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Vocal Themes


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What do I love most about Sonic soundtracks? Is it the catchy stage themes that can stick in your head forever, orchestral songs , or the always-awesome Credits Medleys that feature several songs from the game fused together to make an awesome compilation? Ha, none of them compare when they stack up against Vocal themes!

 

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Whether they're made by (then) series staples Crush 40, or newcomers Cash Cash, I've always loved Vocal songs in the Sonic series. They add deeper meaning to the game or what they're describing, like how "It Doesn't Matter" is Sonic's POV and attitude on life. Fans generally love them too, but for some reason they've been put on the down-low starting with Unleashed, and now they're non-existent in Sonic: Lost World. Am I the only person that misses then? Heresy, I say! Bring them back! 

 

There's so many damn good vocal songs, but I think I would have to say my favorite in Sonic musical history would have to be "It Doesn't Matter" by Tony Harnell (strictly speaking the Sonic Adventure version). The classic hard-rock focus really fits the character to a Tee, and the lyrics perfectly describer how Sonic will never give up the fight for justice and how he lives the lifestyle the way he wants. 

 

In terms of least favorites... I think there's only a total of eight vocal songs I don't like: You're my Hero, My Sweet Passion, Fly in the Freedom, Follow Me, Almost Dead, Catch me if You Can(Sonic Riders version), Seven Rings in Hand(Steve Conte rendition) and Free (Original version). None of them appeal to my taste in music, and the vocals in all of them can really aggravate me.

 

This is a place to discuss Vocal songs in the Sonic series in general: Favorites and least favorites, musicians you would like to see working on them, your general stance/opinion, etc. 

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Secret Rings is one of my favourite soundtracks for the heavy usage of vocal themes in-gameplay, though I'll admit they may have gone overboard a little.  If a game has that many in future, it'd be good if instrumental versions could be used for shorter missions etc.

 

 

Something about a good in-gameplay vocal theme really pumps me up - but saving them just for the final boss and credits makes them become predictable and boring.  I'd rather see them used more effectively at pivitol moments - either plot or cool/serious gameplay-wise - like a film would with licensed music.  Use them artistically, not just for the sake of having a vocal theme "because we always do".  Can't really blame Lost World for not having a theme since I'm not sure what they'd sing about but, yeah, as long as that's a one-off direction for that game coz I love my vocal themes.  >8C

 

 

My favourite vocal theme has always been Supporting Me.  Compared to the generic evil orchestra every other game used for it's penultimate/phase 1 final boss themes, it was a gorgeously melancholic track that perfectly contrasted to and built anticipation for the full-blown uplifting finale featuring the energetic main theme, while reflecting the plight of both Shadow and the Biolizard's existence in both lyrics and style.  What more can you ask for from a vocal theme?

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My favourite vocal theme has always been Supporting Me.  Compared to the generic evil orchestra every other game used for it's penultimate/phase 1 final boss themes, it was a gorgeously melancholic track that perfectly contrasted to and built anticipation for the full-blown uplifting finale featuring the energetic main theme, while reflecting the plight of both Shadow and the Biolizard's existence in both lyrics and style.  What more can you ask for from a vocal theme?

Oh yes, Supporting Me is indeed a kickass song. I love both versions, Sonic Adventure 2's sets a more fearful, tense mood that captures Shadow's mindset at the time perfectly, while the Generations remix leans more toward techno while still keeping the original's atmosphere.

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What I'm Made Of is actually my favorite vocal song in the series. smile.png

You have good taste. What I'm Made Of is easily my favorite Crush 40 song, and maybe even final boss theme in the series. It's Metal Sonic's de-facto theme for me, while the drum and guitar work is sheer musical goodness. 

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You have good taste. What I'm Made Of is easily my favorite Crush 40 song, and maybe even final boss theme in the series. It's Metal Sonic's de-facto theme for me, while the drum and guitar work is sheer musical goodness. 

It's also my favorite Crush 40 theme as well. Even though Heroes had some very corny and cheesy songs, they're guilty pleasures of mine. I love cheesy stuff, and the amount of cheese is great. I feel that cheesiness makes things fun, even if they ARE stupid. :P 

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Oh yes, Supporting Me is indeed a kickass song. I love both versions, Sonic Adventure 2's sets a more fearful, tense mood that captures Shadow's mindset at the time perfectly, while the Generations remix leans more toward techno while still keeping the original's atmosphere.

