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Now don't you worry
It's a never-ending story
Stand proud, let it out
Let 'em know
Let it show until they hear
Hear the Sonic Youth!
"Sonic Youth"note  by Crush 40

Crush 40 is a Japanese-American Hard Rock duo known for its contributions to the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series, starting with Sonic Adventure.

The duo consists of guitarist Jun Senoue, a composer at Sega who previously worked on such titles as Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition, Sonic 3D Blast, and Victory Goal, and singer Johnny Gioeli, frontman of Hardline and vocalist for Axel Rudi Pell.

Their style generally falls under melodic rock, combining uplifting, empowering vocals with soaring guitar riffs and intense solos. Senoue cites many famous 80s rock bands as influences for Crush 40's sound.

The duo first teamed up to record "Open Your Heart", the ending theme of Sonic Adventure, credited under their own names; Crush 40 as we know it only came together to record the soundtrack to NASCAR Arcade (a spiritual sequel to the aforementioned Daytona USA) as Sons of Angels, released on their first album Thrill of the Feel. Right after the game's release, the Swedish metal band Sons of Angels reunited, and Senoue and Gioeli changed their group's name with a combination of Jun's favorite soda and Johnny's favorite number.

Next, they appeared on the soundtrack to Sonic Adventure 2, with their Signature Song "Live and Learn", and provided two original songs each for the two games after thatnote . After this time, their output has been mostly restricted to covers, with the primary exceptions of 2009's Sonic and the Black Knight (which featured five new songs, one of which had guest vocals by All Endsnote ) and 2019's Team Sonic Racing (which featured another new song, "Green Light Ride").

Though Crush 40 did not record any new material for Sonic Generations, many of their previous songs appear in the game; the remix of "Open Your Heart" used there features electro house duo Circuit Freq. They have also recorded their own rendition of Sonic the Hedgehog CD's North American theme tune "Sonic Boom", featuring Synth-Pop group Cash Cash.

In 2009, they released a Greatest Hits Album, collecting remasters of their previously released songs and a few exclusives, such as covers of "Un-gravitify" from Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and The Cult's perennial hit "Fire Woman", plus the original song "Is It You". A second collection album, Driving Through Forever, was released in 2019.

They've performed least three times in the UK's Summer of Sonic festival. In 2011, they performed at the Sonic Boom E3 event in Los Angeles with Cash Cash. In July that year, they played their first full show in Tokyo, this time including such Hardline songs as "Hot Cherie", "Love Leads the Way" and "Everything". They also debuted the original "Song of Hope", released as a charity single for those affected by that year's tsunami in Japan.

Ever since then, they've branched out to more original fare, with the Rise Again and 2 Nights 2 Remember EPs. They also made appearances at the Sega 60th Anniversary Live concert in 2020 and the Sonic 30th Anniversary Symphony in 2021.

Since 2015, Jun Senoue has performed without Johnny Gioeli as "Sonic Adventure Music Experience", along with his usual bassist Takeshi Taneda and drummer Akht. Meanwhile, Gioeli has occasionally made guest appearances for other artists, recording vocals for The Chalkeaters' fan song celebrating Sonic's 30th anniversary, "Crushing Thirties", and a cover of "Fastest Thing Alive" from Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM). He also performed vocals for ""Surfing on the Lava", a song featured in the game Jitsu Squad, appropriately enough as the background score of a Lava Surfing stage.

Discography


Tropes that apply to Crush 40 include:

  • Arc Words: "I Am (All of Me)" has two of note, the most obvious being the "one step forward, two steps back" metaphor also used by "Never Turn Back" in the same game. The second is with "What I'm Made Of", with the former's use of this line,  as a Call-Back to this line,  from the latter.
  • 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.
    • The "Massive Power" version of "With Me", where Johnny is the lead singer instead of All Ends, is much heavier than the original.
  • 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".
  • 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 Mashup: Their cover of "His World". It mixes elements of Symphonic Metal, Hard Rock, and Rap Rock, and ends with a random piano solo.
  • Genre Roulette: Thanks to the band's nature,note  the easiest genre to label them as is "rock" in general.
    • "Sonic Heroes" is so upbeat it borders on Pop Punk, while the Darker and Edgier "What I'm Made Of..." isn't far from a slower Iron Maiden song.
    • "I Am... All of Me" is an aggressive Alternative Metal song straight out of the early 2000s; "Never Turn Back" is classic Hard Rock.
    • "Knight of the Wind" is symphonic rock with a prominent violin riff, "Live Life" is a power ballad and "Through the Fire" is so heavy and grungy it wouldn't sound out of place with one of Johnny's other bands.
  • 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.
  • 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). That said, Takeshi Taneda has been their official bassist since 2001, while Akht. became their official drummer in 2015.
  • "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 is kid-friendly.
  • List Song: "Sonic Youth", outside the chorus.
  • 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.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "One of Those Days" seems to be about having a bad day.
  • Parody Assistance: Gioeli himself did the vocals for The Chalkeaters' Sonic the Hedgehog parody song "Crushing Thirties", which is itself an upbeat rock piece styled after Crush 40's other songs for the franchise, only with a cynical undertone commenting on Sonic's miserable life going into adulthood.
  • Precision F-Strike: During the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th anniversary performance, Johnny segued 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."
  • Unplugged Version: They did an acoustic version of "Live and Learn" for the 30th anniversary of the series, which naturally has a more downtempo feeling compared to the original.
  • 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.
  • Wild Card: "I Am... All of Me" is sung from the POV of one.

 
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