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Sonic Forces Main Theme so far sounds underwhellming...and here's why.

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Big news might be dropped tommorow on Forces, and all we've done up untill now is collectively shit on every single aspect that has been shown of the game so far. (with minor exceptions of course.)

Needless to say, I think this marks the first time that I'm actually in agreement with most of the fanbase. (At least the Non-nostalgia whores anyways) Not-withstanding Mania for obvious reasons.

But if there is one thing that I was genuienly surprised was NOT talked about negatively...its the main theme.

This is something that's been on my mind since I first heard the song and my stance on it has not changed since.

 

...Let me paraphrase all this by saying I'm aware that this is not the full version of the song. I'm genuinely hopeful that the full version improves on this song, but I still have my doubts on it. (Very recently we got confirmation of a japaneese female singer for the vocal role! Thankfully that very nicely ties into what I'd want out of the full version, but I'll get to that later.) Heck, the song does sound catchy despite its flaws...and yes, it has grown on me since then...still though, I am a believer of the fact that a song being catchy doesn't automatically make it good. (See the contriversial song "Let It Go" for reference.)

When I first heard this song, outside of any outside influence I might add, there was an immidiate distinct problem with it. To put it frankly this song bored me...I didn't feel "Hype" or "Exited" or anything like most people, in fact I don't think I felt any emotion at all...just utter confusion as I tried to piece the song together but couldn't. Honestly this sounds like a bunch of mini songs mashed up together in a way that doesn't make sense. Any effort of emotion just feels generic and bland, I just didn't know what to make of it at first.

...So when I found out that the song wasn't complete, I wasn't surprised very much. The only thing left to question was why Sega decided to release it like this instead of just releasing the whole damn song like a normal person company would. To injury to the wound was the fact that this is the main theme! Like...not just some random throw away level...the main theme of the whole game! This to me sounds much more like a level theme than a theme for a game, or some sort of cutscene of some sort. The song just tries to communicate too many emotions at once that its just all over the place, and granted that could be because its incomplete, but if even those individual parts sound uninspired or cliche...then I can't imagine the final version being that much better.

 

One thing I noticed people taking note of very quickly was that the song makes very subtle refrences to other Sonic songs, mainly seaside hill...actually a LOT of people pointed out Seaside hill on the first day...and yet I IMMIDIATELY noticed another song instead first...Shadow's theme "I am all of me" located at 0:16 of the song, I'm honestly this went over a lot of people's heads but whatever...this perhaps set up a false sense of security at first thinking "oh this song is gonna sound edgy" before it started to sound more like an anime song. (For the record I don't think I am all of me is a masterpiece or anything, but I do think its a good enough song that...get this...actually communicates effectively what kind of game I was going to play. (Not saying the visuals didn't commincate that as well, but the song does a good enough job by itself))

Which leads me into my next point...

A lot of people say this sounds like an anime song, and I agree. A lot of people also say that they think it fits sonic...and I still agree...which only makes the underwhelming compisition that much more painful. To help put this more into context, I think the sole idea of anime like music accompiniing Sonic is a good/natural idea, ESPECIALLY a main theme! Ignoring the fact Sonic is japaneese for a second, his ideologies just fit with the culture well. Its a series about free roaming adventure and the thrust to do the right thing just because your gut tells you its right. To "live fast and die hard" so to speak. Plus when we take into account Sonic's main gimmick "running fast just because" it all falls into place near perfectly...

You see in most anime openings (AKA the main theme) there will usually be a portion of the OP that involves the main character(s) running fast (or just running) in one direction. The destination is usually unknown, and it gives the animators a good excuse to show off there panning skills and give the viewer a sense of "exitement" without having to put that much effort in. This also has the bonus effect of giving the more "intense" part of the OP some pretty visuals to go along with it. Do note that this tends to be the case even in anime that are very un-action oriented! Now I could take the time to list off examples and even try to justify exceptions to the rule, but instead I'll just link to this coinsedential "example" left in this video...

Anyways...

That's not the only obvervation I have relating to anime. You might have noticed a lot of anime music tends to sound the same...I mean sure it has high energy and its catchy and all that good stuff, and a good majority of them are good, but that sadly doesn't mean they are all good...and I fear that is the case of Forces (and it could be that even regarding the final version). But if they all sound the same then how are some better than others? You might be asking...well there's more to it than that.

Japanese song writers for a lot of anime are restricted to a formula that "works" or "hooks in the audience" they are told to use specific chord progressions because scientifically it proves to catch people's attention quicker, call it a cultural thing if you want but that's kinda how it is, even if they are exceptions to the rule. I garentee you the original Pokemon theme doesn't really stay in people's minds that much unless they are actively thinking about it...doesn't change the fact that when that DOES happen its catchy as freak and sounds super duper balistic and cool! Nothing wrong with that, but its been proven down to a science how simple the song compisition is and how it supposedly "goes with everything".

