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What is the best Sonic soundtrack??


J.R.

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Sonic games soundtrack are (most of the time) absolute bangers, so bet it would be a doozy to pick the best.

Sonic the Hedgehog is known to have amazing music. It's rare to have a game with majority bad music disregarding the quality of the games.

It has since really the beginnings of the series. The franchise has not been able to disappoint. But which is the best of the best?

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I gotta say Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are the two best games in that regard. Or one best game, if you choose to see it that way. Nearly every melody is distinct and memorable. I listen to the meldoy of say Hydrocity Act 2 I'm thinking that it could easily have been used to make a number 1 hit song.

I also need to mention Sonic Adventure. The sheer amount of fantastic songs in that game is insane. The same is true for Sonic Adventure 2 but I personally think Adventure 1 has the upper hand. This was Jun Senoue at his very top.

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I gotta say that Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Adventure has the Best Soundtrack, The Guitars by Jun Senoue is Top-Notch Quality, and It's memorable to the Dreamcast Sonic Fans, and the Character themes in those Games has a Lot of Personality and Memorable. 

Also I gotta mention Sonic Heroes because It's done by the Same Composer and The Music is amazing, Seaside Hill's theme is the most memorable theme in Sonic Heroes.

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I disqualify Generations - mainly because of all the remixes. But it's built in custom soundtrack made up of all the best songs in the series really is something to behold. Nothing like taking on that Silver boss battle with Ungravityfy blasting in the background.

 

As far as judging games on their own merits, I always hand my top scores over to Unleashed and Rush. All the regional specific themes and instruments go the extra mile to immerse the player in every stage in unleashed. You actually feel like you are a part of whatever locale Sonic is running through and none of the levels ever disappoint. (TSR also gets an honorable mention in that regard) Rush also knows exactly what it wants to be. Its energetic, its funky and its a perfect fit to a fast paced, short spurt handheld adventure meant to grab your attn.

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There are a few contenders for me:

Sonic 2 8-bit: Nostalgia bias pick. I love every song in this game but because it was my first one I'm not sure I can judge it unbiasedly.  It has a lot of style in common with Sonic CD though due to the shared composers so it has that going for it even if you aren't nostalgic for it.

Sonic CD JP: Just extremely high quality stuff, makes sense I'd love this if I love Sonic 2 8-bit naturally.  I really enjoy the US' atmospheric tracks too, but JP has the edge.

Sonic 3D Blast (Saturn/PC version): I just adore this soundtrack. I love the way there's a recurring lemotif for the whole game in every song, and the variety and melody work on offer is just incredible.  I really wish the composer hadn't been a dick to Bentley Jones (reportedly) and Tee Lopes (in public for all to see), so it's a little tainted now.

Sonic and the Secret Rings: Oddball pick but this soundtrack just manages to perfectly hit the middle point between a melody-driven "game soundtrack" and oozing with style "cool soundtrack" that say, Sonic Rush goes for.  I love the heavy usage of lyrical music - it's just a shame that it doesn't really suit the short levels and mission structure of the game - and of course it gets the award for worst implementation of a main vocal theme in the franchise history.

Sonic 2006/Sonic Unleashed: Great melody-work, great variety, great mixture of moods too. Literally the only thing dragging them down is a bit of synthesised orchestra, particularly the final boss themes.

Sonic Generations: Yeah it's basically a mix CD of remixes of favourite songs upgraded, so it's kind of a cheat, but I think above all the others this might be the one I'd take to a desert island for that reason.  Crisis City (both acts) and Rooftop Run Act 2 are among my favourite songs in the entire franchise, so good.

Sonic Mania: Tee Freakin' Lopes man, he really knows what he's doing.

Sonic Forces: I know, controversial pick, but I have a deep love for melancholy and desperate sounding melody work, and this game is chock-full of it.  Classic Sonic's music is a severe downgrade from both Generations and the rest of the soundtrack, but I've listened to the rest of the music so much that it honestly balances out the bad.

 

The honourable mentions would be Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic and the Black Knight, which have some amazing anthems but also plenty of filler, and Sonic Colours, which is RIGHT behind 2006/Unleashed and very similar strengths to those games, but just not as much variety due to the smaller number of zones and how similar most of the Act 1/Act 3 remixes are to one another.

