Recently I have had a problem where I want to listen to all the terrible DDR music of my youth, but every playlist is literally just the licenses from the PS2 games, so instead of like… Boys, by Smile.dk, it’s like Temperature by Sean Paul, which is NOT what I’m looking for. I have now remedied the situation. For the world.
This is, perhaps obviously but we’ll get to that, a playlist of music featured on the critically acclaimed music game Dance Dance Revolution. I had pretty specific criteria for this, and I feel obligated to explain it, because hell hath no fury like a bemani nerd who feels the need to correct someone.
First, the songs present on a version of a DDR game are not consistent between versions. The Japanese versions of the game were released on PlayStation and Arcade versions initially, and the songlists between the two are largely consistent. However, America is a much different story. The song licenses that are often present on a DDR game are not present in their American PlayStation counterparts, which can result in deviation from the arcade list. If you grew up playing DDR Extreme (2002) or DDRMAX (2001) on your PS2 and at one point were delighted during a family vacation to find an arcade cabinet with a similar name, you were probably disappointed to find that none of the songs that you remembered from your PlayStation 2 version were present. Song lists on the US PlayStation 2 versions tended to be tremendously cut down because of this whole deal with the licenses. So you loaded up, excited to play UK garage legend Spin Spin Sugar (Armand’s Dark Garage Remix)* and instead found a bunch of completely unapproachable eurodance versions of 80s pop songs. Fun trick!
(Then you just played Butterfly, by Smile.dk 3 songs in a row. Don’t lie, I know that’s what you did.)
So, to finally explain what exactly is going on here, this playlist is every song from DDR 1st Mix (1998) (that’s the one just called “Dance Dance Revolution” ) to DDR 8th Mix (that’s the one you likely remember as DDR Extreme .) Additionally/unfortunately/capitalismly, this playlist only contains the songs available on Spotify, which means that this is missing every single Konami original song from the series, which means this is sadly not the first Trash Garbage Playlist to feature MAX 300. The final criteria for curating this playlist was an attempt to put the full-length, actual version of the song that appeared in DDR. Sometimes this is the original song, but usually this is a Eurodance cover of it. So if you remember a song that’s present on DDR (eg, “We Will Rock You”) that’s not present in this playlist, it’s likely because I could not find the version used in DDR on Spotify as of May 20, 2022.
Now we can start discussing the weird stuff. Nothing was weird up to this point. Things are about to get weird starting now.
Early versions of DDR used a numbering system where they just referred to themselves as “Nth Mix”, with occasional subtitles if there was a different version of the game (eg, 3rd Mix  had 2 versions released specifically for the Korean Market, and 2nd Mix  had a curious version called Substream where it could be linked with a beatmania IIDX  cabinet, and beatmania and DDR players could play songs at the same time. I have always wanted to try this, somewhere, but I don’t think the stars will ever align to enable this.) Later versions of DDR would feature subtitles (DDR 6th Mix going by DDRMAX, 7th Mix going by DDRMAX2) and by the release of SuperNOVA  (the sequel to DDR Extreme aka 8th Mix), they dropped the numbering scheme altogether and just referenced each game by title, which means that Dance Dance Revolution X (2008) is the 11th game in the series, bugging me to no end.
Nothing has bugged me up until this point. We are now getting to the– actually, no, the Spotify stuff bugs me. But, you know. Back to the fun.
The very specific criteria for this Trash Garbage–curated DDR playlist include, naturally, two-tone legends The Specials, who were inexplicably selected for the first version of Dance Dance Revolution with the song “Little Bitch”. Interestingly, this was one of the more difficult songs in the game at the time of release. Pick it up!
It’s also worth mentioning that most of the licenses that came on the DDR arcade version were from a series of compilation albums known as Dancemania, a Japan-only release that featured eurodance or eurobeat remixes of popular songs. This should further explain why most of this was not available in non-Japanese Spotify regions until recently. Even still, most of this music is not present as part of Dancemania compilations, but instead manifests on this streaming site in a way that I find endlessly amusing: because most of these songs are well known pop songs covered in a eurodance style that’s about 130 beats per minute, it makes them absolute perfect fodder to run a spin class or similar group exercise class to, which means that an overwhelming number of these are attributed to albums like “ULTIMATE WORKOUT JAMS TO SWEAT TO 54”.
I should also mention that because this is only the arcade version’s licenses, none of the PS2 songs appear here, which means that I was surprised a couple times with “I didn’t know that made it to the arcade version.” Chiefly surprising among these was Duran Duran’s “The Reflex”.
In conclusion, I do not endorse capitalism, even though in a way capitalism is what made the curation nightmare that is this playlist fun. You’re having fun, right?