For tonight’s Unzipped♡ we’ll take a look back at Olivia’s musical career =). This look back is a special reminiscing for me and I hope you’ll take the time to read through and experience her music through the years as I’ve attempted to recreate the reactions and emotions I once felt in musical yesteryear<~. Also I’d be curious to hear any thoughts you may have on her ever evolving style and writing of the compositions herein as hers was quite a special brand of unique ＾ ＾。
Olivia originally burst onto the music scene as she debuted with the girl trio D&D in the mid 90’s but their brand of dance/pop wouldn’t fit Olivia’s personal taste in music for long and she would go onto embark as a solo artist after just a few releases by the group which included an album and a few single releases. In hindsight now, Olivia in “D&D” could be likened to the dynamic of Beyonce once being in Destiny’s Child as both would expand and find their truth niche in music over the years which would follow their departure from their beginnings in a trio. D&D’s sound was one of pure dance/pop and here are a couple of songs by them including an album track and a b-side which I always thought had a cute hook♥ to it! Even as far back as then, Olivia’s vocals really stood out in that early Amuro Namie w/ Super Monkeys kind of way and soon she’d have her chance to shine in a solo capacity.
~D&D “Love is a melody” mp3~
“LOVE IS A MELODY” is the title track from their full length album which utilizes both Japanese and English lyrics throughout its composition. High energy dance ♥!
~D&D “BE MY LOVER” mp3~
“BE MY LOVER” is entirely written in English but many of D&D’s other songs offer a mixture of both Japanese and English lyrics which was possibly more to cater towards Olivia at the time. This song actually reminds me of mid 90’s European pop.
A co-worker at the time when I was employed at a record store actually was Olivia’s neighbor for awhile and this came up when she saw one of her singles on our shelves…. and she was like…’I know who this is!’ ^-^. Apparently earlier my co-worker was living in Okinawa as her father was in the military and she had some amusing stories about Olivia including how she had her walls covered and would allow her friends to scribble and draw all over them! Fun flash back story! And just from learning this I could much more relate to how Olivia at even such a young age was so much a free spirit~* back then ^-^
My tiny D&D “collection” is comprised of just a single album and single release.
(all D&D scans above are from their debut album “Love is a Melody D&D memorial 1st~” booklet)
~my Olivia collection~
-singles collection w/ mini album “Trinka Trinka”-
-Original album “Synchronicity”-
-Olivia Clips DVD-
Olivia would later debut with her first solo effort “I.L.Y.~Yokubou~” (” I Love You~Desire~”) on February 3rd 1999. After hearing D&D my reaction to her first single was quite a surprise!! She had gone from cute high energy pop to a sound deeply rooted in rock. The result…..amazing and the birth of an artist in its early stages had just begun…
…”I.L.Y.~Yokubou~” remains as one of the most impressive debuts that I’ve heard from a solo artist and perhaps even more dramatic as I was quite ill prepared for such a transformation coming from her earlier releases within a pop trio. Following are a few pvs from her pv DVD collection “Video clips Olivia” (CTBR-92019) as well as her individual maxi singles which included first press DVDs.
~Olivia- “I.L.Y.~Yokubou~” (music video)~
This song has a seductive quality to it while still keeping its edge in place and this was just a prelude to what was heading our way from this very talented artist as she would take hold of the musical reigns herself just shortly thereafter.
Olivia’ 3rd single “Dear Angel” would mark the first musical input from her as she impressively wrote all of the music and also had a hand in the musical arrangement as well. Something really rare for an artist at this early stage of their career! Olivia would also pen an English version of this song which was also included on the single release as well as being responsible for writing the music for the coupling with song and helping with its arrangement.
The first press edition of “Dear Angel” also included a trading card (pictured left).
The moody and dark roots of Olivia’s songwriting were just starting to blossom here and take special note of her extraordinary vocal prowess!!!!….just prior to the chorus she is simply incredible!!!! It’s sort of like being hit by a big rig head on, in a musical sense =P!! Olivia’s vocals possess an ambiance of powerful control and range and as her releases progressed so did she vocally. She is simply amazing!
Dear Angel was released on October 6th, 1999.
~Olivia “Dear Angel” (music video)~
Early production of Olivia’s pvs as well as single release covers favored a bit of a commercialized glamor to them, something that could be easily and quickly dispelled once one listened to her actual songs…for the artist within was just getting started.
