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True Blue: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog :: Review by Setnaro

True Blue: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog Album Title: True Blue: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog
Record Label: Wavemaster
Catalog No.: WWCE-31175
Release Date: January 23, 2008
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Sonic the Hedgehog. No one is as true and blue as he is. Bringing in a lot of memorable adventures and music along the way. To commemorate his (arguably) popular songs, True Blue is Sonic's second compilation album. The first being the Sonic the Hedgehog 10th Anniversary Golden Disc, which was focused a lot more on Sonic's chronological venture from the first game all the way to his 10th anniversary with the release of Sonic Adventure 2. True Blue: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog focuses a lot more on some of the vocal performances and theme songs pertaining to Sonic himself that we've heard ranging between Sonic CD to his then-latest outing Sonic Rush Adventure. True Blue was specially designed not just for fans to listen to their favorite songs once again, but also make it easier for fans to be able to have some of their favorites housed into one easy package. So, are the songs that grace this album really true and blue as Sonic, or did it miss out on what fans really enjoyed?


First thing's first. This album brings in various appearances by Crush 40, so this album is more for Crush 40 fans or fans who loved all the vocal songs they heard over the years when Sonic traveled into the 3D era, starting with Sonic Adventure. However, there are some really great songs choices that represented Sonic during the SEGA CD and SEGA Saturn era as well. There are also two songs that got a very awesome remastering treatment, as well as four brand new songs that can only be heard exclusively on this album.

"Live and Learn" and "What I'm Made Of..." are the songs that got a really nice remastering treatment, thanks to Masahiro Fukuhara. Both songs got an entirely new sound on the percussion, sounding much more in-studio, especially "Live and Learn", in which the drum performance in the original version sounded very out of focus as though it was being performed live in a concert. The audio behind the guitar has been increased slightly during the guitar solo, and given a bit of an echo. "Live and Learn" has a slightly better treatment out of the both, since the audio behind the bass track has also been increased, and the lead guitar during the entire track has been given a diverse echo.

All the other songs didn't get this remastering treatment unfortunately. However, some of the audio quality behind some of these songs have been improved for maximum enjoyment, especially when listening to a set of headphones. A great example would be both of the songs that appear on Sonic CD, Japan's "Sonic - You Can Do Anything" and USA's "Sonic Boom". Both these songs are the intros to Sonic CD, depending on what region you watch it in. The vocals for both these songs have been greatly improved, and the instruments come in much clearer then ever before in comparison to the Redbook audio quality that came out of the actual game disc itself. As a bonus, we even get to hear the full version of "Sonic Boom", which is very rare to find and give a listen.

Crush 40's song choices on this album have been left completely intact. They are pretty much the same as you've come to listen (and enjoy) elsewhere, whether "Open Your Heart" from Sonic Adventure and "Sonic Heroes" from, well, Sonic Heroes. So aside from all of that, there are also Sonic's own theme songs within the same game, such as both versions of "It Doesn't Matter", each appearing in their respective Adventure title, SA1 or SA2. I personally prefer SA1's version of "It Doesn't Matter" since it's more hair metal and the rhythm guitar is very progressive and deep. SA2's version is much more light-hearted and cheerful. To each his own, as the CD allows fans to hear both once again.

Even Sonic '06 gets a representation with two versions of "His World". The original one by Ali and Matty alone, and the other version performed by Zebrahead. Great choices, and those who weren't willing enough to get Several Wills may finally be able to hear the exclusive cover performance behind Zebrahead. I kind of wish that they included "Dreams of an Absolution (LB vs. JS Remix)" while they were exploring Sonic '06, as that still continues to be my most favorite song, so that was a very disappointing moment for me.


Even the handheld games are faithfully represented on this album. Sonic Rivals 2 gets "Race to Win", by Ted Poley, whose last performance for the console games was way back in SA2. "Race to Win" is a relatively short song, clocking just barely under a minute. It was composed to be a looped song, but is nevertheless a very frantic and fast hard rock song reminiscent of "Escape from the City", also on this CD. It's very catchy, but fails only because it's short. Another song, "Right There, Ride On", was composed by the famed Jet Set Radio composer, Hideki Naganuma. The version we get is the remastered version originally heard on the Sonic Rush album, Groove Rush. It's pretty much the ultimate fan favorite track, with its retro style music, complete with a nice funky bass that pushes the boundary behind the sounds of the DS.

