'Steven Universe' On Vinyl At SDCC: Rebecca Sugar Talks Soundtrack And Comic-Con Exclusive

Album art for the SDCC-exclusive limited Steven Universe vinyl single. Cartoon Network

One of Cartoon Network's biggest hits is Steven Universe, a diverse and inclusive animated show from Adventure Time alum Rebecca Sugar. The show's protagonist is a half-human/half-space alien rock (yes, really) named Steven, who's just a kid getting the hang of some strange new powers. Sci-fi schlock it is not. A sentimental cartoon about love and kindness, Steven spreads joy in between goofy episodes about arcades and toys. He learns how to master his powers, conquer fear and confront the mysteries of the past. The Emmy-nominated show's quirky characters and musical stylings attract a passionate fan base of millions across all ages. Steven Universe fans are drawn to its themes of love and acceptance. And like all passionate fans, they love to collect stuff.

This year's San Diego Comic-Con will give those fans something special. SDCC attendees have the opportunity to purchase a 7" vinyl single exclusively at Comic-Con. It features two hits from the show: the power anthem "Stronger Than You" on the A-side and an unreleased version of credits song "Love Like You" on the B-side.

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This is no idle record. The show's first soundtrack collection, released on June 2, hit number one on Billboard's independent albums chart, number two in soundtracks and number three in digital sales. The whole album will release on vinyl later this year, but only the most loyal fans can snag the single at SDCC. Showrunner Rebecca Sugar told Newsweek the surprise vinyl release is a way to acknowledge the older audience which isn't part of the usual fan service.

"I'm particularly excited about having the album on vinyl because I think, up til now we've mostly been making things for the younger fans and for the younger audience," Sugar told Newsweek. "The album is truly for everyone and then the vinyl is for the collector, so that's really exciting for me as a person who collects vinyls and as a person who is truly proud and excited about all of the music."

Only 3,000 copies will be available, making this SDCC exclusive a highly-coveted item for the serious Steven Universe collector. Steven Universe fans can find the single at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday only, with sales beginning at 1 p.m. PDT at the Gallery Nucleus Booth. There will also be online sales starting Friday at 1 p.m. PDT via iam8bit, but that 3,000-copy pool encompasses both online and physical sales, so fans hoping to grab this SDCC exclusive will need to be on the alert.

As for the rest of the music on the Cartoon Network series, there's a lot more on the way, especially if Sugar and the Steven Universe team have their way.

"There's just a lot more music that's coming up, like lyrical songs as well, so we're definitely not done," said Sugar. "This album has collected all of the lyrical music up until now, all of the major songs. But there are many other major songs that are already in the works that are coming up, and I really want to feature more of the score because it's absolutely crucial to the show. So both of those things are big dreams."

Album art for the SDCC-exclusive limited Steven Universe vinyl single. Cartoon Network

The choice of "Love Like You" came as a serendipitous result of Sugar and composers Aivi and Surasshu all being in New York to promote Save the Light, an upcoming Steven Universe game for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Sugar explained the three of them are rarely in the same place; in fact, it took years to write "Love Like You" bit by bit over Skype. Their most recent meeting was only the third time they ever made music together in person.

"I know in the moment, when we were done, I was so emotionally exhausted. So wonderful to get to sing it in person with them," said Sugar.

"Love Like You" is not only the credits song for Steven Universe, but a labor of love whose meaning has grown and changed along with Sugar.

"When I started writing the song, it meant one thing to me," she began. "And then, halfway through it meant something completely else, and then by the end, I had completely changed as a person and the song had completely changed its meaning to me. Over those three years, I'd been hearing it over and over and over again every time I worked on the show and delivered an episode. It became this huge part of my life."

Rebecca Sugar
Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar

While she still hasn't heard the version of "Love Like You" featured on the SDCC-exclusive vinyl, the trio recorded a few other songs as well, such as "Here Comes A Thought." Sugar says if she could choose any other pair of songs, she'd pair "Stronger Than You" with "Here Comes A Thought."

"Those songs are the two sides of the coin of the character of Garnet," she explained. "One is the huge celebration of who she is and all of the strength and power that she draws from it, but then the other is the tool with which she actually maintains that strength and the calm that she lives with constantly by being able to support herself. So I love those two together. They were designed to complement each other."

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As for what's coming up next in the world of Steven Universe music, Sugar promises both spectacle and intimacy.

"I've been interested in two things: the really big, reality-breaking numbers in Broadway musicals, but also the really acoustic, simple, personal songs. Coming up, I've been exploring both of those things," Sugar said. While there's no news yet on possible future guest stars, she adds, "There are definitely very major parts that have yet to appear on the show that require major performances."

Finally, a little tidbit for anyone who's wondering if antagonist Jasper and former Crystal Gem Bismuth are still around: they are.

"You haven't seen the last of them," Sugar promises. "I love them both too much."

Will you be chomping at the bit to get your mitts on one of those 3000 SDCC-exclusive vinyl singles? Looking forward to more news of soundtrack's release on vinyl later this year? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.