 

Sonic Adventure and Sonic 3 & Knuckles are probably the glaring ommissions here for most people - they are great soundtracks, but their melodies just don't appeal to my ears personally as much as the above do.  Still fantastic, but they just don't hit me in the heart quite the same.  I also feel like Sonic 3 & Knuckles has a fair share of duff Act 2 remixes, the Sonic 3 half in particular.

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For me, it's gotta be Adventure, which stands as my all-time favorite game soundtrack period. Not only is almost every track in the game memorable, but I feel it does far and away the best job of any Sonic game when it comes to expressing the tone and atmosphere of each location, level, and boss fight in ways that go beyond visuals and story beats. It's harmonious with the other elements of the game in a way unlike all other Sonic games, in that it leaves me more contemplative on the nature of Sonic's world as a whole, rather than just singular levels.

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I never put soundtracks in competition honestly, so while I like most of them, I don't really know what's better.

The classics have a lot of good music, but I usually only like some of the tracks, not all of them; for example, Hydrocity is great, but Marble Garden is just ok, and Launch Base I just don't like it. All classics games are like this for me, so I can't say any of them have the best soundtrack. I love most of Sonic 1 8bit musics though... besides Green Hill that we heard so much it makes me sick, there's Bridge Zone, Jungle, the reimagined Labyrinth, and the boss theme is great too; the other tracks are good as well even if not as much as the one I mentioned; so yeah, you can count Sonic 1 8bit as part of the list.

Sonic Adventure 2 is also great, I don't think I need to comment about that.

I also love Sonic Advance 2's soundtrack, or at least most of it. Worth of mentioning Hot Crater, Ice Paradise and even the credits music, I love that one too.

Sonic Unleashed and Colors also have nice soundtracks that really fit the environments of the zones, though I feel like most of those musics work really well only if associated with the visuals of the level, and took out of context are still good, but not special, at least for me, so I'm not sure if I should count those games.

The first Rush game does have a weird soundtrack but it has a lot of personality and it really fits the mood of the game, so even if I would not really listen to stuff like "Ska Cha Cha" in my free time, I would still count the soundtrack of this game as one of the bests.

I have never played Black Knight but I like the main theme, though I didn't listen to the rest of the soundtrack so don't know about it... if it's all as good as the main theme, there's definitely potential there as well.

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2 hours ago, KnuxDLX said:

Dred Foxx’s Unknown from M.E. >>> Hunnid P’s Unknown from M.E.

I just found out that Dred Foxx also voiced PaRappa the rapper lol

image.png.18099fc133b07687b914667f297315ed.png

this verse from the Adventure 2 version always confused me. In Adventure 1 I thought it referred to Knuckles teaming up with Eggman, but in the context of Adventure 2 I don't get why they didn't change it up a bit

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3 hours ago, BubbleButt TV said:

I just found out that Dred Foxx also voiced PaRappa the rapper lol

image.png.18099fc133b07687b914667f297315ed.png

this verse from the Adventure 2 version always confused me. In Adventure 1 I thought it referred to Knuckles teaming up with Eggman, but in the context of Adventure 2 I don't get why they didn't change it up a bit

That's because it's always referred to Knuckles and Sonic, not Knuckles and Eggman.

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11 hours ago, Blue Blood said:

That's because it's always referred to Knuckles and Sonic, not Knuckles and Eggman.

well knuckles has a very strange understanding of the word "temporary" considering the fact that he teams up with Sonic in pretty much every single game afterwards lol

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On 1/17/2022 at 1:41 PM, BubbleButt TV said:

well knuckles has a very strange understanding of the word "temporary" considering the fact that he teams up with Sonic in pretty much every single game afterwards lol

The lyrics were written for Sonic Adventure 1, and the temporary thing probably was just meant to refer to Knuckles' desire to return to his quiet life on Angel Island (I don't think the person writing the lyrics was privy to the fact that they'd start to ignore this aspect of his character in a couple games' time).  The lyrics weren't re-written for Sonic Adventure 2 because it was just a straightforward remix of a song that wasn't intended to be 100% attached to SA2's story (plus it re-used Saunders' performance from SA1, so they'd have to re-record that if they wanted to change the lyrics anyway).

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I don't think I could say what the best Sonic soundtrack is, or even pick a personal favourite. They're so varied and have their own strengths and weaknesses. Is it really fair to compare to techno stylings of Advance 2's GBA CPU-produced sound to the orchestral style of 06? Both are fantastic soundtracks suited to their own games, but the scope of projects and the technology used are world's apart. I'm just going to talk about one of my favourites instead of try to pick what's best overall. 

