Jun Senoue
Sonic Adventure 2: Multi-Dimensional Soundtrack


3.5
great

Review

by Killerhit USER (52 Reviews)
February 24th, 2016 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Everything's just like an illusion.

The unprecedented success of Sonic Adventure – and its own short-lived, well-loved system, the Dreamcast – inevitably meant that it was going to be copied, in some form, by the games that followed it, for SEGA certainly was/is not averse to making money hand-over-fist, and what better way to follow a hit than with a sequel? And Sonic Adventure 2 was greeted with a special kind of enthusiasm beyond what it altogether deserved; it was an ambitious sequel to the fairly audacious Sonic Adventure, boasting slicker-looking graphics, new mechanics, and an all-new, “multi-dimensional” soundtrack; so new, in fact, that’s almost impossible to compare the sound of Sonic Adventure with the sound of its sequel. They are completely different entities, which is where we run into a difficulty.

Sonic Adventure’s pop-infused soundtrack was very similar to the 90’s pop and synthrock that defined the classic Genesis games; although Adventure had a lot more funk, jazz, and rock in comparison, it was still definitely very poppy, very accessible, and very “Sonic”. Sonic Adventure 2 all but discards that *** in favor of a brand new sound. An enormous amount of musical talent was gathered together for Sonic Adventure – the composers alone consist of Fumie Kumatani (jazz, classical), Tomoya Ohtani (hip-hop, R&B), Heigo Tani (industrial, electronica), Kenichi Tokoi (classical, pop) and, of course, Jun Senoue (AOR, metal, pop). If it sounds like a lot, that’s basically it totally is. SA2’s OST is a huge amalgamation of influences, made by a group of very talented, very excited people looking to create a “multi-dimensional” soundtrack. It’s an album that wants to offer a little something for everybody, and it succeeds, at the cost of making the entire project feel very erratic and unbalanced.

There’s a great deal of hard rock at play here. The fast-moving, ska-like “Metal Harbor”, the synth-infused “This Way Out” and “Remember Me M.F.M.”, the restless “Unstable World”, the dueling guitars of “Boss: -GUN- Mobile” and prog-influenced “Keys The Ruins”. In that regard, the natural response would be assume that Sonic Adventure 2’s primary genre is hard rock. But that’s not quite correct. Far on the other hand, there’s quite a bit of hip-hop going on in Adventure 2, courtesy of Tomoya Ohtani. There’s “Wild Canyon” with its saxual content and groovy electric pianos, the jazzy, processed “Dive Into The Mellow”, the elegant, disco-esque “Space Trip Steps”. Oh, and there’s lyrics like these:

"E-chi-do-na, that's what I'm represtin'
Never seen a mic hog spit like a menace
Wild Canyon fun, I gotta chase a bat, ha
Yeah, Rouge, she's sexy and smooth
A double-cross spy thief that's out for my jewels, ah
I'm feelin her in mysterious ways"
(Yeah...)

In addition, there’s quite a bit of jazz going on, courtesy of Fumie Kumatani and mezzo-soprano Tabitha Fair, from the lush-sounding, major-key masterpiece that is “Bright Sound” to the Latin-inspired “I’m A Spy”; there’s also “Mad Space”, which plays with a very peculiar 7/8 time signature. There’s also a lot of industrial (“Rhythm And Balance”, “The Supernatural”), electronica (“Shut Up Faker”, “For True Story”, “Trespasser”), and classical orchestral music (“Black Noises”, “Strategy”, “Conquest”).

It’s a melting pot of sounds and influences, and it’s the album’s greatest flaw. There’s just so much going on that it becomes unassailable, over-produced nonsense after a while. The soundtrack is chockablock full of big production numbers. There aren’t a whole lot of toe-tappers in this soundtrack, save for a handful of really catchy tunes like hard-rocking “Live and Learn” or the blissful, nostalgic “Escape From The City”.

