“Seven Years After” (Princess Princess)

Released in 1991, eight years into their career (and presumably written the year prior), “Seven Years After” captures a band at its crossroads. By 1990, Princess Princess had made it to the top of the J-pop world, scoring multiple number one singles and embarking on massive tours. By 1991, the band’s members were approaching their 30s and struggling to repeat their extraordinary successes. Though a moderate hit, “Seven Years After” did not reach number one on the charts, nor did any of their other singles released after it.

This track is by no means Princess Princess’s final push. They continued to release albums and tour until 1996, but this was the last time they felt unstoppable.

From the opening keyboard chords, it’s clear that the stakes are high. There is an urgency to “Seven Years After” not found on most Princess Princess songs. It lacks the youthful vigor of “19 Growing Up” or the rock chops of “Get Crazy!” but delivers an emotional nakedness previously unheard in their career.

Whether it’s the heavy drumming, dynamic violins darting behind the verses or the gentle, but powerful chorus, “Seven Years After” showcases Princess Princess at their most creative and most vulnerable. More than anything, it encapsulates a band awakening from its dream of ultimate stardom.

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