We also get some very strange choices of music among the album that I could deal without. Among the strange choice is "Sonic X Theme". When I first read this, I though they meant the Japanese theme "Sonic Drive", but when I heard it, I was actually pretty surprised to hear it was the 4Kids version of the Sonic X intro theme. Don't get me wrong, it's a very bouncy and catchy song, but it's pretty weird seeing an American-composed children's song appear on an exclusive Japan released album. Maybe it was to have the Japanese audience have a listen to what we in the USA have to deal with, but I think this song had no necessity in appearing here.

Likewise, we get the rather uninspiring song "Seven Rings in Hand", as heard in Sonic and the Secret Rings. Those who played that game will know how hauntingly repetitive this song was in the menu screen, and it's another song I could have done without. There's also "Super Sonic Racing", a techno vocal from Sonic R that suggests there is some sort of dance craze going on that I'm not aware of in which you supposedly have to do the "Super Sonic Racing". No thank you.

There's not much else to say about the rest of the songs contributed, so let's get on with the four special songs on this album. First off is "A New Venture (Surfin' S.R.A. Remix)". There isn't much elaborate in this remix; it felt more like a completed song for one that originally lasted 30 seconds. It did get a remaster treatment fit for a better stereo quality, unlike the original version as it was heard back on the DS for Sonic Rush Adventure.

"Angel Island (SSBB Remix)" is the best exclusive track on this album. Composed by Jun Senoue, this track was remixed for Sonic's stage on Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Jun Senoue was best known for doing some Hard Rock covers for some existing Sonic themes from the Genesis days, such as Green Grove Zone in the form of "Windy Valley". Angel Island was one of my favorite pieces on the Genesis' Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and to see Jun give it an epic guitar treatment left me very joyous. It wasn't enough just to see Sonic appear on Brawl, we also got a track that allowed Nintendo players see how awesome Sonic's music can really be. For some reason, the lead guitar reminds me of the Justice League Unlimited Intro. Maybe that's why I feel "Angel Island (SSBB Remix)" sounds so epic in my head.

Next up is "Seven Rings in Hand (Crush 40 version)". Yes, Crush 40 covers yet another song. It's not really one of my favorites, since the guitar sounds so incredibly sporadic in the lead section, especially in the intro, and the vocal performance by Johnny sounds pretty uninspiring and very low. It comes complete with a guitar solo that the original didn't have, and there are some sections around the remix that, in comparison to the original, doesn't feel so repetitive. A better performance than the original, but that's not really saying much, unfortunately.

And finally, "Open Your Heart (Crush 40 vs. Bentley Jones Remix)". A great way to end the album, this remix keeps the original version intact, only now the guitar has been given a static effect, and an entirely new drum performance comes into play, playing loud and full of power, with a few new rap lyrics as performed by Bentley Jones himself. It's kind of cheesy, but you just can't help but sing along with him once you get the lyrics down. An entirely new experience behind "Open Your Heart" and I'm glad to see this song get an awesome remix.


True Blue is not a bad compilation album for Sonic the Hedgehog. I wouldn't really say it is the best of Sonic the Hedgehog only because not a lot of fans may appreciate Crush 40 in one way or another, but for what it's worth, this album serves as a great way for fans to catch up on the music for Sonic if they weren't already able to collect any previous vocal albums or is having a hard time finding a place to hear some of the more rarer and difficult to locate songs. The bonus tracks and the remasters are also a great reason not to miss out on True Blue and — while this album also includes some rather strange and bad choices of songs, not to mention some highly missed out better performances — I highly recommend this album only to the fans who missed out on a lot of Sonic albums that carry the songs they enjoyed listening to as they played various Sonic the Hedgehog games.

Overall Score: 8/10