I almost hate to say it but Sonic the Hedgehog is my favorite video game franchise by a very large margin. In part because of nostalgia but mostly just because I gotta go fast. And Sonic almost always goes fast -- though sometimes he goes like 3/4 fast, on a bad day.
Much to the chagrin to the portion of my coworkers who are not crazy about Sonic the Hedgehog, today is his 25th anniversary! Which means not only do they have to listen to a bunch of "gotta go fast" babble and memes behind the scenes here at GameSkinny, but they have to edit whatever Sonic-related articles make their way to the site for the anniversary. And I definitely want to make that as fun for them as can be.
Sonic's time in gaming has been filled with some serious ups and downs, none of which the community can fully agree on besides two things:
Though the vast majority of Sonic music is non-vocal, there have been some seriously memorable vocal tracks over the years that not only capture the spirit of fast (or fest for those of you going too fast to bother spelling properly) but have the power to pump you up for whatever comes your way.
In a lot of ways many of these tunes are timeless, not necessarily because they're all that great from a universal perspective but because of their ability to uplift you even in the worst of moods and keep you pushing through.
Ahead are a number of vocal tracks from Sonic titles spanning several generations, and let me tell you: it was tough picking them out. So tough in fact, some slides aren't one song. Nearly a dozen hand-picked tracks didn't make it to the final list, but I'm confident you'll agree what we've got here are some genuinely appropriate songs for Sonic's big 2-5.
Another uplifting track that gets, Endless Possibility is one of the most popular vocal tracks from the series and it is certainly an appropriately fast and uplifting song for the 25th anniversary.
One thing that's for certain is that this song is a one-way ticket to loading up Sonic Unleashed, or at least the Unleashed mod for Generations.
This may be one of the less "forceful" tracks on this list, but it stands proud among some of the best vocal songs gracing Sonic, and it's not even by Crush 40. A+ would recommend again.
Regardless of what you think about this game, you can't deny this is one of the most rockin' Crush 40 Sonic tracks. Well, you can deny it. But listen to it twice and you'll be thinking about it next week while cursing the fact you clicked through this list as you seek it out on YouTube.
Fight The Knight is great to get you pumped, and while it might not be inspirational or uplifting compared to many of the band's other songs for the series, it definitely has a spot here as a track that's easy to get into and inspires that much needed fast.
Sonic and the Black Knight has a few pretty good tracks, but none are as blood pumping as this one.
This is not a song I would admit to liking normally even among friends, but it's Sonic's anniversary and I have to come clean: I really like Free. It perfectly gives that fast feeling and it is absolutely great to turn on while practicing levels in Generations.
Yet another song from the series toting the virtues of breaking out on your own and being yourself, Free's got that perfect mix of uplifting and catchy that makes it easy to get stuck in your head. So, I'm sorry in advance if you haven't heard this one or simply don't like it.
What I'm not sorry for is the Crush 40 version. It's slower, but come on. Every Sonic fan loves Crush 40. It's like a mandatory requirement to enjoy the series past your teen years.
Nope, not City Escape. Yet.
Live and Learn was Sonic Adventure 2's main theme, but the full vocal version of the song isn't played in the game until the FinalHazard boss fight when Sonic and Shadow both go Super. That's not why it's awesome, though it certainly helps.
In all of its early-2000s edginess, Live and Learn is a song that can speak to you no matter how old you are and encourages you to learn from your mistakes and keep pushing forward, taking your own path. This is a theme you hear in a lot of vocal Sonic tracks but Live and Learn drives it home, and it's really hard not to rock out to it.
The above all said a good portion of my (and many others') preference for this song may be in part because Sonic Adventure 2's start menu features a partial instrumental version of this track that just plays on repeat. And also because the FinalHazard is one of the most hype boss fights ever.
If you knew what this was going to be just from looking at the thumbnail, congratulations! You may also have a Sonic problem!
Sonic R may not have been all that good of a game, but man it had some great music. Super Sonic Racing is definitely one of the better songs from the soundtrack, though I still have trouble deciding between it and Can You Feel the Sunshine. For good reason:
Some people may prefer the Sonic Generations version of Super Sonic Racing, but it lacks the pure '90s feel and pure optimism oozing out of the original track that has made it a staple to link whenever the series is brought up.
Let's not talk about this Sonic X's quality -- or lack thereof -- all you need to know is the theme song and make sure you listen to it on repeat today.
I don't think everyone would be saying "Gotta go fast!" in relation to Sonic if not for this atrocity of an anime, and that tells me it was all worth it.
Sonic Boom needs no introduction! But I'll give one anyway because some people are still confused which opening was released in which region(s).
The original North American version of Sonic CD got Sonic Boom, the gem shown above. It's softer than the other songs listed, but it's just perfect.
The European and Japanese releases had an entirely different soundtrack, and instead of Sonic Boom they got You Can Do Anything.
Which definitely fits right in with the other songs here, and it's just a hype-fest. Because, you know, "you can do anything!"
Both the NA and EU/JP soundtracks are good in their own ways, and modern re-releases give you the option to choose between them--though You Can Do Anything is instrumental-only in re-releases.
And aside from the above tracks is a Crush 40 version of Sonic Boom, which is as hype as you would expect.
Sonic CD's soundtrack is the gift that keeps on giving.
Tired of Crush 40 yet? I hope not, this is a Sonic vocal track list and enjoying them is mandatory.
Sonic Adventure was absolutely mind-blowing at the time it came out, and this song played in part during the menu idle cutscene and during the Perfect Chaos fight. Put two and two together, and you have Open Your Heart as one of the best-remembered songs in the entire series.
I could go on and on about how awesome this song is and the memories it evokes in Sonic fans, but there's no need. Open Your Heart is great for what it is. It's got that perfect mix of edgy, uplifting, and hype-inducing that makes it one of the best vocal tracks in the entire series.
Here we are, the end of the vocal track list, and the song is exactly what you thought it would be!
Look, there really isn't any other song that better embodies Sonic the Hedgehog than City Escape. The level itself is a gaming icon almost entirely due to this song alone -- though that's not to say anything about the City Escape level. It's a real gem and totally set the stage for the rest of the game.
Some look back and say Sonic Adventure 2 was a bad game, and that's their opinion to have. But City Escape is a fantastic level with a fantastic headlining song.
It may be cheesy and it may be fairly short, but this song is a part of gaming history and it is an absolute must listen for today for Sonic's 25th anniversary. And if you're feeling especially nostalgic, give the level a whirl. It's just as fun as it's always been.