beginning with The Sims 2. These covers fit perfectly in The Sims universe, recorded in "Simlish," the gibberish-inspired language that all Sims speak in. While instrumental songs play as players build and buy things in the game, Simlish covers play on the in-game radio station.
In this extremely technical, science-based ranking in pursuit of finding the top Simlish cover, songs will be evaluated using three categories. Then, Simlish covers will be ranked in order of their average score across all categories:
Distinctiveness: How different is the song from the original English version? Are the lyrics entirely reworked, or is this a lazy remix with remnants of the first recording?
Believability: Do the new lyrics sound like they could be part of a legitimate language? Does the song sound like it fits within the Simlish that Sims already speak?
Playability: Does the song work seamlessly while playing the game? Does it distract from gameplay or is it the perfect dance track for Sims?
"Hot In Herre," Nelly
No disrespect to Nelly, but he's gotta find himself a new Simlish translator. The main lyric turns from "hot in here" to "haspa hee" -- and that's a common theme amongst extremely minor switches from original to cover. It's close to English, but gibberished in a way that it's not too believable as an alternate language. The repetition of the beat would also make it a short-lived track on my Sims radio station.
Distinctiveness: 1 • Believability: 5 • Playability: 5
Overall score: 3.7
"Pocketful of Sunshine," Natasha Bedingfield
If you listen closely, I'm fairly certain the original track of Natasha singing English is in the background of this cover. Maybe that's because it comes all the way from Sims 2, in the early beginnings of Simlish covers. But even with its questionable, barely-changed lyrics, the chill factor of "Pocketful of Sunshine" makes it one of the most playable Simlish covers out there.
Distinctiveness: 1 • Believability: 1 • Playability: 10
Overall score: 4.0
"Animal," Neon Trees
Though the original might be a timeless bop, this cover of "Animal" sounds like you're listening to Neon Trees performing the English version in the next room over. Some lines are the same exact as the original, which simply shouldn't happen in a Simlish cover. Regardless, a bop is a bop and it's the perfect song for your Sims to rock out to.
Distinctiveness: 3 • Believability: 2 • Playability: 8
Overall score: 4.3
"Smile," Lily Allen
The lyricists nailed it with "Smile" in terms of originality, as the cover almost exclusively does not resemble the original's lyrics. But maybe they went too far, as they also don't sound remotely like a real language. Though the original song is a hit, it's not the easiest song to game to with its repetition putting me into a daze.
Distinctiveness: 9 • Believability: 4 • Playability: 5
Overall score: 6.0
"Want You Back," 5 Seconds of Summer
There's really no similarity between the original and Simlish lyrics for "Want You Back," which is an important goal. The cover fails, though, in how its new lyrics sound too obscure to be perceived as a real language. Nevertheless, it's a total bop that's chill enough to listen to while gaming.
Distinctiveness: 9 • Believability: 3 • Playability: 8
Overall score: 6.7
"Wake Up," The Vamps
There's very little similarity between the original and cover lyrics of "Wake Up," but that might be in part because the Simlish lyrics aren't fooling anyone to be a real language. That's to say, it falls a little too high on the gibberish scale to be believable. The cover is a little too upbeat to chill out and game to, but not hype enough for the over-exaggerated dance moves of Sims.
Distinctiveness: 10 • Believability: 5 • Playability: 6
Overall score: 7.0
"Last Friday Night," Katy Perry
Katy dances on "dabledoops" instead of tabletops and maxes her "crabit car" instead of her credit card in this Simlish cover. This jumbling of lyrics is pretty distinctive, until the bridge retains the entire "TGIF" chant with virtually no changes. I can easily picture my Sims dancing along to "Last Friday Night," but I'd easily get distracted playing the game since I'd be singing along.
Distinctiveness: 7 • Believability: 10 • Playability: 7
Overall score: 8.0
"Run Away With Me," Carly Rae Jepsen
I've got a sneaking suspicion that Carly made this Simlish cover of "Run Away With Me" to see if it could get the traction the original version deserved but never got. It's got no lyrical similarities to the English version but has a hint of gibberish over simply sounding like another language. It'd easily get a 10 for playability if I didn't think "this song deserved better" every time I hear it.
Distinctiveness: 10 • Believability: 7 • Playability: 8
Overall score: 8.3
"Beautiful Now," Zedd
Only refer to this song as "Bonaboo Grouw" from now on, please. The repetitive lyrics of the original means that the lead and backup vocalists on this cover sing the reworked "bonaboo grouw" lyrics over and over and over again. That ticks off the playability score as it might eventually get annoying, but it's iconic enough to make this one of the best Simlish covers in existence.
Distinctiveness: 10 • Believability: 8 • Playability: 8
Overall score: 8.7
"Country Girl (Shake It For Me)," Luke Bryan
Put on a cowboy hat and gimme a yeehaw because this cover is pure country perfection. The lyrics are so iconic and memorable that they've inspired the #CrumplyGurn hashtag, as Luke's country girl gets translated to "crumply gurn" in Simlish. I can't say I'd fall for this cover if it were in a real language, but I'm immediately logging onto Sims 3 and having a hoe-down with my friends.
Distinctiveness: 10 • Believability: 8 • Playability: 10
Overall score: 9.3
Catch me listening to Simlish covers only for the next few days, because even the most questionable covers are still total bops in The Sims universe.