Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s ongoing hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today we’re going to enjoy a song that rocks much harder than the 2007 side-story it sprang from, Sonic and the Secret Rings. No wait, come back.
Part of what’s now called the Storybook Series alongside 2009’s Sonic and the Black Knight, Sonic and the Secret Rings (playlist / longplay / VGMdb) is a very silly game. The titular hedgehog falls asleep while reading the classic tale Arabian Knights, only to be awakened by a djinn seeking his help in order to save the story from being erased by the vengeful Erazor Djinn. As the story progresses Sonic runs into old friends posing as legendary heroes. Tails is Ali Baba. Knuckles is Sinbad the Sailor. Also, Sonic earns experience levels and unlocks new skills. I don’t know which part of all of that is sillier.
What’s not silly, however, is Sonic and the Secret Rings’ soundtrack. Composed by a team of Sonic regulars and the lady who composed Bomberman(!), the music for this unique Sonic game combines the series’ signature guitar rock with Middle Eastern music inspired by the Arabian Knights theme. One of my favorite tracks from the OST is “Let the Speed Mend It,” a bizarre collection of exotic instruments, rock, chanting, and rap. It gets a bit busy, but all the components work really well together.
Sega / DeoxysPrime (YouTube)
That’s the signature sound of Sonic and the Secret Rings, but it’s not the song fans think of when remembering the game. That honor goes to “Seven Rings in Hand.” The game’s opening theme is more straight-up rock than anything on the soundtrack, with vocals wailed triumphantly by Steve Conte, former guitarist for the New York Dolls and frequent contributor to anime soundtracks including Wolf’s Rain and Cowboy Bebop. No song gets you ready to be let down by a game like “Seven Rings in Hand.”
Sega / DeoxysPrime (YouTube)
The guitar is driving. The echoes of the chorus are mystifying. The lyrics, though somewhat cryptic, are of the say-what-the-game-does school of video game song writing.
Myths in mind re-thought
Question all that’s known
Legends blurred and torn
We’re gonna rewrite some ancient stories, y’all.
No such thing as fate for those who speed
A path out of time instead of just livin’ it
So many things erased before they begin
Hopes un-dream instead of what could have been
Sonic is not bound by fate, so he can stop the villain, who is also somehow not bound by fate and is trying to erase it.
Is it cheesy rock? Yes, the cheesiest. Yet somehow “Seven Rings in Hand” has made itself the official Sonic the Hedgehog theme song in my head. When a new game is announced it starts playing up there. I have no control over it. I take comfort in the fact that I cannot be alone. After all, the song was used in both Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. Wii U as Sonic’s stage music. I love this stupid song.
Sometimes good things come from bad games, something to ponder as we slide into the discussion portion of our Morning Music. Let’s hear about good games with bad music, bad games with good music, or just what you’ve got planned for the weekend in the comments below.