Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Boy howdy, here's a goldarn bluegrass cover of Super Mario World's "Athletic Theme"

In the most unexpected country crossover since LL Cool J and Brad Paisley joined forces to solve racism, the banjo-pickin’, fiddle-playin’ boys of Nashville’s The Hit Points have covered Super Mario World’s “Athletic Theme.” Unlike the regrettable example above, though, their genre exercise is actually very good and, as a bonus, doesn’t feature a single instance of LL Cool J wisely pronouncing “the relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin.’”


Set up in a comic book shop, the group—which has cornered the previously unidentified market of down-home video game music covers—rips through an enthusiastic version of the 1990 Mario game’s speedy piano theme.

The clip shows that The Hit Points are talented musicians, not just because of their technical skill but because they’ve understood that “Athletic Theme” is actually really well-suited to this kind of cover. The instrumentation fleshes out the sparsely propulsive original and lends itself naturally to an excited lead fiddle melody. There are also plenty of natural opportunities to give a few bars over to banjo, guitar, violin, and acoustic bass solos that both show off the band’s musicianship and capture the joy the track’s meant to inspire.

Listen to a few more of the tracks from their first album—including a ripping Final Fantasy VII battle music cover—on their Bandcamp.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.