Around the end of the year in 2014, I wrote about my favourite six Akina Nakamori（中森明菜）tunes, so I figured it was time to give the same sort of due to that other big aidoru, Seiko Matsuda（松田聖子）. As with the Nakamori list, the Seiko list was something that I didn't wrack my brains for days or hours over simply to keep myself relatively sane. Instead, I just went with which songs immediately came to mind when it has come to her career. She may have been active for 35 years but my most memorable Matsuda is within the first half of the 80s.
6. Tengoku no Kiss (天国のキッス）1983
Yep, couldn't get enough of this Haruomi Hosono（細野晴臣）-penned song which kept the technopop to a bare minimum, if there were any at all. To me, this was about as girlish as Seiko could get. From her plaintive vocals to the summery oh-so-pleasant arrangement, this song could provide enough heat and light to melt the ice off a Toronto winter sidewalk. I never mentioned this in the original article, but I first saw and heard Seiko performing "Tengoku no Kiss" on an episode of Fuji-TV's "Yoru no Hit Studio" in which the cameraman was apparently in quite the ambitious mood that night as he swooped down on the aidoru from all angles. Seiko-chan was more than up for the challenge, although the control booth was most likely gripped in fear, lest the camera smash into her face.
5. Sweet Memories (1983)
I didn't quite see an anime penguin in the same way again after hearing this song and seeing the famous Suntory commercial. This mix between an old 50s ballad and an 80s aidoru tune just got so much attention in our household because of those rentals of "Top 10" tapes and that Wah Yueh compilation tape containing the song. From the sax solo to Seiko's heartaching vocals, it would almost classify as a Mood Kayo.
4. Aoi Sangosho （青い珊瑚礁）1980
A bit surprising that I didn't mention this in the original article, but I first heard "Aoi Sangosho" on "Sounds of Japan", despite all those tapes of "Best 10" I went through. The first time I heard this, I was swept off my feet with that soaring arrangement. I couldn't ask for a better musical way to start off the summer with this one, and its timing of having it released in July 1980 was just perfect. My only memory of this song would be a teenaged Seiko-chan running happily along the beach in Okinawa.
3. Natsu no Tobira （夏の扉）1981
From here on end, the songs all fulfill a series of firsts when it comes to the Queen Aidoru of the early 80s. "Natsu no Tobira" was the very first Seiko song that I heard, thanks to those commercials I saw in Japan of her playing tennis. "Fresh, fresh, fresh" were the first words coming into my ears as I was introduced to the world of Seiko. And for the first time, I realized that Seiko didn't only have to be the name of a wristwatch. The song made for the ideal introduction to Japanese pop music so I was pretty darn happy when I saw that this was the song that she sang on the very first Kohaku Utagassen that I got to see here in Canada.
2. Komugi Iro no Mermaid （小麦色のマーメイド）1982
"Natsu no Tobira" may have been the very first Seiko song that I got to know, but the Yuming（ユーミン）-penned "Komugi Iro no Mermaid" was the very first single record that came into my possession later in 1982. Less bouncy than "Natsu no Tobira", "Komugi Iro no Mermaid" gradually grew onto me as that laid-back summery Seiko ballad, and I fondly remember putting the single onto the old stereo with that 45 rpm attachment.
1. Akai Sweet Pea （赤いスイートピー）1981
When it comes to my favourite Seiko-chan song, though, it would have to be this one. Another ballad by the one-and-only Yumi Matsutoya（松任谷由実）, there were plenty of hits provided for Seiko from Yuming under her pseudonym of Karuho Kureta（呉田軽穂）and lyricist Takashi Matsumoto（松本隆）, but for me, the pairing reached their peak with "Akai Sweet Pea". Seiko will be around for a good long time and if there were a retrospective on her long career, I think all directions would point to this romantic and nostalgic ballad. There is just something about it which would paint a picture of looking out a train and enjoying some wonderful scenery.
My favourites may be restricted to one half-decade, but I guess it goes to show that my image and musical recollection of Seiko Matsuda will always be more of her as the quintessential aidoru than as the later pop singer.