Well, some mere days after I wrote about Seiko Matsuda（松田聖子）celebrating a birthday, I only found out that songbird Mariya Takeuchi（竹内まりや）is having her 62nd birthday today! I will have to thank that chance encounter with a tweet by a Mariya fan for informing me of the auspicious day today.
There was a momentary quandary, though. For a fellow like me who has collected a lot of her albums including a couple of BEST compilations, I was rather wondering if there were any songs left that I could really talk about by Takeuchi. Giving a Gibbs slap up the back of my head, I found out that there was at least one tune from her old days that I had yet to cover.
Not only that, but it was a tune that I had never heard of before! Ironically enough, the cover for the single 45" is something that I have seen countless times over the years, and I consider it to be one of the iconic images of Mariya. A cute beaming lass in a pink outfit and white sneakers? I can look at that all day! The cover is for her 7th single "Ichigo no Yuuwaku" (Strawberry Temptation) which was released back in April 1981.
Listening to the song for the first time, I'm sure that there will be further insights to bubble out in the years to come. However, initially speaking, I have to say that "Ichigo no Yuuwaku" comes off as cute as that cover photo with a melody that has that mix of her old-style bubblegum pop and an aidoru sensibility. I can imagine someone like the aforementioned Seiko-chan tackling this one just as easily, and perhaps it could have indeed done better on the charts than this original which only got to No. 80. Interestingly enough, Takeuchi had nothing to do with the creation of the song at all. It was actually a couple of other songwriting masters that took care of it, lyricist Takashi Matsumoto（松本隆）and composer Tetsuji Hayashi（林哲司）, and they seemed to have gotten the Mariya aesthetic quite nicely.
"Ichigo no Yuuwaku" was also a track on the singer's 5th album "Portrait" from October 1981. In any case, Happy Birthday to Mariya!