For me, it's hard to say which song is the ultimate Akina Nakamori（中森明菜）tune. Is it "Tattoo" or is it "Kazari ja nai no yo Namida wa"（飾りじゃないのよ涙は）? Or is it "Desire"? Probably a lot of her fans, casual or devoted, would pick that last one.
Released in February 1986, it was composed by Kisaburo Suzuki（鈴木キサブロー）, who has woven songs for everyone from Mariko Takahashi to Kenji Sawada, and written by Yoko Aki（阿木耀子）, who had written several of Momoe Yamaguchi's latter hits the decade before. Aki had written a track for Akina's 1983 album, "Etranger"（エトランゼ）, but "Desire"was her first Akina song released as a single. I'd heard in the past that Nakamori was seen as the musical heir of Yamaguchi (and the former had sung the latter's "Yume Saki Annainin" on the talent TV show "Star Tanjo"（スター誕生） when she was starting out), so perhaps writing for Nakamori was a bit of deja vu for Aki. Her husband and fellow collaborator on those Yamaguchi songs such as "Imitation Gold"and "Playback, Part II", Ryudo Uzaki（宇崎竜童）, wasn't involved in "Desire", but composer Suzuki certainly amped up the dynamism in the music; I could've imagined Yamaguchi trying this song if she had continued her career beyond 1980.
As for the singer herself, Akina took "Desire" and crafted that now-husky voice of hers to ride the music like a roller-coaster veteran. Velvety in the relatively quiet sections, she unleashes the full force of that voice in most of the refrain, including the lyric written above....a challenging but fun song for all those karaoke fans.
"Desire" debuted on Oricon at the top spot from the get-go and became the 2nd-ranked song of 1986, just behind Akemi Ishii's（石井明美）"Cha-cha-cha"(already profiled), although I think "Desire"has probably stayed in the memory a lot longer. It won a number of awards, three from the Japan Record Awards alone: Best Artist, Gold Prize and Grand Prize. Not surprisingly, the Kohaku came knocking as well.
But one of the other factors that helped launched "Desire"into the stratosphere was her performance at concerts and on the various music shows. Akina may have been known for that cute peacocky ponytail in her early years, but with this song, it was the short bob wig. It was also her wish to wear a stylized kimono and the high heels. As for the dance, there is that one point in her performance where she cries out "nante ne" and suddenly bends like a ratchet going down; apparently that was inspired by a baseball pitcher's windup. In any case, it would be hard to separate the song from the choreography. And it will be impossible to separate Akina from "Desire" in any retrospective on her.