 

I actually felt like the Gens remix was super lacking and destroyed a lot of the atmosphere, as if the complexity of the sound of the song was toned down to sound good coming out of a handheld's speakers.  When I think of how crazy good Big Arms remix was, it makes me sad that Biolizard got minimal treatment.  I mean it sure as hell fits because the Generations boss fight does not have any of the emotional story context that the original did, but I'd take an out of place gorgeous full remix of my fave vocal track anyday over a fitting but minimalist one. 8C

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I love a lot of the themes from the Crush 40 era, and Knight of the Wind sure isn't bad. The only ones that come to mind that I absolutely can't stand are the vocal themes from Heroes, save for What I'm Made Of. They feel more like themes to Saturday morning cartoons, though Follow Me (or whatever Team Rose's theme is called) ain't too bad.

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I've always felt like Open Your Heart was Crush 40's ticket into Valhalla and the rest of the vocal themes they've put out since have been mere gestures of kindness to the unworthy masses; everyone else whose contributed to the pile of themes has not reached that level of transcendence. Not to say that there aren't any other good vocal themes: It Doesn't Matter (SA1), Fly in the Freedom, What I'm Made Of, Endless Possibility, and everything on Secret Rings' soundtrack are my particular favorites. But Open Your Heart always stood out to me as the benchmark within the crowd, an impressive, high-octane adrenaline rush that manages to be both worrisome and hopeful, and doesn't delve to the sheer depth of cheese later music has and continues to. We'll never get one like that again, I tell you hwhat.

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I don't like to be the spoilsport, but I'm going to be honest... I've never cared for the majority of the lyric themes in the series, and I'm really not all that bothered about their disappearance in recent titles. Most of the time, I'm either indifferent to them, or I just don't like them at all. The ones used in levels really bother me, since I always like my music tracks to be fitting and I find someone randomly singing in the background to be a little mood-killing (and there's a few times in which I actually like the music... on it's own). With the exception of Perfect Chaos, I don't care for when they were used for the final bosses either, because I like the music to fit the boss. (Yeah yeah, I know it's all about the lyrics, but... that doesn't do it for me. The music needs to fit for me.) I can't help but feel that the lyric themes are one of the more minor reasons for why everyone else laughs at the Sonic series. I'm not even a fan of Live & Learn or His World.

 

However, there are a few that I do like, and they are as follows:

 

Sonic Boom - If it counts.

It Doesn't Matter - The SA1 version.

Unknown From M.E. - The SA1 version.

Open Your Heart

Fly in the Freedom - Don't look at me like that.

Escape From the City - The one in-level lyric theme that I'm fine with.

Supporting Me

What I'm Made Of - Even if I don't think it works with fighting a giant robot dragon.

I Am (All of Me) - This is the only lyric theme from Shadow's game that I like. It's admittedly catchy.

Endless Possibilities - I might not care for Unleashed, but I love this theme.

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Endless Possibilities - I might not care for Unleashed, but I love this theme.

I'm the opposite when it comes to the theme. I hate Endless Possibilities with a passion. It's not the lyrics that bother me. It's how the song is arranged. It... it doesn't sound right to me. One way that people used to annoy me was to play that song, because they know I hate it. 

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Eh, just me having crap taste as usual, then.

 

No it's not Crusher, you have awesome taste in music! Don't put yourself down because of another person's opinion,

 

Wrong Opinion.

 

ahaha

 

oh shit, I just remembered how awesome Never Turn back is as well, Shadow had some quality vocal tracks.

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Open Your Heart is easily my favourite vocal theme, at least in terms of main themes. I like Live & Learn, but I think I've gone through a bit of "hype backlash" over it, despite it holding a special place in my heart for nostalgic purposes. It's a guilty pleasure, but I'd probably name What I'm Made Of as my favourite vocal theme overall. Yeah, I think that says a lot about me.

 

I like Shadow's themes too, except for Almost Dead which, uh...isn't my thing, I guess.

 

Endless Possibility is my favourite character theme for Sonic, though. It Doesn't Matter is good, but something about EP seems more fitting for him??? I dunno. XP

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I enjoy vocal themes in Sonic in general. And I think it's also because Sonic has the ability to touch multiple genres and actually make it work. While I don't think it's impossible for other games in other genres to do this as well, few have Sonic's track record with musical variety and are chained to what is essentially a "movie score" in terms of orchestration, with a little bit of rock vibes thrown in for particularly memorable boss fights or special moments. It's not a bad thing by any means, and many composers do beautiful work in that regard (Yoko Shimomura, anyone?), but it's nice to hear something a little different now and then.

