How can anyone forget the magic that was 1999? After five long years, the western audience of Sonic the Hedgehog was finally going to get what they asked for. Through the turbulent Saturn years, there was only one thing anyone asked for – a new, proper Sonic game. And on 9/9/99 (9/14/99 for all you Europeans) the western world was able to get their hands on a game that had already received rave reviews when it was released in Japan…nine months previous. The wait was unbearable, but we had the Internet. We had the magazines. We had the previews. We had the faith that the glitches and bugs would be cleaned up for us.
And we had Sonic Underground.
Well, we didn’t exactly ask for Sonic Underground. Sure, the idea of a new Sonic cartoon was alluring, but hearing that it had nothing to do with the old shows? That Tails was missing? Sonic was a prince and had two siblings, and they were in a band with magical instruments? Dr. Robotnik was going to be a sheriff? That Jaleel White was going to voice all three, including the sister?! It had to be some cruel, sick joke DiC was playing on the fans.
One that ended up on UPN, that is.
Granted, they dropped the “Sheriff” title before they animated the series, but the rest of it was still a gigantic mess. Never knowing what it wanted to be, Sonic Underground was torn between the early 90’s ideal of Sonic and the modern sensibilities the Adventure games were about to introduce, dooming the show before the first episode aired. Having 40 episodes produced in all, it let the series squeak by into syndication. Just enough to give the world one “rockin'” soundtrack.
Which is why Sonic Retro is proud to present “The Top Ten Worst (and Therefore Best) Sonic Underground Songs!” Crank up those speakers, and prepare to “Peanut Butter and Jam” with the best of ’em!
Now the “premise” of the show was that Sonic the Hedgehog, his brother Manic and sister Sonia were heirs to the royal throne, separated at birth as their mother went into hiding, unable to yet stop the evil desires of Dr. Robotnik. Once they reached those teenage years, the trio were alerted to the other’s existence, and banded together to stop Robotnik until the day they could reunite with their mother and fulfill some prophecy to take back the kingdom. Why they needed to wait to meet her, I have no idea. But that’s not the point! The point is that they were in a rock band! And that their secret, covert operations were witnessed by millions of screaming fans! If Amy Rose was in this show, she would have thrown her panties at Sonic a million times over!
So if you’ve ever wondered why Dr. Robotnik always wanted to ban music from Mobius, well…
10) “I Can Do That For You” from Episode 26 – Six is a Crowd
And so we begin, with a quite generic song. I’m not going to lie, most of the songs during the course of the series were generic. Remember, it wasn’t The Beatles who wrote these (no matter how badly you wanted to hear Dr. Robotnik belt out “I am the Walrus”). And most of the songs tried to have a moral in them, to both have the plot move on and teach children. Kinda like the “Sonic Sez” segments of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog but without the charm. I guess the moral here is that your friends can help you out or something…Sonic can feed you, Manic will steal money from rich people for you, and Sonia will dress you. Like a girl. Even if you aren’t one.
But who cares about that. The reason the video is here because of Dr. Robotnik’s sweet dance moves. Shake that money maker!
9) “Face your Fear” from Episode 9 – The Deepest Fear
To give the show credit, not every song was generic glamrock (ya hear that, Jun Senoue?) but when they decided to experiment, we got songs like this. Sonic’s brief time working in Vaudeville is celebrated here, conveniently ignoring Team Sonic’s failed attempt at usurping The Three Stooges. But maybe I’m ignoring the subtleties of the song. It is used in an episode that plays on Sonic’s inability to swim (which the other shows had ignored). And Sonic’s design was based on 1920’s cartoon icons like Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse. So maybe they were being clever!…or maybe I’m giving this episode too much credit. Better move on.
8) “Society Girl” from Episode 12 – Come Out Wherever You Are
Sonia is a Material Gir-oh, right. Society Girl. Don’t want to get sued here. Yes, Sonia may have grown up as a “Society Girl,” but being part of an underground rebellion kinda kills your chances for dating Antoine D’Coolette rejects. I never thought there’d be a show which makes me miss Sally Acorn…heck, even Amy Rose at her most girly isn’t this awful. And if you’re wondering, no, you’re not having a seizure at the end of the video. But you’ll wish you were once we’re done.
