Princess Princess was one of the most successful Japanese female rock groups of all time. At the peak of the band’s popularity in 1989, shows at venues like the world-famous Nippon Budokan sold out in mere hours. Boasting both melodious riff-heavy tracks and soothing ballads throughout their discography, it’s no wonder Princess Princess reigned as pop-rock royalty. After absorbing each of their albums multiple times, 1988’s Let’s Get Crazy remains their strongest release.
To understand this LP, look no further than the album’s artwork. Whether the band members are shooting a can of silly string, sporting wild hairdos, or displaying an already-bitten apple on a fork (?), it’s clear that this album is a musical party. The dynamic guitar riff on opener “Get Crazy” sets the album’s tonal message: we’re gonna rock, and it’s gonna be fun. Without knowing Japanese, this album is still very satisfying based on its strong vocals, varied instrumentations, and soaring melodies.
Guitarist Kanako Nakayama elevates Let’s Get Crazy from an average rock album to one that’s likely to resonate with both fans of J-Pop and non fans alike. She has the ability to write catchy riffs and melodious guitar solos, bringing to mind Queen’s Brian May, possibly one of Nakayama’s inspirations. Compare the guitar work on May’s “Killer Queen” (especially the solo) to the opening riff on “Get Crazy.” Both have a waltzing and playful sound not found in many guitarists’ work. Besides the title track, other stellar Nakayama tracks include “Sorenarini Iihito” and “Heart Stompin’ Music.”
Additionally, lead vocalist Kaori Kishitani’s deep, almost snarling voice helps Princess Princess stand out among other J-Pop artists from this era. This sound drives the band into heavier territory while still retaining their pop/rock sensibilities. Kishitani shines on the ballad “M,” one of Let’s Get Crazy’s strongest tracks. The song builds from a gentle piano track to an emotional bridge, before reaching the doo-wop tinged chorus.
Besides driving guitar tracks and soaring ballads, Let’s Get Crazy contains other musical styles. “Hecchara” is Princess Princess’s somewhat successful attempt at punk. “Stay There” and “Hitorijime” are peppy synth pop pieces, with the latter’s chorus sounding like an inspirational anthem from an 80’s film montage. Also of note is Kyoko Tomita’s impressive drumming on “Sorenarini Iihito.”
Although Princess Princess released other great albums, namely Teleportation and Here We Are, Let’s Get Crazy works the best as a complete musical statement. So don your wild hairdos, get your silly string, and let’s rock like it’s 1988.