Yo Ho, WeRCatz here!
In 1981, Japanese singer Mariya Takeuchi went on hiatus after the release of her fifth studio album Portrait. She felt exhausted and suffered a sore throat. A year later, she married fellow musician Tatsuro Yamashita of “Ride On Time” fame.
Since then she remained in the background doing backing vocals for some of Yamashita’s compositions and songs. She also wrote some songs in the meantime. Then in 1984, Mariya released her sixth album Variety as a comeback album. One should note that Takeuchi’s first five albums had songs written by other artists, but Variety would be the first to have all songs written by Takeuchi herself while the arrangements were skillfully made by her husband.
Originally, Variety did modestly well with success and Takeuchi was back on the scene.
Flashforward to 2017. A YouTube user called “Plastic Lover” posted an eight-minute remix version of one song from Variety called “Plastic Love” and sparked international fame for Takeuchi. Many artists that work in vaporwave and city pop cited that “Plastic Love” is the best pop song in the world. Many new artists in the city pop genre cite the song as their gateway to music.
Let’s take a look at a few tracks:
“Mou Ichido” translates to “Once Again.” This song is about a relationship trying again towards happiness. The lyrics suggest that Takeuchi will try again as a singer since her hiatus is over.
“Mersey Beat de Utawasete” is a song dedicated to The Beatles. The song has that Beatles style and is quite catchy.
“Plastic Love” is a song about a woman who lost the man she loved. Takeuchi wanted to make this a dance song with a city pop vibe. She didn’t realize that this song would propel her to international fame 33 years after its initial release! On top of this, this song has an extended club mix and a new remix released in 1985. Producer Yamashita was also behind the arrangements and made a classic.
Variety had the 30th anniversary in 2014 where it was re-released with added tracks like the unreleased “Aka no Enameru,” the karaoke version of “Plastic Love,” and the previously unreleased karaoke version of “Mersey Beat de Utawasete.” Tower Records has announced that Variety will release a reprint of “Plastic Love” as a 12-inch single record on November 3, 2021 (Record Day!); they will also release reprints of Takeuchi’s albums Variety and Request on November 3, 2021, as well.