Olivia’ 4th single “Dress me Up” would provide the groundwork for what was to be expected from her from here on….dark, moody, and honest, some of just the few emotions that her music would engage with the listener head on from this point. “Dress me Up” features 3 songs, all bearing her talents as music writer and arranger with the track “So Beautiful” giving her the trifecta as an artist as she exclusively wrote the song’s music along with co-written lyrics and co-production. Also notable is her change in appearance which seems to favor a much more personal aura of herself rather than a possibly “overproduced” one instead. “Dress Me Up” was released on April 19th, 2000.
~Olivia “Dress Me Up” (music video)~
I just absolutely love this pv for “Dress me Up” as the blossoming of an artist is truly revealed…not just musically but also as aforementioned, in the sense of appearance as well.
Olivia’s 5th single “Dekinai” now has her in full control of her musical output as she’s involved in the songwriting, lyrics, and arrangement for all 3 tracks with notable exclusive credits in some aspects. “Dekinai” is one of my most favorite early releases by Olivia as the title track rages in emotion and power throughout its entire arrangement and the word “edge” is given its due to the full extent here. I would just like to re-emphasize how naturally vocally talented Olivia is and when coupled with her musical writing abilities the end result is one of extreme awe….and I truly hold a higher appreciation of what she’d been able to accomplish so early in her career…it’s just really impressive when you consider all aspects of her direct input.
~Olivia “Dekinai” (music video)~
Visually stimulating and radiant….here is the pv for “Dekinai”… !
Olivia would later release “Color of your spoon” on October 4th 2000 and after a rather lengthy hiatus she would return with the single “inspi’ REIRA (TRAPNEST) a little pain” on June 28th, 2006. (both singles pictured above as I skip ahead just a bit)
Olivia’s 6th mini album was on hold for months following its initial announcement for release earlier this year and finally surfaced on September 17th, 2008. Two editions were made available for this 6 song release with one including a bonus DVD with the pv for the track “Rain” while the other edition includes a Olivia art and photo booklet (first press edition only). While I would have loved to have gotten her booklet I ended up opting for the LE DVD edition as her pvs have only seen a single DVD collection release years ago making her more recent pvs commercially unavailable then.
Olivia’s music of late has been of a heavier and moody breed and “Trinka trinka” continues right where she left off with her more recent releases. What continues to impress is that Olivia not only is credited with writing or co-writing all lyrics and music for this release, but she also takes a hand in production and the arrangement of a few tracks as well. Only then does her true vision for her works remain unaltered by outside influences as has been the trend of her releases for the majority of her career and with that her personal involvement has continued to progress through the years making her “solo” status truly just that of an artist.
~Olivia “Trinka Trinka” mp3~
The title track “Trinka trinka” opens the mini album and it’s actually on the tamer side but all of Olivia’s trademark vocalization stylings are firmly in place here and from reading through her musical influences which have an impressively broad range you can really hear their inner workings here in a most delightful track. Her vocals have a particular “cute” edge here which isn’t always the case as often her tone opts for something much more powerful and aggressive but the approach here I find equally remarkable nonetheless. I’d call this a light form of J-Punk with lack for a better description at this moment. Great song!
~Olivia “Rain” (music video)~
Track 2 is titled “Rain” and since the bonus DVD contains the pv I chose to include the music video instead of the mp3 here.
The visuals for “Rain” are a psychedelic trip and they play the perfect compliment to the layers and wall of sound heard in the accompanying track. This is really Olivia at her best. Sung with such conviction and with much of the variety and nuances her vocals have to offer on display here, “Rain” takes its place as a heavy favorite on this album and the quirkiness of the pv itself only adds to the enjoyment. Okay the elf like thing is weirding me out a bit but the very way this pv was shot and laced with psychedelic imagery throughout is a delight in itself and enough to keep you watching.
~Olivia “Because” mp3~
“Because” has one of the sweetest verses heard on the album and whether you enjoy Olivia’s brand of vocals or not one thing is without a doubt true as evidenced here: Olivia possesses within her vocals the uncanny ability to convey emotion to its deepest and she delivers each lyric without compromise. “Because” builds beautifully from what initially sounds to be a ballad into a strong mid tempo rock composition and has the listener on an emotional roller coaster till its very conclusion which closes as softly at it opened with only the subtle tappings of piano notes like gentle footsteps.