 

There's very few vocal themes in Sonic that I dislike, honestly. My least favorite are Cash Cash's contributions (original and remixes--sorry I just can't listen to their music; I find it grating and annoying, and that's considering I have more of a tolerance for pop music now than when I was younger), and all the others range from "awesome" to "listenable," for me. I think if I have to start listing off my absolute favorites, I'd have to go with: "Supersonic Racing (actually can I just say all of Sonic R's soundtrack? Don't judge me.),"  "It Doesn't Matter (SA1 version)," "Unknown from M.E. (SA1 version)" (it might have corny lyrics, but the instrumental and the combination of Dread Fox's and Marlon Saunders's vocals sound great--more so than Hunnid-P's IMO) "Live and Learn," "What I'm Made Of," "Chosen One," "Never Turn Back," "His World (all versions)," "Endless Possibilities," and "With Me."  There are probably others, but those are the ones that stand out as "greatest hits" in my mind. These songs encapsulate the ideas behind the characters and stories for me ("Never Turn Back," "Endless Possibilites," and "With Me" in particular). And others are just plain catchy and fun and make me smile like an idiot whenever I hear them (entirety of Sonic R's soundtrack--always a nice pick me up).

 

It's kind of nice when they're mixed into the soundtrack beyond the final boss/credits roll, as it definitely adds a lot of variety to the scenes, and with the right timing and everything, it can enhance it. Even though they only really used the instrumental versions for in-game scenes, I liked how the Sonic Adventure games at least incorporated the characters' themes into various parts of the games' stories. I wouldn't mind that sort of return to the music--provided the storytelling gets back on track to facilitate this sort of thing.

 

I kind of wish SEGA would go back and start giving other bands/artists a chance to compose a theme for Sonic. I loved how they reached out to a variety of not-so-mainstream artists most of the time to create something. I'm probably the only person on this board, but this is why I want to hear a hip-hop inspired soundtrack on a new Sonic game. Sorta like Sonic Rush's, but with vocals from rappers like Raw Poetic or Mega Ran, instead of just random scatting (which is still quite charming and works, all things considered) but I don't think it'd kill them to lean in that direction a little bit (and in a more serious way than when SEGA/Sonic Team tried to gangsta-up Knuckles's image in SA2). It doesn't even need to be an all-vocal soundtrack (as I know that could get annoying) but at least for character themes and very specific moments in the story.

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Yeah Endless Possibility definitely has the right "ending song" for Unleashed's story, it just felt so perfect watching Sonic run while the song played, it's one of the best vocal songs and best fitting songs in a Sonic game to date imo.

 

Speaking to Jez just reminded me of the 2 scrapped songs that didn't make it into Shadow, I wish they did because they are also amazing songs on their own!

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I completely, unironically love Sonic R's soundtrack. To this day, they rank as some of my favorite vocal themes in the series. Their catchy, downright infectious melodies and unapologetically optimistic lyrics have always had a special place in my heart. Was it fitting for a racing game at all? Probably not! But to this day, I'll jam out to "Feel the Sunshine," "Work it Out," and "Diamond in the Sky" with a dopey smile on my face.

 

Oh right, obligatory "E.G.G.M.A.N." mention. Of all the character-centric themes, I think the Doc's is the best (and that really is with my blatant fan bias aside). I'm glad to see it used again in subsequent games, and I think it really fits such a bombastic character.

 

"Reach for the Stars" was good too, but then, so was pretty much all of the music in Sonic Colors.

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...I completely forgot about Sonic R.

 

Yeah, I'll admit I can't bring myself to dislike the Sonic R tracks, even if they're a more milder version of "Not Fitting the Levelitus" that several games like SA2 would later do.

 

And for the record, in the event that they count as lyric themes, I do enjoy Rush's soundtrack. Because it's Rush's soundtrack.

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Sonic_Adventure_Vocal_mini-Album_cover.j

 

Sonic Adventure easily had the best and most consistent lineup of vocal themes in what they set out to do: describe every character's personality and POV. Granted, it's probably the cheesiest Sonic vocal album aside from Sonic R's, but every song here is a diverse genre, like pop, hard rock, Hip-Hop/Jazz, and so on. I've already covered my love for It Doesn't Matter, but I'm also fond of Lazy Days, Unknown From M.E( fucking briliant so-bad-they're-good lyrics and a kickass saxaphone to top it off), Believe in Myself, and Crush 40's debut song, Open Your Heart. I don't really like My Sweet Passion, but that has more to do with not appealing to me and sounding too girly. Still, it's a damn fantastic album overall, and set the bar for Sonic vocal tracks.

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