People are discounting Generations because its mostly remixes, but I'm just going to slide in here and say that Team Sonic Racing has one of my favourite soundtracks ever. It's a 50:50 split of original and remixed music for the level themes, which is where all the real good stuff is. And in addition to that, you've several versions Green Light Ride, the Team Ultimate themes and the cutscene music (much of which came from the Boom games, see here and here). 

The level themes are just so bloody good. The last time that Jun Senoue directed a Sonic soundtrack and went all-out on rock would have been Black Knight, and that was a full 10 years before TSR. Generations featured some rock, but TSR's genuinely music often feels like it's from a lost SA3. Senoue was really firing on all cylinders when he created pieces like Doctors Mine. And if Clockwork Pyramid doesn't sound like it belongs in one of Tails' mech stages, then I don't know what to tell you. They just hit so hard. And it wasn't just Senoue that delivered on the rock front, because he reached out to a variety of outside artists to create other absolute bangers. Senoue worked with Tyler Smith to give us the  unashamedly butt-rock Frozen Junkyard and the ever-popular Tee Lopes for Haunted Castle. And what about this beauty: Lost Palace? It was by Hidekuni Horita (and Senou) , who's only other Sonic credits are from M&S Rio. He mainly works on PSO music at SEGA. The dude needs to come back to Sonic sometime. He's clearly capable of magic. Ohtani only provided one track for this game with Sky Road and its more off his ultra repetitive modern dance/electronic style, but ngl I love it. 

And then you still have remixes to consider. We got Sandopolis and Sand Hill remixes from Tee Lopes again, and both are just oozing style. Insanely good tracks right there. The Bingo Highway remix from TORIENA was great, Hyper Potions did a great version of Cool Edge Day and Senoue himself did a fantastic new version of Final Egg

The collection of level music in TSR is just top notch. It's all very high energy and lamps variety compared to some of the platformers perhaps, but that was no doubt intentional as a racing game. IIRC, in an interview somewhere Iizuka said that he requested Senoue headlined the soundtrack to really make it sound cool. And he definitely accomplished that. Green Light Ride is far from Crush 40's best song, but even that still gets the job done. 

TSR is a decent game that sadly falls short of the previous racing games by Sumo Digital. And compared to other racing games or there today, it's just lacking so much in the content department. Where it doesn't fail though is its music. It's one of my favourite Sonic soundtracks, without question. People who joke about it being a soundtrack first and a game second aren't exactly wrong.

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38 minutes ago, Blue Blood said:

I don't think I could say what the best Sonic soundtrack is, or even pick a personal favourite. They're so varied and have their own strengths and weaknesses. Is it really fair to compare to techno stylings of Advance 2's GBA CPU-produced sound to the orchestral style of 06? Both are fantastic soundtracks suited to their own games, but the scope of projects and the technology used are world's apart. I'm just going to talk about one of my favourites instead of try to pick what's best overall. 

People are discounting Generations because its mostly remixes, but I'm just going to slide in here and say that Team Sonic Racing has one of my favourite soundtracks ever. It's a 50:50 split of original and remixed music for the level themes, which is where all the real good stuff is. And in addition to that, you've several versions Green Light Ride, the Team Ultimate themes and the cutscene music (much of which came from the Boom games, see here and here). 

The level themes are just so bloody good. The last time that Jun Senoue directed a Sonic soundtrack and went all-out on rock would have been Black Knight, and that was a full 10 years before TSR. Generations featured some rock, but TSR's genuinely music often feels like it's from a lost SA3. Senoue was really firing on all cylinders when he created pieces like Doctors Mine. And if Clockwork Pyramid doesn't sound like it belongs in one of Tails' mech stages, then I don't know what to tell you. They just hit so hard. And it wasn't just Senoue that delivered on the rock front, because he reached out to a variety of outside artists to create other absolute bangers. Senoue worked with Tyler Smith to give us the  unashamedly butt-rock Frozen Junkyard and the ever-popular Tee Lopes for Haunted Castle. And what about this beauty: Lost Palace? It was by Hidekuni Horita (and Senou) , who's only other Sonic credits are from M&S Rio. He mainly works on PSO music at SEGA. The dude needs to come back to Sonic sometime. He's clearly capable of magic. Ohtani only provided one track for this game with Sky Road and its more off his ultra repetitive modern dance/electronic style, but ngl I love it. 

