The first song that I'd like to present here is Track 2, "Modotte Oite, Watashi no Jikan"（戻っておいて、私の時間....Please Come Back, My Time) which was her debut single. According to Takeuchi's own comments in "Expressions" for her official first song was that it all came about from a purely chance meeting with the composer Kazuhiko Kato（加藤和彦） in front of an elevator in a studio. Kato had been searching for someone to sing this commercial song for the Isetan Department Store, and apparently the 23-year-old Takeuchi was the one. With words by Kazumi Yasui（安井かずみ）, this tune, like "September", brings together a couple of eras from American music...big band here, disco there. Hearing phrases like "I'm dancing, singing, I'm calling you, I'm cookin' pie, I'm happy, too...", I kinda wonder whether Yasui had been channeling June Cleaver from "Leave It To Beaver" in domestic bliss. The next few singles by her would follow this retro-contempo style; I wonder what would have happened if that chance meeting hadn't come to pass?
"Beginning" was released on November 25 1978, the same day that her debut single came out. For a lot of these veteran singers who have basically become one with the Japanese pop cultural soundscape (Seiko Matsuda, Miyuki Nakajima, Kazumasa Oda, etc.), it's usually interesting to hear their first albums. Takeuchi's debut album stands out in that it was obvious that she was testing out her voice on different styles. As a reviewer for the album in "Japanese City Pop" pointed out, the album came out as a proto version of the singer. "Beginning" wasn't all about that retro style I had initially pegged her with, though. The first track is "Goodbye, Summer Breeze", an AOR/City Pop ballad by Machiko Ryu and Tetsuji Hayashi（竜真知子・林哲司）, which sounds somewhat like an Air Supply song. Also, for this track as well as for a number of others, Takeuchi had some American session musicians helping her out such as guitarist Lee Ritenour, bassist Mike Porcaro (from TOTO) and drummer Jim Keltner during the album's partial recording at Larrabee Sound in Los Angeles.
|Mariya Takeuchi -- Beginning|