‘Daaaaaaaytona, Daaaaaaytona let’s go away’ – Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, ‘Let’s Go Away’
Daytona USA was the type of game you might find a cabinet of in your local bowling ally or movie theater if you grew up stateside in the 90s. An arcade-racer with a whole boatload of personality to make up for the fact in only had a small handful of levels, the arcade version was first released in 1993 with a Sega Saturn console port following in 1995. Beloved then, a handful sequels would follow in the coming years but eventually, this type of traditional racing game fell out of favor with more technical racing simulators like Forza and Tourismo becoming the de facto for the genre. However the original game remains a cult-classic and Takenobu Mitsuyoshi’s soundtrack is a huge reason why.
Before I say anymore, watch this classic video of Takenobu Mitsuyoshi emphatically laying down vocals on a rearrangement of Daytona USA’s arguably most famous song ‘Let’s Go Away.’ Years later, he’s still knocking the ‘Daaaayonta’s out of the park! Note his facial expression as he once again gets lost in the feeling of a song we’ve been getting lost in ourselves for years. Even the little ‘wow’s’ and ‘lets go’s, he’s not editing them in separately. Mitsuyoshi just throws them down in between sustaining some incredibly high notes without missing a beat.
If it wasn’t already apparent that Takenobu Mitsuyoshi’s a super-hero that can do just about everything, we want to make clear he wasn’t only the vocalist on the original Daytona USA soundtrack. No, he composed, performed, and recorded the entire soundtrack! Granted once you clip out all the menu music and interludes, the cult racing game soundtrack boils down to only four complete songs. However, what an absolute cut up these four songs these are folks.
Basically, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi pairs thumping club kicks and pulsating rave stabs, mixes them up with earworm peak era SEGA Sound Team melody composition, and then lays down his golden voice on top of it all. The only comparison I could possibly equate it to would be Hironobu Kageyama doing the Sonic R soundtrack. ‘The King Of Speed’, ‘Let’s Go Away’, ‘Sky High’, and ‘Pounding Pavement’, whether you spent your childhood quarters on your nearest Daytona machine or are only looking up these songs after the fact, they’ll stay with you forever.
Unfortunately unlike the majority of Sonic The Hedgehog soundtracks, it seems like Daytona USA music has yet to hit streaming services. Instead you’ll have to settle for more incredibly delightful footage of Takenobu Mitsuyoshi karaeoke’ing his own music while giving some insider commentary, courtesy of SEGA from about when this cult hit racer got an HD port to PS3 and Xbox 360. Not too bad a deal, honestly. Unfortunately, that port hasn’t made it to current day consoles and while you can play the original Virtua Racer on the Switch, it’s just not the same as the legendary Daytona.