Tonight’s Unzipped features a very dear and special time in J-Pop♥, I hope you enjoy it ^^*!!
From a Taiwanese pop group sensation to the break-out J-pop group the Black Biscuits and then back to Taiwan and then back to Japan, Vivian Hsu’s music career has been a adventurous one but how about her J-Music career as a soloist in Japan? However I’m getting way ahead of myself so let’s go back, waaaay back to the very J-music beginning…..
It was late ’97 when a flash of J-Pop goodness appeared on Japan’s horizon in the form of a most unlikely group of members and in a time when “idol” groups were just about to break free from their brief hiatus of unpopularity there came a group comprised of 2 comedians and a very very cute Taiwanese model (note: fourth member Keddy who’s second from the left in the photo just below didn’t join the group until the release of their 4th single and full length album in the Summer of ’99).
“Black Biscuits” debuted with their single “Stamina” in December of ’97 and the formula of odd couple meets model proved to be a successful match winning them instant popularity and with one of them named “Amazon” one can only imagine the treat we were in for! Their name itself…”Black Biscuits” was an amusing play on words adopted from the other…. um biscuit group =D. The Black Biscuits were Vivian Hsu, Nanami Kyoya, Amazon, and Keddy.
~my Black Biscuits collection~
Black Biscuits released 4 singles, 1 album, & a video clip compilation which offered a fun look inside of what makes them tick plus production footage with lots of wacky moments! The videos chapters include 1. Promotion Video 2. How To Dance and 3. Promotion Video Making. Yes! ‘How To Dance’! :O One may wonder if a comedic duo can really hold up their end of vocal demands and they’re actually really good…(a song such as “Choice” is just one example of vocal prowess within the group and also offers a more serious side to the group) of course you have to keep in mind that this whole project was based on the idea of having fun in a “new” element. All members were also active in lyric writing with Kyoya acting also as producer. The special blend of sometimes offbeat vocals provided by the male duo being coupled with the silky smoothness of Vivian Hsu’s voice creates such an unusual and powerful dynamic and their music truly strives on this aspect as they venture from the sounds of mid temple r&b to boogie wonderland to at last disco inferno!
Vivian Hsu was literally learning to speak Japanese at the time of these releases and on her solo MV collection “Tenshi Xiang” there’s some great footage of her preparing in her dressing room with lyric notes as she tries over and over to memorize the sound of the words just moments before going on stage for a fan event! What this presents is Vivian Hsu having such a cute way of articulating some lyrics and it truly becomes a very significant charm point of her earliest J-releases. Black Biscuit’s album “Life” includes a few bonus tracks which showcases Vivian Hsu singing her parts in her native language instead of Japanese in exclusive alternate album versions which adds a really nice touch. And I must add it’s so cute to hear her rap!!…. as she shines this way on a few tracks too! ^-^ Her little rap in “Relax” reminds me a bit of Amuro~chan’s rap in “Chase the Chance”…just add a little bit of Red Bull and shake well into cute overdrive!
Don’t fear the disco inferno!!! (^o^)
Black Biscuits “Timing” mp3
This is one of my favorite songs by Black Biscuits and if you enjoyed this song, other Black Biscuit songs that I recommend would be “Bye-Bye”, “Relax”, and “Romantic.”
Now I first became aware of Vivian Hsu & music when I received a promo single of “8月のバレンタイン” (“Hachigatsu no valentine”/ “August Valentine”) and this song represents truly pure J-pop untouched by Western influences in its cutest form. I just adore this song so much!!!!!!!!!!!!
~Vivian Hsu “Hachigatsu no valentine” mp3~
Infectious melody… just perfect!!
And here we’ll scratch upon the visual surface as I’ve managed to transfer my VHS…. yup! my Vivian Hsu music video VHS =O to digital at long last!~! =) AS aforementioned it’s titled “Tenshi Xiang” and sadly this MV gem of yesteryear never made its way to DVD or elsewhere as far as I’m aware so albeit that a VHS’s appearance will be a cut below the digital media world, it’s really the very best that I can do for now… you know unless Toshiba decides to one day at long last give this MV collection its long due arrival onto DVD or beyond although that doesn’t look very likely as this VHS is quite old now. =(
~my “first generation” Vivian Hsu music collection~
~my “first generation” Vivian Hsu music collection~ =)
..I seemed to have forgotten her second J-Pop album xD okay there it is….!
For tonight though, we’ll be focusing solely on Vivian Hsu’s “Tenshi Xiang” music video collection VHS and we’ll save her early first gen. albums and single for a later date.
And note that she definitely released more music after 1998, however being that I’ve already posted about all of her latter releases here in individual posts in the past, I didn’t include them in these photos/post so as not to double dip too much. If you’d like to see her music releases dated after 1998, you can search “Vivian Hsu” in the search box located atop/right of this blog ^^.
“Tenshi Xiang” was released on November 26th, 1998 under the Toshiba EMI label and has a running time of approximately 32 minutes. It includes 7 MVs, however I must warn that 3 of them are edited versions which run only a little over 2 minutes each for some odd reason and most regrettably this is the case for her MV for “100 Carrot no namida” which isn’t only a really wonderful song… but also quite the sexy MV for sure!! This VHS also features these fun little interlude tidbits in between some of the MVs which really shows the humorous and candid side of Vivian Hsu, a real gem~* from this video ^^.
In any case, this look back into the J-Pop Vivian Hsu vault is one to wax nostalgia w/ as the style of music videos alone, will speak volumes as to how they were directed back then, all the while revealing Vivian Hsu at her earliest stages of learning the Japanese language and just how it translated to this initial venture into J-Pop and what’s really cute and notable as well is how much you can hear her carefully enunciating the yet foreign Japanese lyrics in these songs =). Sometimes whimsical, sometimes upbeat…. these songs are really sweet~♥ lol I actually didn’t intend to rhyme there how cheesy was that xD! =P
And let’s face it, Vivian Hsu is just plain adorable♥ isn’t she!~! Sexy too, however that may have to wait for a later day as she also released quite the racy shashinshuu during her early modeling days.
~Vivian Hsu “Tenshi Xiang” (VHS MV collection)~
And below, just a bit of caps to highlight all that’s in store for you from this long out of print music video VHS collection~ ^^. And to be sure, yes that first music video is actually shot that way, all sort of blurry like =).