And then you still have remixes to consider. We got Sandopolis and Sand Hill remixes from Tee Lopes again, and both are just oozing style. Insanely good tracks right there. The Bingo Highway remix from TORIENA was great, Hyper Potions did a great version of Cool Edge Day and Senoue himself did a fantastic new version of Final Egg

The collection of level music in TSR is just top notch. It's all very high energy and lamps variety compared to some of the platformers perhaps, but that was no doubt intentional as a racing game. IIRC, in an interview somewhere Iizuka said that he requested Senoue headlined the soundtrack to really make it sound cool. And he definitely accomplished that. Green Light Ride is far from Crush 40's best song, but even that still gets the job done. 

TSR is a decent game that sadly falls short of the previous racing games by Sumo Digital. And compared to other racing games or there today, it's just lacking so much in the content department. Where it doesn't fail though is its music. It's one of my favourite Sonic soundtracks, without question. People who joke about it being a soundtrack first and a game second aren't exactly wrong.

You've kind of reminded me that I didn't give TSR a fair shake when thinking about my favourites.  I think Generations just slightly beats it for the variety on offer, and for whatever reason I was thinking of the tracks I don't care for in TSR first when I thought about it (namely Mother's Canyon, Hidden Volcano and Pinball Highway, which I find to all be varying shades of just bland).  But then when I looked at that - 3 stages out of 21 being misses, that's a pretty damn good hit rate.

Actually, Frozen Junkyard has become one of my favourite songs in the series to date, amazing vibes. And while the loop is a bit short and simple, Thunder Deck is a great final stage theme too (just a shame that the final lap theme, which is completely different, doesn't appeal to me as much).

I guess the only thing that sets it apart from Generations for me is that Generations was starting with all bangers, whereas TSR is a slightly more eccentric selection of old songs (and not all of them are straight upgrades like I honestly feel Generations managed to pull off).

But yeah... it's really really good stuff.

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Sonic CD is probably still the most impressive one to me. Every Sonic soundtrack from 1 - Generations is great, but that one has the most diverse mix of sounds and some of the most emotionally resonant tracks as well.

 

You can separate the series pretty cleanly into eras based on the sound, but NOTHING else in the series sounds quite like this game to me. The dreamy acid house influence makes it feel otherworldly but the crunchy 90s dance influence/hip hop grounds it in something contemporary, if that makes sense? It feels like they landed on something perfect for a character like Sonic. His world was strange, but there was enough familiar elements for it to feel inviting. It's magical.

In general, I prefer the Classic era of Sonic than what came after. It was influenced by genres like New Jack Swing, Hip Hop, R&B, Soul etc. and those are just the sounds I find most nostalgic. They really had a good grip on what made this stuff work too. some of the original trilogy's songs had melodies strong enough to be radio hits. My mom will still hum along to chemical plant sometimes if she hears it, and she doesn't normally care for game music. The following decades are really good too for other reasons though. I'll probably talk about them in a later post.

 

 

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Japanese Sonic CD and Sonic Colours were tied as my favourite soundtrack for a long time, but now I think that the soundtrack for Sonic Mania has surpassed them as my favourite.

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I agree with pretty much everything shown here so far, so I'll try to add something new.

Despite the hate of some, I still think Sonic R is one of which hold the best. I may even dare to say if it was released possible 5-7 years later, things could have turned differently. If not, at least given to the right DJs and there would be at least a single hit coming from that game. From my music experience, I think Back in Time is one of the best:

For comparison, this is one of my favorite tracks ever, Above & Beyond pres. OceanLab - Satellite, which IMO has the same style. Released in 2004 and was a #19 hit in the UK.

And while people did already mention Sonic CD's Japan Soundtrack, as someone who's recently got into Lounge/Bossa Nova, that soundtrack does have some great gems. I think Bad Future version of Tidal Tempest is a piece of art:

And from the already mentioned ones, I think each on their own has at least one stand out. As a whole, I believe the 2 original 16-Bits games, the 8-bit version of Sonic 1, Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Adventure are runner ups. Still, I think my hats off best Sonic soundtrack ever really needs to go to Unleashed:

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