With that said, Sonic Adventure 2 does contain some really, really good tunes, some of the best in the series. Almost every song on here, even the mediocre ones, have something memorable and likable about them, be it the lush pop vibe on “Mission Street”, the incredibly peaceful “Chao Garden” (or it’s “Hero Garden” variation), the summery “Professor Omochao”, the flawless key changes in “Deep Inside Of”, or the unforgettable bridge of “The Supernatural”, wherein Everett Bradley descends into scatting that’s filtered to sound incredibly gritty and mysterious. There’s a good deal of awesome vocal numbers as well. “Believe in Myself” (Kaz Silver) is a snazzy melodic rock tune with a beautiful chorus (much better than the dire, slow-burning bore that was the SA1 version of the same song); the sexy “Fly In The Freedom” (Tabitha Fair) has some slick instrumentation that all comes together to create a very bright atmosphere; “Supporting Me” (Everett Bradley) is an industrial rock gem; the song, as a whole, is reminiscent of vague thoughts flying through your head, with its unintelligible vocals, thick distortion, and bass-heavy atmosphere.

There’s a lot of amazing musicianship going on in Sonic Adventure 2 – it is a triumph of musicianship, as point of fact – but as a complete package, it doesn’t work. To quote Emperor Joseph 2 from Amadeus (1984):

“My dear young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is ingenious; it's quality work. There are simply too many notes, that's all.”




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user ratings (31)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Gyromania (3.5)
a synthesis of different genres results in a notably disjointed album that surprisingly hits more th...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Killerhit
February 24th 2016


6016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I covered escape from the city at a party and it bugged me how well people knew it.



Also, the beat on this song is great



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRD0pz5NCx0

LotusFlower
February 24th 2016


12000 Comments


ROLLING AROUND AT THE SPEED OF SOUND

Killerhit
February 24th 2016


6016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

GOT PLACES TO GO

Angelboros
February 24th 2016


1357 Comments


GOTTA FOLLOW MY RAINBOW

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2016


16618 Comments


CAN'T STICK AROUND

Digging: Lianne La Havas - Lianne La Havas

Cygnatti
February 24th 2016


33400 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

GOTTA KEEP MOVIN' ON

ArsMoriendi
February 24th 2016


30497 Comments


Why did you review my childhood?

Digging: Robert Wyatt - Shleep

wtferrothorn
February 24th 2016


5849 Comments


GUESS WHAT LIES AHEAD ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT


ArsMoriendi
February 24th 2016


30497 Comments


Let's be honest though: Rouge's levels had the coolest music.

Killerhit
February 24th 2016


6016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

MUST KEEP ON MOVIN AHEAD

Log S.
February 24th 2016


3187 Comments


i gotta check out rouge's level music again, don't really remember those
from what i've heard recently, the knuckles levels had the best ost's

Killerhit
February 24th 2016


6016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The knuckles levels were fucking so terrible they were great



Rouge had probably the best music

ArsMoriendi
February 24th 2016


30497 Comments


All of Rouge's levels were big band spy music because fuck yes.

Log S.
February 24th 2016


3187 Comments


ah, listening to some of rouge's now
this is quite tite indeed

i do love knuckles's though, despite some potentially corny rapping & whatnot at parts, the music behind it was pretty hot

LotusFlower
February 24th 2016


12000 Comments


Soundtracks are like the only thing Sega hasnt managed to fuck up with Sonic Games*

* = Excluding Sonic Boom because its dead to me.

Gyromania
February 24th 2016


30216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

biolizard song is the best in the game imo

rufinthefury
February 24th 2016


3128 Comments


HANGIN ON THE EDGE OF TOMORRROOOOOOW

JigglyPDiddy
February 24th 2016


3721 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There was this ONE level that I think both Knuckles and Rouge got to in the game. It was one in space with a lot of meteorites and planets and lava and shit. The music in that level was fucking great. Especially the sampled vocal harmony. *orgasm*

rufinthefury
February 24th 2016


3128 Comments


Don't let it get your groove, move, don't let it get your groove.
or something like that.
yeah that level was Meteor Herd.

DinosaurJones
February 24th 2016


10289 Comments


Now I need to jam Escape from the City



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