I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Princess Princess -- Koi wa Balance (恋はバランス)

by jimivr

Good golly! George Michael on Xmas Day and then today I get this news. I'd heard about Carrie Fisher's heart attack on that flight over to Los Angeles before last weekend and knew that she was in a bad way but the prognosis was that she was stabilizing. I took that to mean a hopeful thing. Unfortunately, the news came out this morning that she had passed away earlier today at the age of 60.😢

Fisher may have worn a number of hats in her career but it would always be her cinnamon bun do that I will remember her for. Of course, it's Princess Leia. When I had first heard of "Star Wars" decades ago and finally got to see it at the theatre, my impression as a callow youth was that as a princess, she would be the usual Disney damsel-in-distress. Instead, she was a 19-year-old cranky, snarky and tough belle who could go toe-to-toe with dashing-but-mercenary Han Solo. She didn't smile all that much during "A New Hope"...and frankly, how could she when the Death Star blew up her adopted planet and all her loved ones right in front of her eyes?

However, there is a trope that I found on the website "TV Tropes" called "When She Smiles" which describes a usually dour-faced character in pop culture who suddenly lights up the room...and fans...when he or she finally gives that rare happy look. That smile finally happened at the end of "A New Hope" during the medal ceremony for Luke Skywalker and Han, and I can remark that those guys' reward was just as much Leia's smile as it was those medals and recognition that they struck a blow against the evil Empire. Carrie Fisher probably melted a whole lot of hearts when she smiled in those photos but her passing broke a whole lot of them today.

So I was left thinking about how to pay some tribute through the blog, and decided to go with an old Princess Princess song. Nope, it isn't a smooth segue but it's the best I got. In fact, I have here the band's debut single under their Princess Princess moniker, "Koi wa Balance" (Love In Balance). Strangely enough, there is something fitting about going with this song for this tribute to Carrie Fisher since there has been that overarching theme of providing balance to the Force.

Released in April 1987, "Koi wa Balance" wasn't an in-band creation as would be the case with many of their future hits. Vocalist Kaori Okui(奥居香)didn't provide the music; instead it was veteran composer Kisaburo Suzuki(鈴木キサブロー)who I usually associate with the much different Mariko Takahashi(高橋真梨子). However, guitarist Kanako Nakayama(中山加奈子)wrote the lyrics.

It's always interesting to see how a famous band started from humble beginnings. And watching the video above, all of the ladies looked a lot less rock and somewhat more GAP Kids. The song itself was definitely more on the poppier side of things and the underlying melody reminded me of this old Italian standard from years ago. Apparently "Koi wa Balance" didn't chart but that's OK. Obviously the best was yet to come for Okui and company.

It's been a tough 2016 for our pop idol icons, folks...

(December 28th: And the sadness deepens....her mother Debbie Reynolds just passed away earlier tonight.)

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