WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the following:
Persona 4: Dancing All Night
Last week, I wrote a review on the rhythm-action game spin-off Persona 4: Dancing All Night, and while I did touch on the music itself, I kind of wanted to go a bit deeper into it. Like I said in the review, one of my favourite aspects was the dances themselves. Getting to see these characters busting a groove really brings a smile to my face. Combine that with the music itself and you’ve got something that helps give Dancing All Night its own uniqueness and makes it an even more enjoyable game.
So, just because I want to, here’s a quick list of my ten favourite tracks from the game, complete with the dances themselves.
1. Your Affection (Daisuke Asakura Remix)
This remix is a far cry from the original track (as it should be). The original was a relatively slow, calming representation of youth. It had an almost nostalgic feel to it. If it was a person, it’d probably be a young, bright-eyed teenager who’s having the time of their life just hanging out with friends and not afraid of the future. This remix is that teenager after a few years and is now hitting the clubs every night.
It’s very much a dance mix; the kind of thing you’d hear pumping out of a house party in the dead of night. It fills you with energy and makes you want to jump up and dance yourself. Every time I listen to it, I can’t help but bob my head along to the tune. Kanami’s equally peppy dance routine is just the icing on the cake.
Even if you’re not a J-pop fan, I reckon even you could find this track enjoyable to listen to.
2. MAZE OF LIFE
I feel like I’m cheating with this one since it’s straight from a completely different game and isn’t even a remix. But whatever, MAZE OF LIFE is still a great track and follows the tradition of Persona games having kick-ass opening themes.
I remember listening to this track non-stop when Persona Q was coming out. It’s just a very peppy, somewhat uplifting track. You have fun listening to it and it captures Persona Q‘s scenario very well, as it was set in a school festival. It feels like the kind of song you can get more out of by experiencing it with friends. Plus, the dance shows off some neat visuals that reference the original game and we get to enjoy more of Yu’s swag-tastic dancing. Yes, I did just use the word ‘swag-tastic’ and I have no regrets.
3. Heaven (Norihiko Hibino Remix)
If you were to ask me what my favourite kind of music was, it’d probably be the fast-paced, energetic kind. But I do have a few soft spots for some slower pieces of music. Case in point, this remix of Heaven. While the original track didn’t resonate with me too much, I found myself being really drawn to this version. It’s got a jazzy vibe to it; a slow and graceful rhythm that’s at its best if you’re dancing alongside a partner. Can you call a song ‘sexy?’ Cause if you can, that’s what this is.
Though I think another key part of why I like it so much is down to Naoto’s dance. See, in the original game, Naoto spent a good chunk of it hiding her gender. She had everyone duped into thinking she was a guy because no one took her job as a detective seriously simply because she was a girl. In turn, she became almost ashamed of her gender yet wanted to be accepted for it. Even after conquering her Shadow, she continued to dress and present herself like a boy (it’s even implied that she binds her chest) because she was so used to it.
Here, though, she’s clearly embracing her femininity and channeling it through her dance. She’s no longer afraid to hide it and, as you can tell by the look on her face, is having the time of her life. The Persona series has always been heavy with subtext and symbolism, and that amount of effort has even been spent on a silly, little dancing spin-off. It’s a great continuation of her character and, having played Persona 4 myself, I couldn’t be happier to see Naoto enjoying herself.
4. Junes Theme (Vocal Version)
The Junes theme was already super catchy; it would ingrain itself into your brain because that was it’s job. It really felt like the kind of tune you’d hear advertising a big, fancy department store. So you can imagine my surprise and excitement when that track was not only included but also given lyrics. Granted, I don’t speak Japanese so I don’t know what they’re saying but that doesn’t stop it from being any more addictive.
The best part, though, is easily Nanako’s dance. Not just because it’s Nanako AKA the cutest videogame character to ever exist… okay, it might be just because of that. She’s just having so much fun and looks so adorable, especially considering how much she loves Junes. You can even see her singing along at points. There’s also that brief moment where the dance turns into a TV commercial or something, which I think is a neat touch.
What more can I really say? It’s catchy and cute. If Junes was a real place, I’d shop nowhere else if only because Nanako told me to.
To be honest, I kind of felt like I had to put this track on this list considering it’s the main theme of the game – the first track you hear once you start it up. But as I listened to it more and more, it quickly became a favourite for a few reasons.
Firstly, while previous Persona main themes have always been good, this feels like the first one that you could actually, well, dance to. It just has that right rhythm and right use of instruments that makes you want to jump up and hit the dance floor. It even incorporates a bit of Persona 4‘s main theme, Pursuing My True Self, which is a neat, little reference.
And, of course, you’ve got Yu showing off his moves. While he’s not an expert dancer like Rise, it’s clear that he’s taken to it so naturally. No wonder he’s such a hit with the ladies (and some of the guys). He may be free-styling but he makes it look amazing, probably because he’s focused on just enjoying himself and putting his feelings across. It’s almost encouraging and makes me want to join in. And isn’t that a sign of a good tune?
6. Best Friends (Banvox Remix)
While the original version of this song is also in the game, I ultimately picked this one for two reasons. First of all, I just prefer the remix. I’m not the biggest dub-step fan ever but I feel like it’s implemented here very well. It doesn’t feel like an assault on your eardrums. Instead, it enhances the original, giving it a funkier feel that’s more suitable to dance to.
Secondly, it’s the dance. I mentioned in the review that all the characters’ dances perfectly capture their respective personalities and Chie is probably the best example. You can’t tell if she’s dancing or fighting. It could even be both. I just love the way she takes up a fighting stance at certain points and when she high-kicks the air. It’s just fun to watch and perfectly complements the beat of the track.
