I always remember both Sonic Adventure titles being among the first games I played that I got emotionally attached to. Yes they were corny as hell and even when I was a kid I cringed at some of the stupider moments (that’s code for “anything involving Amy Rose”) but both games exuded a type of emotion and passion that we rarely see anymore, and as I said when I reviewed it, I’m almost willing to say that it would have been a worse game if it had better writing.
Kids don’t usually notice flaws in writing, but they can sense emotion and passion, and Sonic Adventure was a game that exuded serious passion with its story. Unlike Mario whose 3D entries had little story involved, the 3D Sonic games did involve stories. While the writing and voice acting was corny as hell, it also had such charm and sincerity that I looked past it as a child and still can today. Partially I say this because there still has not been any game that made me feel quite the same as the Sonic Adventure titles, and I actually had trouble getting into Sonic Colors because of it (and because I actually didn’t dislike any of the 3D titles at that point except for Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic and the Black Knight, no I haven’t played Sonic 06 btw) and it’s partially why I have yet to play Generations or Lost World.
Sonic Adventure has one of my favorite soundtracks in gaming to, as I have demonstrated a while back while speaking of the emerald coast themes. Not only do all of the area and level themes sound fantastic, but most of the major characters have their own theme song complete with vocals and lyrics. Of these, my favorite is easily Sonic’s theme, “It Doesn’t Matter.”
This song perfectly captures the essence of Sonic’s characters not just on a technical level, but also on an emotional level. I am not going to lie, this song legit gets me choked up despite the upbeat and “totally 90s!” cheese of it, or possibly even because of it. It did when I played it as a child and it does even today. The sheer amount of passion and sincerity put into it despite the corniness of the game’s actual content just makes it all the more meaningful, and gives off the impression of someone who won’t let anyone stop them even if they are mocked for it, even if that was never the intention..
Those high vocal notes are what really demonstrate the passion of this song and the youthful energy that encompasses Sonic’s character. While the use of the guitars and the melody are not all that unique composition wise, they compliment the vocals so well. And then there are the lyrics. I have not actually looked up the lyrics to this song until a few days ago, and I was surprised to find out that they not only fit Sonic’s character perfectly, but they also felt very relatable to myself on a personal level. The only video game song I can name that makes me feel the same way is “Weight of the World” from NieR Automata, and it really takes a lot for me to give that comparison. Considering that Guardian Acorn is first and foremost a personal blog, I decided that I will in fact elaborate on the specific lines that speak to me and how.
Well, I don’t show off, don’t criticize
I’m just livin’ by my own feelings
And I won’t give in, won’t compromise
I just only have a steadfast heart of gold
I will admit, I have a hard time understanding what the first line means in the context of Sonic’s character or how anyone can relate, but this first stanza does provide a clear intention; to paint Sonic as your archetypal hero, your “knight in shining armor” type with a heart of gold who fights for what is right without compromise, and does not let anyone tell them otherwise. I would be lying if I said that I did not also have strong values and wish to do whatever I can to help others, but the connection goes beyond that.
This song is clearly trying to paint Sonic as a positive role model for kids; as someone to look up to, IE the ideal person that everyone should strive to be. It is amazing how many of us as kids look up to the heroes in games, TV, or movies and want to be just like them, but we grow up to be more cynical, jaded, and pessimistic; thinking that such ideals are foolish and impossible. Maybe it is just because I have played too many games, but I feel as though I am trying my hardest to help whoever I can… even if I can only do so much. Hell, my feelings on that probably deserve a whole other article.
I don’t know why, I can’t leave though it might be tough
But I ain’t out of control, just livin’ by my word
Don’t ask me why, I don’t need a reason
I got my way, my own way
That first line is what specifically stands out to me. Sonic does not know why, but feels as if he can’t quit fighting for justice and his ideals; not that it’s his choice. Yet he also wants you to know that he would not have it any other way and that he does not need a reason or an alibi to put himself at risk; it’s just the way he is. As for myself, I feel similar although on a lesser scale. As cringe worthy as it may sound, I seem to be drawn to social activism less so out of personal enjoyment and more so out of the faint thought that I can make some kind of difference in the end. Even though it seems futile and like there is little chance of me doing anything of worth, I just can’t quit, and I don’t know why. I feel as though I have to do this if even one person’s life is improved.
