ReMix: Sonic the Hedgehog 3 "SZRC Anthem (Busiest Days of My Life)"

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Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Every epic mixflood needs at least one track that's a little on the goofy side of things... Flexstyle obliges with this vocal punk-pop take on the Ice Cap & Aquatic Ruin zones wherein he primarily expresses, well... how much he enjoys his FL Studio :) OverClocked University (Stevo, OA, Deia, in this case) chipped in with instrumental assists, and the lyrics are a direct homage/reference to The Jetzons' "Hard Times" - the 1982 synthpop jam that was repurposed for the Sega Genesis into the infamous "Ice Cap Zone" theme:

"So, this was my losing track in the Sonic Zone Remix Competition 2014, but it's also the one I'm most proud of at this point. Stevo (Level 99), Andrew (OA), and Deia (DragonAvenger) all pitched in and got me some excellent instrumental tracks in the span of about three days on incredibly short notice, and they all ROCKED this track. Stevo, in particular, REALLY brought the heat with multiple layers of rhythm AND clean guitars. The vocals are done by yours truly using a crummy Sennheiser e 815 handheld mic - which is good for live vocals and not much else - SO MUCH VOCAL EQ. Didn't even bother to use a stand or a pop filter or anything while recording, because screw you, mate. (That's the punk rock attitude, right?) :-P

I deliberately chose the Ice Cap Zone theme for this competition, because I wanted to see what I could bring to an "overused" source tune. Just had to have a bit of a challenge. Well, I'm pretty sure nobody's done a punk rock spoof of the Jetzons before! The lyrics are a bit "referential," so basically the story is that I did this song during midterms/finals (for one class) week in my final semester of school. Since I also work on the days I'm not in school, I don't usually have a lot of time to work on music, hence this ode to FL Studio. Growing up is serious business, yo!

Anyways. I'm aware of a couple flaws in the vocal mixing 'n such, but I wanted to let this be since it's the first time I've done this genre. Okay, you guys, here is one with less compression, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? I'll have something even more polished the next time, hopefully!"

The entire mix does make a little more sense if you're familiar with "Hard Times" - DiGi Valentine filled us in on the forums:

"The story goes like this:

  • Brad Buxer was the keyboardist from a New Wave band called The Jetzons.
  • This is their unreleased track, called Hard Times.
  • Now, those who have done their homework will know Brad Buxer also contributed music to Sonic 3 ...he should be in the credits for the game, even.
  • What people believe happened is that an unreleased track from The Jetzons winds it way in to the hands of MJ, who had been working on Sonic 3's music at the time. Boom! Instant level music for Ice Cap zone.

This ....this is insaaaane! And unbelievably mind blowing.

Just figured the vgm community would dig this little find. All credits go to Sonic Retro for digging this one up."

The More You Know!™ There ARE probably other, undiscovered VGM tracks out there, classics or otherwise, that were repurposed from existing material and which may eventually come to light - it's not all that surprising. This is such a high profile case though, and such a staple of the VGM fan arrangement scene, that it IS kinda mind-blowing, at least for those of us who have been listening to Ice Cap mixes for the last decade-and-a-half. Fortunately, our standards stipulate that we consider "video game music" to be as follows:

"The music must have been composed specifically for the game or first published (or recognized) as the game's soundtrack."

I know DarkeSword's a fan of the Jetzons' original as he was playing it at ConnectiCon while we were driving around looking for a parking spot:

"Love the Hard Times reference! Can't not love this. Super awesome arrangement, great use of both sources, killer performances all around. Love it."

These aren't super-mega-pro vocals, and Larry was very specific (and spot-on) in isolating the descending "studiiii-o" pitches as being the most problematic. Thing is, a 100% pitch-perfect vocal wasn't really gonna make or break this type of mix in the first place; it's unabashedly goofy and, from a certain perspective, filled with product placements and/or DAW fanboyism, in the best possible way. A bit of a scene in-joke that MAY not resonate with those less acquainted, I still think most should be able to get into the spirit, and the nod to "Ice Cap"'s recently-unearthed origins makes for a nice twist!


Discussion: Latest 10 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2015-12-29 14:17:49

This one is super nice, I love the original sources (especially Aquatic Ruins) and it's cool to hear Flex sing! The OCU performances are great as well. The lyrics are a little repetitive and stupid, but it wasn't a problem to me. Solid production and lots of fun. Nice job! :)

on 2014-12-19 15:19:20

Haha, what an awesome song! I clearly hear some little differences between this one and SZRC version. But screw it! Who doesn't like powerful, driving songs like this one? And that moment at 1:52 is fucking awesome! This is not usual Flexstyle, but still a freakin' good one. Oh, there's OCU. Well, that's even better!

on 2014-12-18 20:26:22
It's clear as day bro, Mike is joking

Whoops. The picture didn't load or I didn't notice it when I first saw his reply. In that case, good one.

on 2014-12-18 20:15:33

It's clear as day bro, Mike is joking

on 2014-12-18 19:25:59
screw you mate it's punk rock


It's obvious that you didn't read my constructive reply. I'll say it again in case you didn't notice; I love OCR's vocal offerings and I can list you bunch of vocal remixes which are way superior. The Ken Song is an example of one of the oldies but still a way better track. Hale's Bopp's Summertime is also a good one. While both of those are rock tracks, they do have some punk in them. Both have way better vocals.

I'm sorry, but scoffing the obvious vocal shortcomings as punk rock is a straw man's argument. Punk doesn't mean that it needs to be underdeveloped and subpar. I'm not faulting you for liking this track since musical tastes are subjective, but that doesn't mean that we can't constructively critique its flaws. There's a huge gap in production between the awesome backing track and bad vocals which is very distracting to me. If you want true punk, the whole track needs to have that garage sound, which is not the case here.

on 2014-12-18 12:00:40
such vocal h8 wow

screw you mate it's punk rock


OverClocked PodCast
on 2014-12-17 17:52:48

Haha, this is one heck of a niche, and I just barely squeeze through the gates of comprehension! The weird, self-referential lyrics and Jetzons tie-in are good fun, but I can't say I much dig the end product. The vocals were just too flat for me to really find a groove, and despite some nifty guitar work here and there, the song didn't go anywhere very interesting.

But simply as a fun, silly idea for a contest? I'm on board, folks! :D

on 2014-12-17 16:43:14

As much as I love the instrumental track, the vocals are very much so that they practically ruin the mood that this remix is going for. It's one of the few times I felt turned off by the track due to the subpar vocals. Singing, melodies/harmonies, and mastering of the vocals could be a lot better than what's presented here. Lyrics is a subjective thing obviously, but in my view I didn't find much of a hook to it in spite of being "meta" and self-referential. I appreciate the nod to Hard Times, but personally it isn't enough for multiple listens.

Sorry for the harsh critique, but I'm used to decent vocal remixes from OCR. This is one of the most unfinished final submissions I've heard in awhile. I know not everything can be a hit obviously and I understand this was part of a competition entry with very limited time in getting things done. What's presented in the final product is impressive relative to the time constraints, but it's not up to par with the bar set in terms of OCR vocal remixes.

on 2014-12-12 15:47:20

I like the addition of the Aquatic Ruins along with Ice Cap here. It's a nice lead-in. Truthfully, the longer the song goes on, the more it grew on my vocally, and by the end, I was really digging it. The little nod to Hard Times was cool. All in all, not a bad ReMix and certainly a fun song to listen to. Nice work from Flex and OCU.

on 2014-12-11 00:50:28

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