I've always been a fan of ice levels in video games. Not only because winter is one of my favorite seasons, but because there is usually some twist in the design to make the level interesting. Take Skeleton Dome for example. It starts out in a snowy canyon, then it transfers to an underground palace. Add in some awesome music, and what's not to like?
#30 The White of Sky (Sonic and the Secret Rings)
One of the first things that should stand out to a listener of this song would be how Runblebee ties in the strings in this song. They put them in so that the sounds tie in with the Arabian theme of the game, which is a nice touch. While the song is good on its own, it's about where it is in the game that makes it stand out. Since this is the penultimate level in the game, the song produces an aura of accomplishment. There's a feeling of "you've come so far and done so much, but there's still more to do", which is a feeling I love in any type of music. And this isn't even the highest ranking Secret Rings song!
I swear, if I see one mention of a certain Youtuber who has this as his theme song, I'm going to be very cross for the rest of this countdown.
#29 The Palace That was Found (Sonic and the Secret Rings)
I'll be honest, the title of the song surprises me, considering that the only word in the title mentioned in the song is "the". Barring that, however, there aren't any real reasons to have anything against this song. Its catchiness factor rivals your typical Sonic Rush song, the various instruments used help to mix the melody up a little, and it's pretty unique out of Sonic songs because of this. Also, there's an aura that gives the sense of a lost, desolate kingdom, which, considering the setting, fits perfectly. Honestly, Sonic level themes can't get much better than this.
I love the way this song starts with the sad overtone, then switches into traditional Crush 40 fare. Almost like it's saying, "yeah, we don't do sad." Not that that's a bad thing, of course.
#28 Never Turn Back (Shadow the Hedgehog)
I know that this isn't the highest ranking theme song for Shadow, but at the same time, I think that it is the one that best shows who Shadow is. What I deem the Shadow Trilogy (Adventure 2, Heroes, and Shadow) is all about Shadow trying to figure out just who he is, and in the end, he learns that he is the only one who can decide that. This song shows that better than any other song I can think of. Of course, the song being sung by Crush 40 also helps the matter considerably, since they automatically make any song at least 25% more awesome than it is already is. Come on, Sega. Get them back for the 25th.
Some part of me could never fully understand why Secret Rings's soundtrack doesn't get more attention than it does. I mean honestly, where else can you get music fitting for a battle against a fire genie?
#27 How it Started (Sonic and the Secret Rings)
There are a select few tracks in video gaming that I automatically fall back to when I need epic battle music, and most of them are from either Sonic or Kingdom Hearts. While this does rank towards the lower end of that list, it's still definitely good enough for me to essentially worship. The lyrics aren't repetitive for the sake of being repetitive, instead, they merely provide a little food for thought while you go after the Ifrit (also, why did they name this the same as that guy in Rivals 2?). There are also awesome yet slight changes in the music that can easily represent climactic moments in, in my opinion, the best boss fight in the game. Even by Secret Rings's standards, this is certainly one awesome tune.
The basic summary of the character theme songs in Sonic 06: Sonic: "My world" Silver: "My dreams" Shadow: "Me. Hail me. All of you."
#26 All Hail Shadow (Sonic 06)
One of the plus sides of Sonic 06 that I find most people overlook is how it got Shadow's character right. Lots of people were complaining about how whiny he was in Shadow the Hedgehog, but now that we'd gotten that out of the way, Sega could focus on making him awesome. So, they started with this cover of a song from Shadow's game, which gets the job done tremendously. It speaks about Shadow's raw power, his will to fight, and it doesn't have too much EDGE in it like a few of his other songs. All in all, this cover was a catalyst for his good characterization, and I hope to see it again in a future Sonic game (and not that smelly Boom Shadow).
I mentioned previously how I find the original version of Catch Me if You Can go be the single worst vocal Sonic song of all time, and I still stand by that statement. Luckily for us, however, while the Zero Gravity version of that song is half decent, there's some salvation that's come a little sooner.
#25 Sonic Speed Riders (Sonic Riders)
Ah, this song. Heck, this intro. Everything about the intro for this game feels like something straight out of an anime, which is not only something I don't mind, but it works perfectly. The traditionally animated cutscene is something I personally want to see more of in future Sonic games, which is to say nothing about the actual song. It's just the right length to get the point of the game across without feeling repetitive, it's catchy enough to evoke memories every time you hear it, and it goes along with the game perfectly. It's short, it's sweet, and it just gets you pumped up enough for what's to come.
I really hope that I don't get too much flak for calling Sonic Heroes "cheesy". It is, but in a good way. The way I see it, the overall cheesiness of it means that you can take whatever message you want from the game. Like this one:
#24 We Can (Sonic Heroes)
This song balances two different messages in its hands. On one hand, yes, the song is cheesy. There is no real way to get around this. It's overly happy, it talks about the REAL SUPER POWER OF TEAMWORK, and some might say that this detracts from the overall quality of the song. I respectfully disagree. Because in the song's other hand, it means well. Some people might be able to look past the cheesiness of this song to find it at least a little bit inspiring, if still a little over the top. That, and it's a really well made song to boot. In the end, I can look past the cheesiness in this song and bop my head along, ready to take on anything.
Strangely, unlike most of Sonic Heroes's songs, I don't have much of a problem with any of this song's perceived "cheesiness".
#23 Sonic Heroes (Sonic Heroes)
I'm honest about what I said in this segment's intro. I honestly think that the overall "cheesy" attitude present in the rest of the game (which, to clarify, is far from a bad thing) has little to no impact on this song. Sure, you can kind of get that feeling, but Crush 40 manages to make this song rise above most of Sonic Heroes's other songs by doing what they do best: being awesome. This song is a special mixture of kid-friendly fare and awesome-fare, which makes this song unique in a franchise that often goes to either one extreme or the other. It strikes an interesting balance, and I would be interested in what this part of Sonic has to offer in the future.
Remember, it's not the length of a song that determines how good it is, it's the overall quality.
#22 Race to Win (Sonic Rivals 2)
When you think about it, it says something about the dedication that Sonic Team's music department when a simple level theme represents a character's personality perfectly. Not only that, but this song fits so well with the overall theme of the game, considering the game's overall theme of rivalries. Aside from that, it has the traditional elements of a good Sonic song: it's catchy, the lyrics fit well with the beat of the song, and the instruments have full control of the figurative stage. It's almost like in 2007, Sega decided to just make a bunch of lyrical stage themes just cause. (Please do this again, Sega).
And now, for this section's resident unpopular opinion: the original version of Sonic Boom is not my favorite version. Yep, that's right. And I'm not entirely sure if the combination of two awesome Sonic bands can pull the opinion haters away from me.
#21 Sonic Boom (Crush 40 vs. Cash Cash) (Sonic CD)
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: while I don't hate techno, I won't go out of my way to find good techno music unless I hear it first. That means that when I praise a legitimately good song with at least some techno elements, it has made quite an impression on me. The fusion of Crush 40's rock music and Cash Cash's synthesized themes is absolutely superb here, and the lyrics actually sound, at least to me, better than the original version. It helps that recent techno themes that the Sonic series has been using are, in a word, awesome, which actually makes this song stand out more than you might expect. Why the Sonic Boom tv show didn't use some version of this is beyond me.
Now, if all the opinion haters have rage-quitted, the rest of us will move on to the Top 20.