The music of the franchise has always been a very interesting subject for me. This is due in part to it's VERY varied spectrum. You could probably name a genre off the top of your head and it wouldn't be far fetched to say that the Sonic games have done it at least once. The most interesting aspect, however, is the actual evolution of the music and how each game took a different route with it, sometimes even drastically, and still have certain Sonic flair. Classic Era (1991-1997) Everyone knows Green Hill Zone. When you think of Sonic, it's probably the first thing you think of. It also helps that it has a very pleasant and catchy as hell melody to accompany you through the first moments of controlling Sonic, especially since it (and the rest of the game, plus Sonic 2) was composed by Masato Nakamura of Dreams Come True fame. In the first game, the tracks are, for the lack of a better word, "by the book". Every track is well-composed, but it's clear Nakamura is trying to (ironically) keep his J-pop influence at a minimum while finding a footing on how the music based around an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog should sound like. Spring Yard Zone and Star Light Zone are good examples, as they both wouldn't sound too inappropriate in another SEGA platformer (Ristar, maybe?). However, this wouldn't be the case for Sonic 2. With the first stage, you are immediately greeted with a fast paced, very different sounding song from the rest of the Sonic 1 soundtrack. It really energizes you, giving you that mental adrenaline shot to get you speeding through the stage. Most importantly, however, is that it feels perfect for Sonic. The rest of the tracks have this rush in some degree (aside from Wing Fortress and maybe Hill Top Zone, but still great tracks nonetheless), but lean more on emphasizing the upbeat & uncaring vibe that the franchise has become known for. However, when Naofumi Hataya and Masafumi Ogata would helm the soundtrack for Sonic CD, the J-pop vibe would return, but in a very different way. Hataya and Ogata absolutely nailed it (in my opinion) when they decided that instead of trying to create a soundtrack like Sonic 2, they would go back to Nakamura's roots and make Sonic CD a very J-pop driven game. With four different variations of tracks for each act, this was the biggest undertaking in terms of Sonic music of the classic era. The J-pop feel is immediate as soon as you load the game when you are greeted by the catchy as hell "Toot Toot Sonic Warrior". The rest of the soundtrack mixes 7th chord progressions, serene acoustics, children cheering, menacing voices, and George Clinton samples (work that sucker to death) to deliver probably the most unique soundtrack of the time. However, Sonic 3 would take on a more epic feel with newcomer Jun Senoue, Tomonori Sawada, a variety of other composers, and even (quite possibly) Michael Jackson himself composing a couple of tracks. Sonic 3 (when I speak of Sonic 3, I mean of Sonic 3 & Knuckles as a whole, as I believe it should be) was going to be a massive game from the start in terms of Genesis platformers. To complement its scale, the tracks needed to feel as if they were part of the adventure itself. Angel Island Zone's music feels tropical, laidback, and eventually urgent when the progression of "oh hey some jerk stole my emeralds" to "oh shit Eggman's burning this forest down and is after the emeralds again" happens. It's a transition you can feel thanks to the great composition of both acts. This transitional element can also be found in Hydrocity Zone, Marble Garden Zone, and Sandopolis Zone. Tracks like Carnival Night and Ice Cap (oh god Ice Cap has an amazing melody) have the strength of having their respective songs fit EXTREMELY well with the atmosphere it tries to evoke, as well as the rest of the soundtrack. Sonic 3's influence on the music of the franchise is probably the strongest, given that future modern games would take the elements established in Sonic 3 and forge them into epics all their own. Knuckles Chaotix, composed by Junko Shiratsu, is a bit of an oddball in the franchise. While the music is very good in its own regards, it feels very SEGA (if that makes any sense) and not overly Sonic. While this is in part to being composed by a completely different composer, it may also be due to the unique cross of a organic/mechanical aesthetic seen in Sonic CD that gives the soundtrack a sort of faux "J-pop" feeling that may come across as generic. While not bad by any sense of the word (Door Into Summer and Electoria can attest to that), it's often overlooked when discussing great Sonic soundtracks as it, despite being part of the franchise, sounds different from anything in the franchise. Sonic 3D Blast (specifically the Genesis version), however, may just be the most "Sonic" sounding soundtrack in the Classic era. Every. Single. Track. Is. Amazing. Jun Senoue is at his musical best in the Classic era with the tracks he composed in the game (Green Grove, Spring Stadium) while the rest of the composers compose very memorable tracks that just evoke what defined Sonic music during the time. Now if only the same could be said about the game itself... Wrapping things up, two games of the Classic era have particularly great soundtracks, but in vastly different ways. Sonic The Fighters is an arcade fighter, so it should be appropriate that fast paced fighting music should be made for it. What's amazing is how GREAT the Sonic music aesthetic and the fighting motif blend together. Literally, every single track in the game could get away with being in a Classic Sonic game. Especially well-composed are the tracks "Black Bed" (if you haven't already, check out the Gems Collection remix of this track, "Fairy of A.I.F/Fairy of Ice", it's good), "Back to Soul", and "Try Again". The other game is Sonic R, which has (by far) the most divisive soundtrack of any Sonic game to date. The whole of the OST is a mix of 90s Whitney Houston-esque pop and J-pop, accompanied by the incredibly cheesy lyrics of TJ Miller. "Can You Feel The Sunshine" and "Super Sonic Racing" are undoubtedly the most well-known of this soundtrack. In terms of quality, I'm in the camp that this soundtrack is quite fantastic, with Richard Jacques providing very catchy beats reminiscent of Sonic CD that aren't bogged down at all by Miller's lyrics (due in part to her great singing). I'll make an Adventure era analysis sometime later as this post is long enough as it is :v:/> What do ya'll think of the evolution the franchise's music has taken through the years? Do you agree or disagree with any of my thoughts?