Persona 4 -Dancing All Night- Soundtrack Collector’s Edition
Persona 4 -Dancing All Night- Original Soundtrack + Advanced CD Collector’s Edition
July 29, 2015
Buy at CDJapan
Persona 4 -Dancing All Night- Original Soundtrack + Advanced CD Collector’s Edition is one of the soundtracks for the Vita rhythm game of the same name, containing the full two discs of the Persona 4 -Dancing All Night- Original Soundtrack, along with the extended and exclusive tracks on the Persona 4 -Dancing All Night- Soundtrack Advanced CD. The soundtracks consist mostly of remixes by various artists of songs from the original Persona 4 soundtrack, as well as remixes of songs from the spin-offs Persona 4 the Golden and Persona 4 Arena. This collector’s edition is certainly extensive, but there is a lot of redundant material that will not be necessary for most fans.
The original soundtrack starts with the new opening track written for the game, “Dance!”, beginning with a short sample from the original Persona 4 opening song before switching things up to a more beat-driven track. Shihoko Hirata returns to sing and Lotus Juice returns to rap in this infectious track which has a great melody along with an energetic arrangement that is a worthy spiritual successor to previous game openings, even retaining elements of “Pursuing My True Self” throughout the track. The only other new vocal theme in the game is the closing “Calystegia”, sung by Minako Kotobuki. It’s a fairly typical bright J-Pop track with a safe band arrangement, so it’s a bit disappointing next to the greater tracks of the series, but it is otherwise fun and enjoyable.
The remaining new tracks are instrumentals, and tend to be quite short. “So Baby Go For It, Feel the Vibe!” is an expansion on a small vocal bit of “Dance!” that is appropriately funky, but doesn’t do much. “Collection” is another variation on “Dance!”, this time a laid back track that is quite pleasant, though “Step” is the more superior variation with a great groove, trumpet on melody, and strong accompanying strings. Some tracks play off of “Calystegia”, like the bright “Much More than I Feel Like”, or the soft piano solo “Bindweed”. Most of the other new tracks like the smooth lounge “Ochimizu” or the more dramatic “Consensus of Those Who Want Bonds” are serviceable and fit well enough on the soundtrack, but aren’t otherwise very remarkable.
The big draw of the soundtrack is of course the remixes of existing Persona 4 material, which make up most of the first disc. These all tend to be electronic in nature, and never do anything so dramatic as to make the track unrecognizable. The first remix “Pursuing My True Self (ATLUS Kozuka Remix)” is very synth heavy but still retains the original’s funky spirit. It’s not quite as interesting as its original, but it’s a fine track that entertains. “Signs of Love (TK Remix)” interestingly takes a darker turn in its heavier sound, and the “Best Friends (Banvox Remix)” is pretty great with its thumping house beat, but I do wish the drop was a bit harder after the first verse. “Pursuing My True Self (Shinchi Osawa) Remix” has a strong bassline that carries the song through its less conventional sound, while “Heartbeat, Heartbreak (TOWA TEI Remix)” gives the track more quirky electronica backdrop that’s a lot of fun. Most of these don’t surpass the originals, but they do offer a fresh new take that is enjoyable, and certainly makes the songs more suitable for rhythm game use.
One of the standouts for me is the “SNOWFLAKES (NARASAKI Remix)”, which is a great improvement on the original thanks to its more fleshed out sound and faster pace. It’s still bright and positive, but it’s now overall more fun and energetic. “Time to Make History (AKIRA YAMAOKA Remix)” is also a fantastic track, with its heavy breakbeat percussion that is very well suited to the track. Yamaoka makes it much grittier, to great effect, especially as the track progresses. “Heaven (Noriko Hibino Remix)” is also a wonderful take on an already wonderful track, with touches of noir jazz in combination with the a bit of Latin influence. The track begins in a very alluring manner then gets busier as it goes, leading to a wonderful saxophone solo. The “Shadow World (DE DE MOUSE shadow swing Remix)” is remarkable if not just for its sheer peculiarity, having a piano accompaniment that for a while doesn’t seem to fit at all, but once it becomes more consonant at the chorus, everything clicks together in the track and the payoff is wonderful. It’s one of the few very daring remixes on the soundtrack, and I think it absolutely succeeds, but it might not be that way for everyone. The first disc closes with “Dance Hymn of the Soul (Disco in Velvet Room)”, which has a great jazzy variation on the original accompaniment. It’s still a bit strange to hear this beautiful melody in an upbeat dance context, but the arrangement is a lot of fun.
The second disc also reprises a lot of existing Persona 4 material. For example, “Pursuing My True Self” and “Never More” appear in their full versions here, untouched. Several songs from the Never More -Reincarnation:PERSONA 4- also appear, albeit in slightly truncated versions. None of the cuts are very substantial, though neither is the small addition to “Time to Make History”. This will all be redundant and unnecessary for those who already have the other Persona 4 albums, but for anyone who was introduced to the universe with Dancing All Night, these tracks are great inclusion and cover the important ground from the other soundtracks. The Never More tracks are all quite strong, including the much better developed and more dynamic “specialist”, the brassier “Like a dream come true”, and the heavily percussive and jazzy “Signs of Love”. It’s also nice to have the songs from Persona 4 the Golden like “Shadow World”, and even “MAZE OF LIFE” from Persona Q is included.