If that doesn't spin some heads, I don't know what does...

*sigh* do you see the problem here?!

For the record this isn't me being racist against Japan or anything, this happens in ANY subculture of music that attempts to make money and gains a bit of mainstream attention. Pop songs, Rap songs you name it...though the first example that comes to mind with me is with Marvel's (or lack thereof in this case) Cinematic Universe's soundtrack sounding so generic and bland most of the time. When the composers were interviewed on this matter they themselves admitted that they were told to write the music in a certain way to fit with the movies in the most non-intrusive ways possible, in this specific case to make the songs unrecognizable to the audience as to create the effect that there isn't even music in the backround, essetially just acting as white noise to "safely" suplement the movie. Again these composers aren't crap...they wouldn't have there jobs if they were...this is just the way they were told to compose the music so thus they did it like that. I could leave a link to said interview, but I think you all get my point by now so I won't bother unless someone asks for it.

So with all the being said, what the heck is my conclusion?

Well...

For being a song that sounds very "anime" like, it doesn't have a lot of emotion. Don't get me wrong, that's very clearly what its trying to do, but it sounds just like a lot of generic anime songs...and if it were just that it would be fine...just FINE! But its not that...its worse! It sounds generic in a bad way, not in the "that's a solid tribute" in the same way Shadow's songs sound like solid tributes to metal songs, a few songs withstanding. Or the same way Open Your Heart uses a lot of generic rock melodies, but manages to seemlessly combine them together to make something that actually sounds good...great even depending on your taste.

It's just...empty.

Before I wrap this up, I will attempt to disect each part of the song just to drive my point home, if I haven't somehow already done that. I'll put it in this spoiler if you don't wanna bother reading any of it...

Spoiler

0:00 - 0:15

So the song starts out with a few intresting uses of some synth instrements in a pattern I can safely say I haven't really heard before. It bounces like this for the first 6 seconds before slowly starting to escalate...so far so good.

Then the whole thing semi-explodes into this auto-tuned like trumpet sound that feels more at odds with what was before rather than for it. Some might take note that the chord/verse progression is similar to the start of Colors, starts out strong before temporarily calming down a bit...except this song sounds like its trying to the opposite while simutaneosly NOT doing that. On top of that the trumpets doesn't seem to really go anywhere as it just loops back downward instead of continuing to escalate like on the first part, before eventually just giving up entirely and just doing 2 dying whales of nothingness before moving on to the next verse. I know someone's going to say I'm looking to much into this but that's what it sounds like, it just sounds bad, the way the trumpets are positioned in comparison contrast with the rest of the instruments make it feel like its speaking to me directly, but that it doesn't have anything meaningful to say so it just dies off half-way through.

0:16 - 0:33

Now this is where that "Shadow the hedgehog" part comes up, which in of itself is where I bring a bit of concerns. First off the transition between the beggining and here is a bit unatural...though to be fair it was in the original song too so whatever, plus the song isn't exactly the same melody so its got that going for it. But unlike the original, there doesn't seem to be a logical reason why it transitioned this way, there's no build up to justify it, there's no "oh we ran out of compisitions to use" moments...it just shifts for no reason. This sounds like it could take place after an introductory verse in a rock song...but then again is this even a rock song? I don't even know at this point. Honestly in its current state this sounds like how the song was supposed to start, you could either extend the ending of this whole verse or slow down the beggining. (A lot of this song could use some slowing down to be honest, this is actually a common gripe I have with a lot of Unleashed's songs...Windmill Isle being my biggest example. (I swear this song would sound better if it were just slowed down!))

The tune itself is a bit fine at first...at first...my other problem being that I'm immidiately distracted that this song is ripping off a better/more fitting one. Then we get to the second half of the verse...

At this point a lot of things are happening. In my mind I was thinking "oh, they are tyring to make the song sound more sonicy and less shadowy" but the attempt is again very low effort. Now this part might just be personal taste on my part, but the snares sound generic and I don't see it working with the main tune of this part of the song. (Can you even say what the main "tune" is of the whole song at this point...) my biggest argument would be backround part of the song...its the part you have to listen the most for...go back again and listen to the second half of the verse and listen to the backround melody...my gosh, it sounds generic as crap! It's literately just the same 3 notes repeated over and over again. It doesn't sound bad it just...doesn't add anything to the song, its like they didn't know how to continue the song so they were like "F**k it! Let's repeat the melody and add some crap to the backround."

