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INFO FILE
Title:
Dance Dance Revolution 4th Mix: Original Soundtrack
Format:
CD
2 discs
Production:
Dancemania
Intercord
Comments:
It's got a beat and you can dance to it. Well, duh!
Overall Rating:
93%

Animefringe Reviews:
Dance Dance Revolution 4th Mix: Original Soundtrack
By Jake Forbes


Anyone who read my January editorial on Dance Dance Revolution knows that I'm a DDR addict. I've almost mastered the footwork on the USA and 3rd Mix songs, but I'm sorry to say I still don't have much style (I'm workin' on it!). Well, you don't have to be a DDR fan to enjoy the series' wonderful music. Whether your thing is j-pop, R&B, hip-hop, or techno, even disco, you'll be sure to find something to your liking in DDR music. After the wonderful 3rd mix soundtrack (an eclectic album indeed with everything from reggae to Chumbawumba) Konami follows up with the significantly different 4th Mix.

As with previous DDR soundtracks, the 4th Mix OST comes with 2 discs. The first disc has 54 isolated tracks, including the background music, Playstation exclusives, and 5th Mix previews. The second disc is a "Nonstop Megamix," in which all of the songs on disc one, plus a few extras, are mixed together for a solid 70 minute block of music interspersed with the DDR announcer saying such classic lines as "Here comes another cool dancer!" and "Have you had your breakfast today?"

How does it compare to previous DDR soundtracks? Well, first of all, it's the longest yet with 58 tracks. Despite the high song count, this is also the most homogenized soundtrack yet; very few tracks seem out of place at all. Almost all of the tracks are fast paced j-pop, influenced more than ever by American R&B. The hardcore techno songs like Paranoia and Dead End are all but gone; in fact, almost all of the songs have heavy vocals this time.

Popular songs from 2nd and 3rd Mix make comebacks in faster "Eurobeat" versions. "Boys," "Have You Never Been Mellow," and "B4U" all make comebacks, but for the most part, the original versions were much better. Popular groups also have some new songs. There's new tracks by E-Rotic, Papaya, SmiLE.dk (Yeah!), and King Kong & the Jungle Girls.

If there were a standout artist on this album, it'd have to be Captain Jack. His two tracks are very different but equally cool. The first, "Only You," combines a sweet 1950's pop sound with his militaristic dance beat; sure to be a favorite with the ladies. His second, "Dream a Dream," remixes the classical music piece "Hall of the Mountain King" to great effect. It's a creepy dance number that is one of my favorite DDR songs ever.

On 3rd mix, Captain Jack was the hands down winner for "gayest song ever" for either his "Captain Jack" or "In the Navy." This time the gayest song has to go to Bus Stop for their totally gay "Kick the Can," a can-can remix that can only be described as, well, gay. Runner up would have to be The Saint for the dorky "Saint Goes Marching remix." I'll forgive Papaya for singing a happy song about a pink dinosaur because they're cute girls, but grown men shouldn't be singing can-cans.

SmiLE.dk, the J-pop band whose "Butterfly" song is probably the #1 fan favorite DDR track, comes back with the very pretty "Dancing All Alone." It's not quite as catchy as "Boys" or "Mr. Wonderful," but it's a better song. Another returning group, RE-VENGE, whose "Afronova" is one of the most fun songs to dance to ever, comes back with "Orion.78," a beautiful melding of traditional Chinese music and dance beat (A DDR song that's not in English- what a concept!). Very cool. I haven't danced to this song, but I'm sure it'll be a blast.

There are a couple classic American songs on this album, but nothing like the half dozen on 3rd Mix. Listeners will be sure to recognize "Shake Your Booty," and the really old fans (sorry, but 70's TV is old to me) might recognize Starsky and Hutch theme song.

The Megamix disc is a bit lacking this time out. While I enjoyed the 3rd Mix Megamix disc a great deal, I found that this 4th Mix disc had too many annoying interruptions and an occasionally sloppy transition. Also, there aren't any longer mixes of the tracks from the first disc, just shorter. On the 3rd Mix, the Mr. Wonderful and Tubthumping tracks are a minute longer on the Megamix disc. The Megamix disc is a nice for an occasional change of pace, or as a loaner disc when all of your friends start pestering you to borrow your DDR soundtrack, but you'll probably want to just listen to the first disc.

A large part of what makes DDR music great is the listener's ability to connect it to the arcade game. I actually bought this soundtrack before I found an arcade with the 4th Mix, so while I've now danced to some of the songs I'm now familiar with, I'm sure this album will only grow on me with time.

One more item of note about DDR soundtracks: they remind us gamers just how short of games we're really dancing! When I first played DDR I was certain each song was AT LEAST three minutes. I justified the $1 charge by saying I was getting at least 10 minutes for each game. How wrong I was. When you're just sitting back and listening to the music, the average 90 second length becomes blazingly obvious. "I break a sweat dancing to that short little song?" The songs may be short, but they add up to one incredibly packed and very fun album. DDR 4th Mix soundtrack is a must for DDR fans, and a good sampler for J-pop fans with short attention spans.

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