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.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Mariya Takeuchi -- University Street

Ahh...just one word away from being representative of one of Toronto's major avenues, Mariya Takeuchi's(竹内まりや)"University Street" was her 2nd album from May 1979. I think probably out of all of her album covers, the one for "University Street" is the most attractive one for me since it has the young Ms. Takeuchi looking very much the attractive co-ed attending some sort of college or university somewhere in California.

A couple of tracks from the album have already been profiled: the nostalgic-sounding "Dream of You" and the dreamy 50s ballad "Namida no One-Sided Love"(涙のワンサイデッド・ラブ), the latter of which I have put up again through the above video.

My overall impression of "University Street" is that it didn't strike me as having a "freshman-exploring-university" sort of melodic theme within the songs; it was more of a continuation of the brand of American pop music of the 1970s that she first brought in with her debut album of "Beginning" in the previous year. The lyrics by various writers including Takeuchi herself seemed to adhere more closely to the feelings of a young lady going through the summer with classmates-turned-buddies and romance. 

The album starts off with the short and sweet "On The University Street" which has that appealing 70s radio pop that I used to know...those twee trumpets even had me reminiscing over an old Beatles song. Takeuchi took care of words and music here.

Speaking about reminiscing, the bouncy opening to "Omoide no Summer Days"(想い出のサマーデイズ...Summer Days of Our Memories)which was concocted by Machiko Ryu and Tetsuji Hayashi(竜真知子・林哲司), sounds so Captain & Tennille that I had to check the credits to make sure that neither the Captain nor Tennille had anything to do with it. Mariya and her co-ed buddies probably were just having some fun and sun on the beach in the late 1970s with this one.

The only thing Mariya's missing here is a Starbuck's
Caffe Latte!

(couldn't find the Mariya version but
here is the version by Bonoff)

Singer-songwriter Karla Bonoff was a singer that I also used to hear with some level of frequency on radio stations such as CKEY and CHFI back in my school days. And she was the one who wrote and composed "Isn't It Always Love?". I'm not sure whether this had been created specifically for Mariya or whether Mariya was doing a cover version, but her performance of this song which straddles country and pop music had me thinking of that old timey radio. And kudos to her English delivery as well.

"J-Boy" may have been part of a 1979 album, but this song reminded me a lot of some of the pop-with-some-rock stuff that came out in the 1980s. Perhaps there is something in there that can have me thinking of Linda Ronstadt and Kenny Loggins. There is nothing remotely connected with Ivy League's more of a road trip across the States. Singer-songwriter Masamichi Sugi(杉真理)wrote and composed this one.

Interesting song here with "Blue Horizon". Written and composed by old Sugar Babe buddies, Taeko Ohnuki and Tatsuro Yamashita(大貫妙子・山下達郎), the melancholy lyrics of losing a love are backed up by some chipper and familiar sounds via Yamashita. I say familiar since that happy horn section just screams turn-of-the-70s Tats. I guess because of that arrangement, there is also a feeling of City Pop in there as well. The song might deal with the aftermath of a breakup but it sounds like Mariya will bounce back quite happily.

To finish off, this is the last track, appropriately titled "Goodbye, University". The sentimental lyrics were provided by Mariya with music (and backing vocals) by Tatsushi Umegaki(梅垣達志). I can just imagine a montage video accompanying this song with Mariya finally donning the cap and gown. Probably not a dry eye in the house.

University AVENUE, Toronto

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