Honestly this wouldn't insult me much if they put a little more effort into it...there is a electic sound in the backround that actually sounds really cool, but its so low volume I severly question why they didn't commit to making that part louder...

0:33 - 0:42

I have no comment on this verse, it just feels like filler. I will compliment it a bit though as it actually sounds decent. It keeps the energy of the song set so far without sounding to repetitive, you can feel a bit of pathos a wee bit right before it ends. It's good, but it just doesn't stick out...had this part been extended more instead of instantly switching over to the next verse I might have liked it better! :/

0:42 - 0:50

I...I don't even know what the song is doing at this point, it sounds okay at first, then it sounds like its trying to set up for this big dramatic moment...but it feels like a slap in the face, it doesn't feel earned and even worse is that this is only 8 seconds long! There's no backround instrumentation to back this crap up either, its just generic noise accompanied by what most people can percieve as "a melody that's easy to follow". There's too much going on and there's simutaneously not going on...

...come to think of it when I put it like that it sounds like musical genius. But I perfer to think that me simply overthinking all this nonsense is what caused me to reach that conclusion...

0:50 - 1:10

Remember when I said at the begining of this article that this song grew on me...well this is what I'm talking about. At first it just sounded like generic "gotta go fast" type of music...but oh boy...could that be further from the truth...

It sounds amazing! The lead up to it with the snare drums followed by a genuine silence followed by backround guitar before the melody kicks in. The way the orchastra chimes in on the first part of the verse but then fades out very slowly and subtly and is replaced by a second guitar before the second half of the verse kicks in, whilist despite sounding different, feels like they are part of the same song! (omg what a shocker!)

It's beautiful and its one of those pieces that stick out more and more I listen to it...though the pessimist part of me feels that its because it sticks out amongst the other crappy parts of the song...the optimist says its because its sounds absolutely beautiful and writing all this JUST to hear that part makes me all the more glad/makes me feel like its all worth it in the end! :D

1:11 -1:28

Then the song randomly decides to go sad for no reason and...again its not earned. To be fair the transition itself is fine, and begining of it sounds a bit good. But then it doesn't go anywhere, it just kinda...loops. Like a poor man's version of an Eversion song or Kraid's Lair. It doesn't attempt to do anything outside of just fading out...

...on top of the fact that it just seems really abrupt as a whole, and it honestly doesn't feel like that was the intention! -_-

Look guys...let me make this clear. I don't think the song is bad, heck you could argue its actually good! But everything about it sounds mediore, its just...disapointing!

Like this is what I expect an ANIME Sonic Song to sound like...

Like...good gosh this seems like such a no brainer!

You got an escalating intro, followed by a somber simmer into the first verse, then a steady rising action into the chorus, (which it more than delviers) and is then concluded by an epic blowout of explosive awesomeness. (This isn't even taking into account the wonderful singing/rapping that goes along with it.) Make no mistake this song sounds freaking awesome...but the point I'm trying to make with this is this song, what this song masterfully nails...is having a structure! ...Yeah that's right an actual freaking structure!!!! :o

...

And that's what I fear most with the Forces theme, it doesn't a "Structure". Its just a garbled mess of potentially intresting song ideas that aren't fully realized. It (for better or worse) sounds TOO MUCH like an anime theme...what do I mean by that?

You see this animation here for Sonic CD's opening? You see how it effortessly matches with the animation perfectly? Well...I fear that won't be the case with Forces, with how jarbled it is it might as well have an opening like Shadows or Heroes or Colors...now don't get me wrong, these OPs are "okay", but I think most of us can agree we'd rather see an actual opening scene rather than a montage of scenes that aren't even in the freaking game! (I'm looking at you Shadow as you shot Sonic in the back and gave me a very different idea of what to expect from the game than what was actually there...)

I said I like the idea of Sonic have Anime like music...I never said that it should actually be EXACTLY like an anime opening. Because its not an anime...its a video game! Sonic CD perserves the illusion that your still in control of everything going on in its opening...or more acurately is indirectly telling you "You see all this cool crap sonic is doing here? Well you get to do that in the game!"

SA did this, SA2B did this...Sonic Unleashed did this (in a weird way tbh), heck...even bloody Sonic 06 did this!

If the main theme can't manage to be good...then how can I expect the other songs to? Lost World had a crappy theme and thus had crappy songs, save 1 or 2 exceptions.

When I think of city's on fire and super escalating "anime" esc tension THIS is the song to come to mind...

(There exists another similar sounding remix of this song that doesn't sound as metalish/edgy if this isn't your thing, but my point still stands.)

I mean...I don't expect the main theme to sound this good, but...it just feels effortless. Like that's all I'm thinking...WHERE'S THE BLOODY EFFORT HUH?

