So I’m sitting here, listening to the final version of The Sonic Stadium’s Music Adventure 2012. I’m only on my second play through (there’s a very good reason for that), however I’m not getting tired of any of the songs just yet. In fact, listening to it again has me appreciating them just a little bit more than the first time. The familiar melodies are coming through a little more clearly, and I’m hearing more depth on each track.
It’s a lot to take in. The album has 143 tracks coming in at just over eight hours long (which is why I’m only on my second playthrough), and is comprised of about 40 artists performing in a variety of musical styles. That’s the way it should be, after all the past 20 years of Sonic games have had music from just about every major musical genre. You see, each and every one of these artists are truly Sonic the Hedgehog fans, people that enjoy the entire franchise as opposed to those that checked out the original Mega Drive/Genesis trilogy and maybe Adventure.
This isn’t a venue to discuss the quality of the other Sonic games. From first hand experience, I know how low the series got. What’s remained constant though is the fan base’s appreciation for the music from these games, and that’s evident through the hugely varied track selection on display. Off the top of my head, you’ll get “obscure” music from the likes of: Sonic Blast and Tail’s Adventure from the Game Gear; Sonic Mega Collection from sixth-generation consoles; Sonic 3 multiplayer; the Sonic Advances; SegaSonic the Hedgehog from the arcades, etc. Much derided games like Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2006/Sonic ‘06 even get their fair say, right alongside music from other Sega properties such as Shenmue, NIGHTS and Yakuza. There’s even a selection of original, Sonic inspired tunes in the mix.
Personally, I’ve not been a big fan of the original tracks in the past, and that hasn’t really changed. I’m in it for the re-imagining of the music I recognise, be it for nostalgia reasons or because I’m a ridiculous person. That’s not to say they’re bad though – especially in this album, as I don’t know a handful of the official tracks, they fit perfectly in with the rest of the music. One track in particular, Everybody Rock ~ A Sonic Rush Tribute, comes right after a remix of an actual Sonic Rush track and is a wonderful tribute to the amazing music in those games.
With a lot more music to work with this year, the album’s staff (and especially album director Vizard Jeffhog) have done a fantastic job arranging all 140+ tracks so that it never feels disjointed. It also probably helps that the music itself is just a pleasure to listen to – even the remixes based on pre-existing themes that may not have been great to start with are done full justice. I especially like the little hints to other themes in some of the tracks, with liberal use of Sonic Rush samples, Sonic 1 and 2 snare drums, and a bit of Scrambled Egg Zone from Sonic 2 8-bit snuck into a Sonic Heroes remix.
I’ve got some firm favourites among the tracks as well. The trio of metal Sonic Adventure 2 remixes, City Escape, Metal Harbour and Pyramid Cave, please my metal sensibilities and enjoyment of those particular themes. There’s an a capella version of one of Knuckle’s rap themes, Pumpkin Hill from Sonic Adventure 2, which is just awesome. Bridge Zone and Jungle Zone from Sonic 1 8-bit receive amazing treatments, and the piano rendition of the ending theme from Sonic 2 8-bit makes me tear up every time. An acoustic version of Reach from the Sky of Sonic Colors fame is a classy track, and the re-imagining of Sonic 3’s special stage music using Sonic Advance style music had me smiling the entire time. All the incredible talented artists, such as Freen in Green, Faseeh, Alien.Renegade, Rexy, foreversonic and even Vizard Jeffhog himself, really have come together over the past year to make another incredible fan album.
The Sonic Stadium Music Adventure 2012 will be released on the 7th April 2013. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, I also highly recommend downloading last year’s equally fantastic Sonic Stadium album. You’ll get a taste for what the Sonic fan community does best. You know, other than fighting over Sonic Heroes.