At this point, Shoji Meguro is practically a household name for anyone who enjoys JRPGs. For many people, in-game music partially defines the Persona games, and honestly, who can blame them? Shoji Meguro has a style all his own. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that he’s well up there with all-time greats such as Koji Kondo or Nobuo Uematsu.
Because of the series’ popularity, Persona has seen no shortage of side media and games. From anime and movies to fighting games, there’s no shortage of Persona to experience. Of course, since the soundtrack is such a huge and beloved part of this series, getting a rhythm game of any of these titles is an exciting prospect. Even if you don’t like rhythm games, you can’t deny the excitement of getting a bunch of new Persona music to delve right into.
As you might guess, the Persona 3 and Persona 5 Dancing soundtracks are massive. There are multiple versions of the soundtrack for both games, each with no fewer than 4 CDs. Similar to its predecessor, Persona 4 Dancing, this P3D & P5D soundtrack is an eclectic mix of various genres all with one simple goal in mind: to make you want to get up and get down on the dance floor.
The soundtrack is divided into sections per disc. The first two discs are all Persona 3, which is further divided into the first disc dedicated to remixes and the second being slightly edited songs from Persona 3 to work within the confines of the gameplay, as well as any song original to Dancing.
Starting off, the remixes for Persona 3 are all quite stellar in their own ways. From “Brand New Days” and its surprisingly heavy rock remix all the way to “Want To Be Close ATOLS Remix” and its ethereal-sounding EDM mix, there’s no shortage of diversity on this disc. This naturally plays to the strength of the soundtrack, as each song is very well realized and mixed. It’s easy to find yourself tapping your feet to the beats of all the songs. The biggest surprise here was the addition of more rock remixes. I find dance albums to usually consist of trance or EDM-style songs, but the rock remixes were all a welcome surprise for diversity and, as a lover of rock music, certainly brought a smile to my face when I heard them!
The second disc serves as a contrast, representing music from the original Persona 3 as well as menu themes and other songs exclusive to Dancing. These songs are what they say on the tin; songs from the original game, just slightly altered to fit the gameplay. When I say slightly altered, I mean that they’re spliced so the loop makes more sense and the song has a definitive ending to it. Video game music is designed to loop to transition smoothly with gameplay, without any awkward stopping and starting. These edits simply ensure songs don’t awkwardly end in the middle, thus they work for the gameplay element of the game.
There isn’t much to say about the songs on this disc, as they’re just classics from the main game, and at this point, they’re cemented as being such wonderful pieces it’d be hard to say something about them that hasn’t already been said a thousand times over. The Dancing exclusive background tracks are serviceable and get the point across well enough. They serve their purpose and do what they need to within the confines of the soundtrack.
Disc 3 introduces music from Persona 5 Dancing and, following the sequence, it is also original remixes from its namesake. Most of the chosen songs prominently feature Lyn, the vocal artist for Persona 5‘s soundtrack, though there are a couple exceptions, such as “Will Power” and “Blooming Villain.” The songs with Lyn are all great, though they also feel similar to each other in mood and genre and come across like what you’d find at a club, with an emphasis on beats and bass.
The only song that I felt any level of negativity toward in this whole soundtrack is the “Will power Shacho Remix.” It’s not a bad remix. It’s just very, for lack of a better word, meh. It’s the kind of song on a soundtrack you’d tolerate if you had to listen to it. The instrumentation is a touch grating to the ears, and it feels like the remix is all over the place. Perhaps it’s bias, as “Will Power” was one of my favorite tracks from Persona 5, but it was the only song that gave me any level of pause.
Finally, we arrive on the final disc to explore gameplay-modified music from the original Persona 5 with added music from P5D itself. Something noteworthy, however, is the inclusion of the final boss theme, “Jaldabaoth ~ Our Beginning,” which had no remix of any kind on the preceding disc. Usually, original game soundtrack selections reflect their remixed counterparts, but it’s the one outlier in this case. This contrasts with the Persona 3 side, which didn’t include its final battle theme, “The Battle For Everyone’s Souls.” I certainly wouldn’t weigh the inclusion against the album or anything. It just seems a little odd that this is the selected song and the major exception to the pattern so far.
The soundtrack is an excellent and fun mix of many genres of music and, just like the game itself, is a celebration of the wonderful work Shoji Meguro has done for the Persona series. No matter what type of music you enjoy, you’re bound to find something on this soundtrack to love. Each of the remix artists clearly put their hearts and souls into each track, transforming this dance party into a heartfelt tribute and love letter to the legendary Shoji Meguro. Which, if you ask me, is very high praise for a soundtrack designed for a rhythm game.