Even Tee Lopes...TEE F**KING LOPES made a remix that sounded better than the original song! And he did it in less than 2 days!

Like...how do you even do that? He even managed to make one part of the song that I didn't like very much tolerable likeable! I...I...I just can't anymore! HOW!?

I guess in a nutshell I'm just disapointed with what we got, heck I'm not one to overhype things very much at all, but seeing how forces is a bit of a train wreck, this feels more like a slap in the face than it should. So much potential just gone to waste! Ugh! :o

...At least we got that japaneese singer on board. So that's good!

And at last...we come to my favorite part of this topic, I call it:

Alienrun's Redundant Conspiracy Theory Time! (AKA A more convoluted/meta version of Game Theory...) 

(in which I attempt to further justify my own opinions by shifting the blame/making broad and generic statements on my interpretation of various stereotypes and on other people! ;))

*Ahem*

I think that the reason I dislike the song and noone else does is because The Sonic fanbase as a whole just has lower standards...AKA they just like anything that involves "Gotta go fast" in there songs. It sounds like anime, so thus it must be anime and anime is cool and sonic is cool so thus I think Forces main them is cool because Sonic is cool and Classic Sonic is Cool so thus Sonic Forces is cool and f**k all your cringey memes and...

Basically I should state this flat out, I don't like a lot of the current main themes in the series. Unleashed...Colors...both sound cool but...man they just don't do it for me, it took a while for either of these to grow on me, and I still don't see all the bloody hype over Unleashed's Main theme.

I'll admit when I first heard Adventure's main theme, I thought it sucked...but then again I was going through a metal phase so I thought anything that doesn't sound like metal must suck so...yeah...that was a thing!

...

Anyways...the more LOGICAL answer is that I have different tastes than everyone else and thus am wrong about this whole thing! Kappa

(Kappa on the second part...not the whole sentence!)

For real anyways though...I'd like to hear your thoughts on...well my thoughts I guess! It's been a while since I did this. (actually it might be my first time in an official sense, at least this long anyways) So any constructive critisisim on that would be much appreciated as well!

Or idk, just explain why you like the song in-depth. I'd LOVE to hear that as well! As most people haven't been able to give that. (Mainly cause I never asked)

Anyways, that is all...comment away everyone! :D

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I like the song, you're not the only one that disliked it btw as I've seen plenty of people deride it. 

I'll admit it doesn't sound as hype now as it did when I first heard it but I still wanna see what the full version sounds like plus the vocals. Don't personally think there's much to gain in dissecting every single thing regarding it but it's an interesting read nonetheless at least 

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13 minutes ago, Soniman said:

I like the song, you're not the only one that disliked it btw as I've seen plenty of people deride it. 

I'll admit it doesn't sound as hype now as it did when I first heard it but I still wanna see what the full version sounds like plus the vocals. Don't personally think there's much to gain in dissecting every single thing regarding it but it's an interesting read nonetheless at least 

Gah! I need to be more brief next time.

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I think you may have a point.

I quite like the theme, but I'm not very musical and rarely remember much video game music or have any idea how to qualitatively criticise it, so there is a pretty high chance of low standards here.  But it had struck me that the Forces main theme was trying to embrace a number of different moods, and the feeling I increasingly get from it is that it feels like it was composed more to line up with a trailer rather than vice-versa, with a solid spread of story beats of various moods from across the game.  Whether that's remotely unusual or even a good or a bad thing is outside of my subject area, though.  I was also suspicious that the theme might actually have some generic aspects, considering that there are a few "Forces theme goes with everything" videos out there, and while obviously a lot of that is pareidolia then it did make me wonder to what degree the Forces theme lined up with a common formula.

It will be interesting to see how they deploy the finished product.

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I only came here today to read comments related to the character creator, but saw this one under it.....

After reading everything, I just gotta ask: What are some examples that you believe have high standards? I just want to get a better perceptive of your baseline along with a taste of your music interests to fully get were your coming from.

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I agree with every word you said. When I first heard the theme it felt kinda generic, like it lacks something that other Sonic main themes have. Unlike the rest of Sonic music, I just can't imagine myself enjoying the theme or getting hyped for the game.

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If Tee Lopes' remix seems to largely fix the song, then it seems it's mostly an instrumental problem?

Honestly I haven't really had much of a thought on the theme, so don't know if I like it or not. Sometimes my brain's weird, Sonic and the Black Knight's music had no effect on me when I first played it and now I love the entire soundtrack to death.
For now, I'm just happy they bothered having a themesong at all, I was worried it was becoming a lost art to Sonic.

Interesting break down of the song regardless. Interesting read.

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