~Olivia “Collecting Sparkles” mp3~
Listening to “Collecting sparkles” reminds me a bit of Bjork and Kate Bush, the former being a noted favorite of Olivia. Olivia’s vocal control has always been astonishing to me personally and the vocal arrangement here carries the song for the most part with an aura of a sort of floating feeling….for lack of a better description for what would otherwise possibly be a much too ordinary composition for Olivia. “Dreamy…” 🙂
~Olivia “Miss you” mp3~
“Miss you” stands as the most elegant track here and it has a most interesting rhythmic feeling as a lively beat compliments a most sound ballad structure creating a conflicting dynamic. The more I listen to Olivia, the more I realize how her vocals really are that of a well conducted orchestrated instrument…more than just following notes and harmonies hers is of a rare breed indeed.
~Olivia “Your smile” mp3~
The album closes with the track “Your smile” which was originally slated for release under the title “Real love” earlier in the year. “Your smile” bookends “Trinka Trinka” in grand fashion being what I consider to be the best 2 tracks on the album. And for this brand and styling of psychedelic rock, simply no one does it any better as “Your smile” resonates as a stand alone single bringing with it a high level of infectious groovy~ness to tide you over. 🙂
Released on April 15th, 2009 OLIVIA returned with a new single offering in “Sailing free” which features 3 rock flavored compositions and while Olivia has long been blessed with a piercing falsetto…to light vibrato all cradled in a most distinct character, here she continues to amaze with her depth of vocal control ability which till this day is one of the most powerful heard in the pop/rock genre.
Olivia has always had an amazingly imaginative and creative mind going beyond her musical writing credits which have spanned most of her career, here’s a tiny sampling of her artwork……a bit which is included with her first press edition in the form of the sticker to the right.
What really caught me totally off guard as I was in no way expecting this….(lol I probably should have paid more attention to the releases’ description when I first ordered it! 😛 ) is a special collaboration with Inoran formerly of Luna Sea fame~…….they being truly one of the most accomplished and celebrated hard rock groups in Japan’s history! Inoran appears courtesy of King Records as has co-written the music for Olivia’s title track “Sailing free” and as an amazing treat he also performs the guitar and bass tracks on the single as well!! AmaZING!!!
~my Luna Sea collection~
~Olivia “Sailing free” (music video)~
Here’s the pv for “Sailing free” just above and it’s a most visually creative music video as it captures a sort of a “puppet” play with the props alongside the band members and Olivia who are represented as themselves amongst a sea of visual effects~. I personally prefer Olivia with a much more natural hairstyle versus the one she has in this video clip which is sort of wild!!..perhaps putting it mildly! =) The single’s cover for instance (top of this section) is most breathtaking and beautiful…..I so would have preferred her to have kept a similar look for her pv as well….but it’s really a little thought of mine as I love how the look of the pv collaborates with the music♪♪~ track.
All three tracks are purely rock tunes with each having a most distinctly different personality…….”Sailing free” as the powerfully driven rhythm……”Love Love Love” the *daydreamy* rock ballad..and “Undress” as a mid tempo balance between them~. All three tracks feature lyrics written by Olivia with “Sailing free” being co-written while the latter two tracks “Love Love Love” and “Undress” being penned by Olivia exclusively…….the music to all three tracks were co-written by Olivia and as aforementioned the title track features a most special guest in Inoran! Often times her lyrics feature a blend of Japanese and English intermingled throughout her compositions often touching on sensual and always very visual themes and while the title track does follow this formula…tracks 2 & 3 are written in English entirely for this release.
~Olivia “Love Love Love” mp3~
~Olivia “Undress” mp3~
In addition to the pv for “Sailing free”, the accompanying DVD also includes a most interesting “short movie” clip which is somewhat like a documentary as it shows Olivia building a most…(lacking a better word here..)..*interesting* gadget. =) It’s one built on a specific basis of love and *kisses* under very specific conditions which Olivia goes over before its construction~. The “-Making of Zapper-” clip gives the DVD a total running time of approximately 13 minutes along with the pv and a very cute moment occurs when Olivia attempts to have her heart shape receive a *kiss* from a very special and cuddly cute friend of hers~! (*´∀｀*)………..
…..doggie though has a few other ideas which include gnawing instead!! 😄 Kawaii deshou~!
Hmmm…as far as the final reaction when Zapper is finally completed and tested………..well erm it’s..a very enthusiastic reaction for sure! I’m just not quite sure of what *sensations* he’s quite feeling there!…(^q^) If you happen to meet Olivia please do ask to be zapped by her *Zapper* just so that we’ll know what this guy was feeling there! ＝）