Game Music

Sonic Boom Trio Part 2: True Colors Review

April 7, 2010 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Sonic Boom Trio Part 2: True Colors Reviewon Twitter

A few weeks ago, I did my first review of this series of albums which was released late last year over a small period of time. All 3 CDs features the different works and projects of Jun Senoue, one of SEGA’s most prolific composers and more or less the current Sonic The Hedgehog composer, as they have been bringing onto that series time and time again since Sonic 3 in the 90’s. As you saw in the review of Jun Senoue THE WORKS, he has worked all across the board at SEGA, working with AOR stars and Japanese idols and voice actresses, but nowadays he’s back working with Sonic on Sonic The Hedgehog 4, composing the soundtrack for the download title.

So it’s fitting we look at True Colors: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog Part 2 today. It’s not exclusively a collection of Senoue’s work on the series, but a good chunk of what is featured is by him, and it was released in the album wave dedicated to his works. Sonic is somewhat of a sensitive subject for gamers, as fans either hate the games since it jumped ship to 3D or they dress up as Tails and defend every step Sonic takes in gaming. Let’s see if I will be wearing a furry suit by the end of this.

Hit the jump to read the review!

The CD features a nice cool looking cover with Sonic doing The Rock eyebrow expression and posing. I never minded the redesign that came with Sonic Adventure. The booklet features lots of faded artwork, and every song has extensive production information, with all staff mentioned, from composers to mixers which is always a good touch. Some SEGA albums lack this and it always annoys me when they don’t go back and figure out composer credits for old games. The CD design features a jump pad star which you see in all the games.

The music on this CD is mostly taken from the later titles, from Sonic Adventure to Sonic Riders. All these games experiment with a huge mix of styles, so this album goes pretty much all over the place. It starts out with music from the less popular entries in the series, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and Sonic 2006. “Un-Gravity” from the former of those 2 is pretty awesome actually, with a mix of electronica and rock, blending the styles well, and the vocals by Cashell are solid, being slightly similar to Seal and Jarle Bernhoft (google him). “Dreams of an Absolution” was featured on THE WORKS in a Jun Senoue mix, but this is the original version from Sonic 2006. I can’t stand this song, mostly for its vocals which are Disney Channel band material. Very much a bubble pop singer. The dance music isn’t all that much either, I would personally listen to the JS Mix. “Throw It All Away” and “E.G.G.M.A.N.” are both from Sonic Adventure 2 and I swear I already have these 2 songs across 3 other albums on my collection. The Sonic Adventure stuff was released on various CDs that were either original soundtracks or vocal collections, and re-appeared in many games so forgive me if I have lost track. Nothing special about these tracks, “Throw It All Away” sounds like something out of a underground British experimental band and “E.G.G.M.A.N.” has some pretty hilarious lyrics along with some good guitar and bass work.

A pair of Julien-K tracks show up, “Waking Up” and “This Machine” from Shadow The Hedgehog and Sonic Heroes, and they are both quite decent. I like the synth sounds on “Waking Up”, very 90’s. “This Machine” is the best of them, with grungy guitars and much better vocal work. The next 5 songs are all from the Sonic Adventure games. The tracks are “Fly in the Freedom”, “My Sweet Passion”, “Believe in Myself”, “Unknown from M.E.” and “Theme of E-102γ”. Nothing new about them, and the first few tracks are very “cute” as they are meant for the female characters, sounding like Josie and The Pussycats. “Unknown from M.E.” is a good enough hip-hop track, despite its rather cheesy lyrics. Very good flow and beat. The later part of the CD gets more interesting however.

the 12th track is “Cosmic Eternity” from the Japanese version of Sonic CD. The song is composed by Naofumi Hataya, the funk master behind many SEGA games like Burning Rangers and Space Channel 5 and it’s pretty weird. A lot of fans are torn between the Japanese and US soundtracks for Sonic CD, and while I prefer the Japanese myself, I don’t think this track had much to do with it. The music is great, but the vocals, Engrish and all, makes it more a good laugh than a good song. Even more obscure is the next track, “Look-a-like” Sonic The Hedgehog OVA, the long forgotten Sonic anime from the 90’s, Again, a pop song with loads of Engrish. It seems SEGA always wanted Sonic to appeal so heavily towards the western market, cause they always make these songs in English or even change soundtracks entirely.

The next song is probably the highlight of the CD. “Sonic3 MegaD Mix”, a remix of Sonic 3 music again by Naofumi Hataya and it was featured on the Sonic Gems Collection. This song uses the original Mega Drive music beefed up with new drums and arranged with some new instruments. It’s upbeat, catchy and waaay too short, I could’ve listened to this for hours if it was longer. “Lazy Days -Livin’ in Paradise- (Original Demo)” is as the track implies, a demo of a song that was featured in Sonic Adventure. This version is slower, features more guitar and the piano is much more audible. Ted Poley is an acquired taste when it comes to the vocals, but I like him here, good spirit and energy. “All Hail Shadow (Hybrid Mix)” is a fast paced guitar track with some screechy vocals. By now on this CD, all the different vocals have made you kinda desensitized and hardly stand out, so this song is nothing special.

The last 2 tracks come from us by Lee Brotherton, the singer of “Dreams of an Absolution”, which again appears here in a new slower remix. It doesn’t help the song much, I find it quite too bubbly still, but some of the synth sounds a nice, the lead in particular reminds me of the Love Hina music. “Open Your Heart (K-Klub Remix)” is a techno arrangement of the Crush 40 song. My goodness they ruined this once awesome song. It doesn’t sound fitting at all, though I suppose it is kinda hard doing dance music of a melodic rock song like the original is. I still can’t stand listening to this.

So what can I say to sum it up? Well, for the most part I find myself skipping through the tracks. Most of all the songs are vocal, and not the best of the bunch in the Sonic series. I understand the overall lack of Crush 40 seeing they released a collection set of their works at the same time, but no Tony Harnell, little classic material and the remixes aren’t any improvement. This CD made me want to more put in the Cuts Unleashed and Triple Threat albums and enjoy a much better showcase of the product. Sonic fans who are still waiting for a classic collection set, this ain’t it. Sonic fans who enjoy the 3D series, this ain’t the best songs out of those games.

No furry suit today.

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