Chie is already considered by many as the best female character in the game, and this dance may just convert some people if it hasn’t already.
7. Electronica in Velvet Room
Much like Heaven, the theme for the Velvet Room was never one of those tracks that really grabbed me. It was suitably atmospheric and did its job perfectly, but it wasn’t something that I could really listen to on its own. Electronica in Velvet Room, however, is a completely different story.
For some reason, turning it into a techno remix of sorts really works, changing the slightly haunting choir into a catchy beat that you can tap your foot to. It’s the exact opposite of the original track, sort of modernising it from a slow and mysterious piece to a faster-paced dance track. It feels like club music, helped by the Velvet Room’s transformation (seriously, though, seeing that place with a giant disco ball is hilarious).
As for Margaret’s dance, while it’s almost overtly simple, it perfectly suits both her and the music. She just exudes that mature attractiveness that she’s well known for. Not to mention that she seems to be naturally good at dancing considering this is her first time ever. Either that or she’s been making Theodore buy dance instruction booklets for her, which wouldn’t surprise me at all.
8. Break Out Of…
Sometimes I wonder if I would’ve bought the Marie DLC if she didn’t come with one of my favourite Persona songs. Then I remember that I’m a Persona 4 fanboy and that I most probably would’ve got it regardless, even if I’m not a huge fan of Marie herself. That being said, Break Out Of… is easily one of my favourite tracks in the whole game, both for the song and for the dance.
Again, it’s not a remix and lifted straight from Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, but it’s just so good. It’s energetic, intense, it has a fantastic beat and, of course, glorious rapping courtesy of Lotus Juice. If this song was a 10/10, Marie’s dance propels it to, like a 72/10 (suck it, maths!)
Considering her personality in the original game, it’s just refreshing to see Marie letting loose and just having fun. She’s like a teenager dancing alone in her room with the music at full volume. There’s no style or rhythm to it but, in her mind, she’s on top of the world and looking awesome. I particularly love it when she air-guitars.
Also, if you have voices on whilst playing, you’ll hear Marie start of really unenthused, with only the most blasé of “Yays,” but as it goes on, she gets more and more into it. And if Margaret joins in, she’ll let out an anguished scream at how Margaret’s stealing all the best parts. All in all, a fantastic track that even non-Marie fans can’t help but love.
9. The Fog (ATLUS Konishi Remix)
Let’s be honest here – this track was guaranteed to be on the list purely because of Adachi. I’ve briefly touched upon how much I love this asshole before and he was one of my top picks for playable characters in this game. I don’t even care that he’s DLC and only has one track. It was an instant purchase. But I should probably actually justify this choice.
First off, the music. I was a bit unsure when I found out that Adachi’s track would be The Fog, one of the final boss tracks. It just didn’t seem it’d be suitable for the game considering it’s all about dance music. Fortunately, whoever worked on the remix has proved me wrong. It’s hard to explain but the transition just works. It keeps the same feel that the original had while adapting it to fit the whole dance motif the rest of the soundtrack has.
Now, onto the dance itself. Honestly, though, the mere sight of Adachi dancing is enough to make me smile. I have to constantly remind myself that this is the same foul-mouthed, misogynistic douchebag that murdered two women, manipulated an emotionally unstable man that resulted in Nanako being hospitalised and tried to bring about the end of the world. There’s just something funny about seeing that kind of character just casually dancing.
Plus, since the dance is completely freestyle, it manages to pretty much show every facet of Adachi’s personality. The facial animation helps especially; we see uncertainty, amusement, smugness, anger and sadness all within a few minutes. The dance could even be representing his entire character arc – I especially love the part where he acts like a puppet on strings, representing how he in turn was being manipulated by Izanami.
Then you’ve got Yu joining in at the end, complete with him extending his hand to Adachi, only for the corrupt cop to smack it away in an almost feral manner. It sums up their relationship perfectly (which I won’t go into since this section’s already super long). The real cherry on top, though, is Adachi’s commentary if you have voices on.
“It’s easy once you get the hang of it… assuming you’re not an idiot.”
TL;DR, I love this track and I love Adachi. The only thing missing is Magatsu-Izanagi playing guitar.
10. Reach Out To The Truth (Dancing on PERSONA STAGE)
When I found out that the story mode had boss fights, I immediately knew what kind of dance I wanted to see for the final boss. But I tried to keep my expectations low. I mean, what were the odds that Atlus would do exactly what I wanted for the endgame? So imagine my utter delight when I got exactly what I wanted.
Where do I even begin? How about the fact that Rise managed to amplify her power to such a degree that her Persona became a giant stage for them to dance on? Seriously, how awesome is that? And the music is just kick-ass. Reach Out To The Truth was already an amazing track, but this manages to hype it up to the kind of level you’d expect to hear during a final boss fight.
Then you’ve got the entire Investigation Team plus Kanami taking it in turns to show off their dance moves, cheering each other on throughout it all. I love how they do it in pairs as well, showing off how in sync they all are with each other and further cementing how tight the group is. And then at the very end, you’ve got Yu coming in to deliver the coup de grâce, with the entire gang behind him just giving it their all. In fact, Yu even incorporates his friends’ dance styles into his own. Do I even need to explain the symbolism behind that?
And to cap it off, you have Izanagi-no-Okami pulling out the weirdest/sickest looking guitar ever made and delivering one epic riff that somehow combines all of the instruments used by the team’s Personas, utterly destroying the boss.
There is not a single bad thing I can say about this track (except maybe that Nanako should’ve taken part as well – she was there; she could’ve helped!). Words cannot do it justice. Just watch the video yourself and see how perfect of a finale it is to this ridiculous but fun as hell game.