7) “Mummy Wrap” from Episode 24 – Mummy Dearest
You know what was missing from the Sonic franchise? Egyptian rap. Why does Knuckles always get the rap songs in the games? Here Sonic gets the chance to show off his “rhymin’ skillz” to a dead hedgehog pharaoh that looks just like him. I’m sure the episode has a fantastic explanation for this, but that would require me to watch the episode. But I doubt it would tell me why Sonia is able to break the laws of physics and turn into a two-dimensional figure for the song.
Oh, and they are Sonic. Sonic Underground.
6) “Fun in the Sun” Episode 35 – The Big Melt
So what do you do when you’re leading an underground resistance that is always on the verge of being discovered, putting your life in danger at every moment? Why, go on vacation! Obviously inspired by the Beach Boys, the video quickly devolves into a celebration of sibling love. After all, who doesn’t try to eat their sister’s head out of an ice cream cone? Or her maracas. Ice cream maracas. Right before they turn into hotdogs. I wish I was making this up.
But I think we know why this show was made – so the animators could put Sonia into a bathing suit. You know they had to have fun drawing her odd little dance. Way, way too much fun. If this wasn’t a family show…
5) “No One is an Island” from Episode 27 – Flying Fortress
Hey, remember when everyone thought Knuckles was Jamaican because he had dreadlocks? This song does for some reason. Too bad our favorite Echidna doesn’t have the accent to go along with it. But what I find incredibly unsettling is the way Sonic and his siblings treat him. One of the running gags in the series is that Knuckles hates the music Sonic Underground plays (is this why Knuckles is a fan favorite?). And in an attempt to make him less of a loner, they sing to him. Badly. But I doubt it is the song that shows him the light to put the moves on Sonia. No, it’s the fact they keep on appearing wherever he runs away, including when he looks into a old tree trunk. If that isn’t creepy enough to scare someone into being your friend, what is?
4) “Lady Liberty” from Episode 39 – The Pendant
“Lady Liberty is a Mobiun at heart.” Of course, it all makes sense now. It was the Acorn Kingdom that sent over the Statue of Liberty, not France! It was Yasuhara who led the ragged troops across the Delaware to fight off Nintendo! It was Ken Penders that shot JFK! To be honest, I’m surprised they didn’t make the torch Liberty holds a chili dog. Though the last frame makes me feel uncomfortable…why is Sonic looking at me like that oh god what.
3) “The Cosmic Dance” from Episode 21 – The Jewel in the Crown
Hey, remember when I said The Beatles didn’t write any songs for this show? Well that didn’t change. I don’t know how much acid I would have to drop for this to make sense, but the sitar tells me I must. And the hourglass effect. It definitely doesn’t obscure the fact Sonic and Manic must be high, the way they’re looking at Sonia dancing. Oh, and thank you song for your wonderful MC Hammer reference. We love you too.
And once again the animators prove just how hot they think Sonia is. We get it, you probably drew naked pictures of her all day. Doesn’t make the fact Steve Urkel voiced her any less creepy.
2) “Teach The Children, Light The Way” from Episode 8 – Tangled Webs
Jesus Christ almighty. When a song begins with children laughing, you know you’re in for a treat. Especially when the first line Soinc sings sounds like he wants to invite those kids backstage to hang out with him after the show. And why does Sonic eat that little girl’s flower? Is there something this song is trying to tell us? Is it a coincidence this sounds like a Michael Jackson song?
But if you thought just one song about kids was enough…
1) “Being a Kid is Cool” from Episode 22 – Three Hedgehogs and a Baby
…I…I wish I could say something. I really do. Like how Sonic’s eyes are bleeding when he’s playing baseball. How none of them should be celebrating childhood since Dr. Robotnik took away their chance at a normal one. How Manic never had a mother to hide from. But…my God, I can’t get that image of the baby hedgehog out of my head. Just look at him. LOOK AT HIM. That is not natural. I don’t even remember how bad this song was. I don’t even remember what any of the songs were now. This is not what I signed up for.
And there you have it. Ten of the worst (I mean best) Sonic Underground songs ever to reach our eardrums. But being only a list of ten means that thirty other wonderful songs don’t get their due here, including the one where Manic’s hair turns into birds, Sonic attempts to get funky, and Sonia’s touching ballad. But you can’t just ignore the band’s brief punk period, or the only song not sung by the three hedgehogs. And this song…well, it will get stuck in your head for days. Isn’t that right, Knuckles?