Music / Crush 40
"Now don't you worry
It's a never-ending story"
—"Sonic Youth"note  by Crush 40

Crush 40 (formerly Sons of Angels) is a Japanese-American Hard Rock duo. Best known for their work on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series beginning with Sonic Adventure, Crush 40 consists of Jun Senoue, guitarist and composer who previously worked on Daytona USA, Victory Goal and numerous other Sega franchises, and Johnny Gioeli, the frontman of Hardline and vocalist for Axel Rudi Pell.

Their style has generally fallen under the Melodic Rock umbrella, combining uplifting, self-empowering vocals with soaring rock riffs and intense solos. They often use elements of Hard Rock, and guitarist/songwriter Jun Senoue cites many famous rock bands of the 80's as big influences for the group's sound.

They first teamed up to perform the opening theme song "Open Your Heart" for Sonic Adventure, then came back together under the moniker 'Sons of Angels' to record the soundtrack for the game NASCAR Arcade, which were all released on their first album, Thrill of the Feel. Soon after the game was released however, the Swedish metal band 'Sons of Angels' reunited, so Jun and Johnny changed their group name to 'Crush 40', combining the name Jun's favorite soda and Johnny's favorite number. Thrill of the Feel's European release, which came out after the name change, was simply known as Crush 40.

They next appeared on the soundtrack of Sonic Adventure 2, providing their Signature Song "Live and Learn". They provided two original songs for the next two games in the Sonic series, Sonic Heroesnote  and Shadow the Hedgehognote . They appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), recording a cover of fellow hard rock band Magna Fi's "All Hail Shadow" (featured in Shadow the Hedgehog) and covered Punk Rock/Punk Rap band Zebrahead's theme song "His World". They wrote four songs for Sonic and the Black Knight, as well as later doing a cover of All Ends "With Me", the games final boss music, and providing an in-game unlock-able cover of Steve Conte's "Seven Rings in Hand", the main theme of Sonic and the Secret Rings. They also wrote the theme song "Free" for Sonic Free Riders, and performed their own version which was included on the game's soundtrack. Many of their previous songs appear in Sonic Generations, and they have also recorded their own version of the North American Sonic the Hedgehog CD theme song "Sonic Boom", collaborating with Synth Pop group Cash Cash. They also collaborated with electro house/techno artist Circuit Freq on a remix of "Open Your Heart" used in Sonic Generations.

They have released three albums: Sons of Angels, the NASCAR Arcade soundtrack; the self-titled Crush 40, which is a repackaged version of Sons of Angels with the instrumental tracks removed and two new bonus songs; and The Best of Crush 40 Super Sonic Songs, a Greatest Hits Album, collecting songs from previous game appearances and providing a few new exclusives, such as covers of Un-gravitify from Zero Gravity and The Cult's perennial hit Fire Woman, as well a new original song titled Is It You. Several other songs were also remastered for the album's release.

In 2010, they performed at the Summer of Sonic event in London. In 2011, they performed live at the Sonic Boom event at E3 in Los Angeles in collaboration with Cash Cash. In July 2011, they performed their first full concert in Tokyo, featuring mainly Sonic material but also including covers of songs from Johnny Gioeli's previous band Hardline, including Hot Cherie, Love Leads the Way, and Everything. They also debuted a new original composition, Song of Hope, a charity single for those affected by the Japanese tsunami earlier that year. Once again, in 2012 they performed at the Summer of Sonic event in Brighton.

Plenty of Crush 40's old material appeared as unlock-able music tracks in Sonic Generations. However, while Jun Senoue returned to create a large portion of the game's modern styled remixes, Crush 40 didn't make any new songs for the game nor remix any of their old songs themselves. In 2012 they released a 4-track EP titled Rise Again, comprised of 3 new original tracks as well as the aforementioned Song of Hope.

Three years later, in 2015, they released a new album titled 2 Nights 2 Remember, featuring 4 new original songs and a slightly edited-down concert recording from March 30, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan.

Tropes that apply to Crush 40 include:

