Release Date: 1/25/06
Price: 1886 yen
In early 2005, I began work on a Dancemania fan mix called Dancemania Springs (an homage to Dancemania Summers/Winters). My idea was to make a bubblegum dance mix with female vocals only. Imagine my surprise a few months later when EMI decided to do the same thing, except with trance! Hime Trance, a.k.a. Princess Trance, was announced in late 2005, and I remember being blown away when I first saw the early track list. New trance remixes of Dancemania classics like “Butterfly” and “Dub-I-Dub”? It was like a dream come true.
The amount of effort that went into Hime Trance is pretty shocking, especially by EMI’s usual repeat-heavy standards. Up until this the Trance Paradise series had been limited to 2-3 EMI remixes per album, so to have SIX on this one release was unprecedented. This was my first exposure to Delaction and Nasca Joker, and their remixes of “Butterfly” and “Moonlight Shadow” were nothing short of extraordinary. Shohei Matsumoto’s Misa remixes were also fantastic, but that was to be expected. “Dub-I-Dub” was probably the only disappointment of the bunch. It has some awesome percussion, but the lack of vocals keeps it from really hooking into my brain.
My favorite remix on the album is easily DJ Tora’s incredible take on “Willy Use a Billy…Boy.” Keep in mind that EMI had included the 2003 trance remix on Trance Paradise 3, so I somewhat expected them to take the cheap route and use it again. Instead, DJ Tora delivered an absolute masterpiece, and to this day I don’t understand why the remix never showed up again on any other compilations.
Interestingly, the early list for Hime Trance also included remixes for “Cartoon Heroes” as well as Cut ‘n’ Move’s “I’m Alive.” The former would end up being remixed for Hime Trance 2, but sadly “I’m Alive” never did get a trance remix.
Hime Trance also saw the debuts of 4 original J-Trance songs: “Nobody Knows…,” “Stay for Freedom,” “Don’t Leave Me,” and “Voyager.” Other songs like “Love & Sunshine,” the Tsukasa duo, and the Big Kiss tracks made their debuts on other albums a few months earlier. The one thing they all have in common is that Shohei Matsumoto had a hand in all of them. He would continue to be a driving force in the series going forward.
Of course, this is an EMI album, so that means repeats. Thankfully, there are really only 4 repeats on the album (5 if you count “Banzai” as a repeat), and the songs they chose to repeat were all great. “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” was a little overplayed by this point, but I commend them for choosing Cascada’s best song instead of the inferior and overexposed “Everytime We Touch.” And I could listen to “Another Night” all day and night, so didn’t mind it coming back with a massive 6 minute edit.
Hime Trance would go on to enormous sales, and ended up being certified gold in Japan with well over 100,000 copies sold. It also won the RIAJ’s Gold Disc Award for “Special Product of the Year.” Its success had a huge effect on the industry, with everyone suddenly rushing out cheap imitations (Erocawa Trance, Umi Trance, and my personal favorite, Hime Trance World). But no one, not even EMI, would be able to recreate the magic and perfection of this first release.
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