Outside of the reused material (which accounts for half of the second disc!), there are other instrumental tracks that are based on Persona 4 tracks. Some are very similar and come off as remasters, such as the new versions of “ZONE TIME”, “Who’s There?”, and “Borderline of Madness”. Other tracks have more substantial changes, like “New Days” which is more varied in its instrumentation and has a fuller sound which is really great. “Reasoning” is very chill and even a bit tropical in its new sound, while “I’ll Face Myself” is starts similar to the original but then switches to a laid back version of the track. “SMILE” is very atmospheric now, barely being heard as if far in the distance of a dense fog, while “Never More” gets a new short slow instrumental version that is mainly electric piano and guitar. Then there are “I Want Bonds…” and “Witness”, both variations on the “Who’s There?” motif. The former having thick atmosphere, while the latter more cinematic and tense. Lastly, are nine versions of the victory motif of “Reach Out To The Truth”, one for each of the characters with slightly altered instrumentation in their second half (for example, the brass of “-Tomoe-” vs the the harp of “Himiko”. Unfortunately they’re all a mere twenty seconds long (save for the “-Izanaminookami-“ version, which is a bit longer and combines elements of all the other versions), and they’re inclusion really is there to appease completionists. They otherwise interrupt any flow this disc might have had, but it was a very eclectic mix of tracks to begin with.
The third disc of the set, the Advanced CD, is filled with extensions of the vocal song remixes. The only change in the opening track “Dance! -Long Mix-” is a ten second reduced instrumental bit leading into the second verse that is nice but not essential. Next is “Backside Of The TV (Lotus Juice Remix)”, with an extension here at about thirty seconds, lengthening the intro and outro of the track. The “SNOWFLAKES (NARASAKI Remix)” extension brings an new reduced outro, but it didn’t seem very necessary. The “Signs of Love (TK Remix)” extension is much longer at almost one and a half minutes. The longer intro is effective at easing into the track, though the longer ending doesn’t add much to the track. “Time to Make History (AKIRA YAMAOKA Remix)” sees another minute added to build up the introduction, which works well enough, as well as include a short new segment in the ending, but it ultimately doesn’t add much.
The longer remixes start with “Heaven (Noriko Hibino Remix)”, clocking in at around three minutes of extra material, offering more time on the verses and solo. It actually never feels like it is too long, and it makes the slow transition of sound throughout the track more subtle. The more time spent with this track, the better. The four minute extension of the “NOW I KNOW (Yuu Miyake Remix)” allows for more buildup in the introduction, as well as a more fleshed out midsection, letting Miyake to show off more of what he does best (sampling). The track also feels like it has a much better progression now. The longer “Best Friends (Banvox Remix)” doesn’t add anything significant to the track, but “Pursuing My True Self (Shinchi Osawa) Remix” has a three minute extension that gives it a more meditative feel as it interestingly takes its time on the more bare sections of the track. It materially isn’t adding much but it works well for the track. From here the album actually includes two tracks that are not extended in comparison to the OST counterparts: “Heartbeat, Heartbreak (TOWA TEI Remix)” and “Your Affection (Daisuke Asakura Remix)”. The last of this part of the disc is the long “Shadow World (DE DE MOUSE shadow swing Remix)”, with a one minute extension affords the song another chorus and a short new interlude later on in the track, but not much otherwise.
The last five tracks of the album are exclusive to the Advanced CD, and are not present on the OST. The first of these is “Signs of Love (Funky HOME Mix)”, which is certainly funky with a nice touch of brass and jazz organ throughout the upbeat arrangement. “True Story (ATLUS Kozuka Remix)” is actually a DLC track for the game, with and arrangement that is very similar to the original but more polished, especially with regard to the vocal. Some of the instruments are changed up a bit, but nothing drastic is changed in the track. “Mist (ATLUS Konishi Remix)” is also a DLC track, starting off also like a remaster of the original before adding more electronic elements in the second half of the song. There’s also a reduction at the bridge to give the song a bit more drama, and it works well. “Heartbeat, Heartbreak (Cloudy Step Mix)” is a great 2-step remix of the song, though some of the instrumental could have been changed to distance itself more from the original. The closing track is “Reach Out To The Truth (“bright outer world” Mix) which surprisingly actually has a bit of a reduced tempo with its electronic rock arrangement. I don’t think the song works quite as well at the slower tempo, but it’s still otherwise an enjoyable track and a nice way to close out the album.
Persona 4 -Dancing All Night- Original Soundtrack + Advanced CD Collector’s Edition is a solid soundtrack that will please fans of Persona 4’s universe, and should entertain anyone who enjoys J-Pop. The remixes are all well done, and they are diverse enough to not get tiring on a listen through, and the uniqueness of the music of Persona 4 is still communicated through them. Not many surpass the originals, but they are great companion pieces, and freshen up the experience. The new tracks are all fine as well, particularly the new theme song “Dance!”. The combo pack may not be worth it for everyone, as there is a lot of repeated material, especially for existing fans of the series. There isn’t anything particularly special about the packaging of the set either, other than some alternate art. All of the essential content of the game is contained in the Advanced CD, so this set is definitely mainly for collectors.
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Posted on October 26, 2015 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on October 26, 2015.