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.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mariya Takeuchi -- Natalie/Apple-Papple Princess

(from 30:47)

I came across Mariya Takeuchi's(竹内まりや) "Natalie" as one of the tracks on a compilation of her early hits. Released in December 1981, it was her 9th single and her final release before taking a break for a few years to start her family with Tatsuro Yamashita(山下達郎). And representative of her early penchant for coming up with Americana melodies, Takeuchi wrote and composed this song with a country lilt about the titular character trying to strike it big in life with the usual fame and consequences, or perhaps it is about the guy with the unrequited love singing about Natalie. Y'know, she wouldn't have looked out of place on an episode of "Hee Haw" trilling this. "Natalie" was also a track on her 5th album "Portrait" from October in the same year.

(special guest appearance by Miku)

When I was looking at the J-Wiki article for "Natalie", I also saw the B-side for the single and saw the weird title, "Apple-Papple Princess"(アップル・パップル・プリンセス). Luckily enough, the video is on YouTube (for now), and compared to the down-home-in-Kentucky feel of the A-side, this one sounded downright weird for Takeuchi. It was actually made as a cute kid-friendly ditty for NHK's "Minna no Uta"(みんなのうた)5-minute music series, and listening to this technopoppy onomatopoeia-happy melody, I had thought it was another Haruomi Hosono(細野晴臣)creation. However, it was actually composed by Kunihiko Kase(加瀬邦彦), who used to be a member of the Group Sounds band, The Wild Ones, and a year previously, composed one of Kenji Sawada's(沢田研二) big hits, "TOKIO". The lyrics were provided by Yohei Shibata(柴田陽平). It's a short but definitely interesting song in the Takeuchi discography. As for the whole single, it only went as high as No. 70 on Oricon.

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