  • Alternative Metal: "I Am (All of Me)" is this with a bit of an Industrial influence. "With Me (Massive Power Mix)" is a more straight variation of this
  • Anti-Hero/Wild Card: "I Am (All of Me)" is sung from the POV of one.
  • Arc Words: "I am (All of Me)" and "Never Turn Back" have the line "One step forward, two steps back" in their lyrics.
  • Call Back: Sonic Youth, one of their newest songs, references old Crush 40 songs in the lyrics.
    • This line,  from I Am (All of Me) is a reference to this line,  from What I'm Made Of.
    • "I Am (All of Me)" and "Never Turn Back" both mention the "one step forward, two steps back" metaphor.
  • Cover Version: Tons. Some of their more notable ones are their cover of All Hail Shadow by Magna Fi (their first cover) and their live cover of Hardline's Hot Cherie, which in itself was a huge case of Covered Up.
    • The Cover Changes the Meaning: Their cover of Zebrahead's His World. Originally, it was a fast paced Punk Rap song with rebellious and carefree lyrics that perfectly fit Sonic. Crush 40's version was slower paced, and had a more epic feel to it. Its lyrics were mysterious and weighty and more befit Shadow.
      • Their cover of All End's With Me is much heavier than the original. The tone of the lyrics would also suit Metal Sonic fairly well.
  • Darker and Edgier: "I Am (All Of Me)" and "With Me", downtuned Alternative Metal songs compared to their usual anthemic Hard Rock sound.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Open Your Heart is to be about someone in the middle of such a situation and trying to avert it.
  • Genre Roulette: Due to the band's naturenote , the only consistent genre you could label them as is Rock in general. They have played a wide variety of rock styles. This is fairly evident especially in games that feature more than one song of theirs. "Sonic Heroes" is a very upbeat and extremely poppy song, with elements of Pop Punk, whereas "What I'm made of is much darker and heavier, and doesn't sound a million miles away from a slower Iron Maiden song. "I Am (All of Me)" is an aggressive early 2000's style Alternative Metal song, where "Never Turn Back" is a more laid back,classic styled Hard Rock song. "Knight of the Wind" is sort of Symphonic Rock influenced, with "Live Life" being somewhat of a ballad reprise of it, but the song "Through the Fire" is an edgy Metal song, and wouldn't sound out of place with Johnny's other band, Axel Rudi Pell. The only consistent element throughout all their music is is that it's generally anthemic and melodic.
  • Gratuitous Panning: Their cover of "All Hail Shadow" does this a lot with the guitar parts. During the verses, the prechorus, and the chorus for example, there are two different guitar parts playing at the same time (one on each side). Also, the guitar solo begins with a simple melody on the left side, followed by a similar melody on the right side before going to the middle for the rest of the solo.
  • Hard Rock: One of their more prominently featured sounds. "Watch Me Fly", "Revvin Up", "Dangerous Ground", "Live and Learn", "Fire Woman", and "Never Turn Back" are probably their straightest examples of this style
  • Hot-Blooded: Many of their songs would not sound out of place in a Super Robot anime.
  • I Am the Band: Jun and Johnny are the only permanent members, with various people providing other instruments ("Sonic Heroes" and "What I'm Made Of..." had different drummers from each other, for example). (The two are prominently featured on the album art for the singles "Rise Again," "One of Those Days," and "Sonic Youth.")
  • "I Am" Song: Most of their songs, actually. Most notably I Am (All of Me).
  • Industrial Metal: I Am (All of Me) has elements of this.
  • Intercourse with You: Their cover of Fire Woman by The Cult, and Hot Cherie, by Hardline. Which is really odd, considering the franchise the band is normally associated with.
  • Market-Based Title: Again, Crush 40's name change from Thrill of the Feel. (Of course, the name change was justified with the band changing its name as well.)
  • Metal Scream: The version of "Open Your Heart" on The Best of Crush 40: Super Sonic Songs adds a loud "AAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL RIGHT!" to the intro. The version used for Sonic Adventure and the remix with Circuit Freq in Sonic Generations do not have this.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Usually about a five ( "His World", "Watch Me Fly", or "Sonic Boom"), or a six (("Live And Learn","What I'm Made Of", and "Fire Woman") and higher on rare occasions ("I Am (All Of Me)" ,"With Me (Massive Power Mix)" and "Through the Fire") or lower ("Is It You", "Live Life")
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "One of Those Days" seems to be about having a bad day.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Their cover of His World. It mixes elements of Symphonic Metal, Hard Rock, and Rap Rock, and ends with a random piano solo.
  • Precision F-Strike: During the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th anniversary performance, Johnny segwayed from "One Of Those Days" to "I Am" by singing "one of those... shitty days".
  • Rap Rock: Their cover of "His World" features Johnny rapping, something that he doesn't do in any other song.
  • Shout-Out: "Sonic Youth" is one big shout out to the Sonic the Hedgehog series and its fans. (This was made clear when Johnny pointed this out when the duo performed it at a Sonic Boom convention.)
  • Title Drop: In Sonic Youth, a song which has many a Call Back to previous Sonic songs they had written, also drops the line "Crushing 40 all the time."
  • Villain Song: "With Me" is this for sure. "What I'm Made Of" could be this, but it depends on interpretation. "I Am (All of Me)" zigzags this trope.