- It doesn’t matter now what happens I will never give up the fight
- There is no way I will run away from all of my frights
- Long as the voice inside me says go, I will always keep on running
- There is no way to stop me from going to the very top
- It doesn’t matter who is wrong or who is right
Worth note was that until looking it up, I always thought that second line was “all of my pride” and not “all of my frights,” as if Sonic’s pride would not let him give up and he would feel worse if he did. But having that final word being frights, despite being an awkward word choice, does imply that Sonic IS in fact scared and fearful of his opponents. It’s not that he isn’t afraid, but that he is brave enough to face his fears head on, which is ultimately even stronger. Also worth noting that in this case “running” is used metaphorically to mean “pushing forward” given that it’s Sonic’s signature trait, and not that he’s running from battle.
Additionally, nothing’s going to stop him from going to the very top, as in achieving success. I can’t help but feel that this line is meant to connect more with the listener considering that in the context of the game, Sonic is pretty much already at the top, while someone in my position will find that it inspires them to get to the top at any cost. Then there is that last line, stating that he doesn’t follow anyone else’s standards of what is right or wrong, and will decide that all on his own.
- Well, I won’t look back, I don’t need to
- Time won’t wait and I got so much to do
- Where do I stop, it’s all a blur and so unclear
- Well, I don’t know but I can’t be wrong
These are probably among the most poignant lyrics of the song. These lyrics seem to speak more so to the nature of life in general rather than Sonic’s personality. A lot happens throughout one’s entire lifetime, and there is always something that is going on. It’s not like a video game where you can go back and experience everything again after you finish it. Whatever happens, happens, and you got to keep looking forward. If you spend too much time looking back at what could have been, you won’t be prepared for the future and will waste the present as well.
The line about “it’s all a blur and so unclear” is almost ironic considering that a common nickname for Sonic is “the blue blur,” yet this line speaks of how whenever someone is doing anything of significance, they will never know for certain if it’s the right thing or not, or how this will affect them in the long run. And that last line, it speaks on a feeling of simultaneous certainty and uncertainty. One may be certain at the time of making a decision, but you never know when something you never expected could pop up, and there is only one way to find out.
- This fight is not for anybody, this is purely for myself
- There is no way I’m gonna give up ’til the very end
- I can’t tell what is wrong and what is right, I’ve got to find the answer
- But until I do, there’s no way I will ever give up
- Place all your bets on the one you think is right
This stanza is sung to the same tune as the chorus (that being the 3rd stanza) and it is sung so strongly that I didn’t even notice that it doesn’t even rhyme yet it still just kinda works. Anyway, these lines pretty much expand upon what I said in the last paragraph. The first one states that Sonic is not under anyone’s command and these are entirely his own. I am not entirely clear what this last line means. I would guess that it’s meant to say that Sonic is more likely to have the right idea than his opponents would and that he is the one to look up to, just to get back on the whole “role model” subject. After this, the chorus repeats one more time except in a higher key and thus a more triumphant vibe.
Well anyway, i think that about sums it up. I found it surprising that there was this amount of depth to a song in such an amateurishly written game. But then again, this type of passion and energy is what the Sonic series is all about. I will say that I am specifically making this article about the Sonic Adventure 1 version as I honestly prefer this to the Sonic Adventure 2 rendition. Granted, the latter is awesome and I will likely have a future Amazing VGM entry on it and its remixes such as the one from Sonic and the Black Knight and the RMX 2.014k remix, but I’ve done enough for this one.
Oh, and Sonic Generations featured this track to apparently. Yeah, I still need to play it. Also Sonic Forces looks pretty fucking lit.
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