Tue, Jun 26, 2012 - Page 12 News List

CD reviews: Taiwan

Encountering Happiness (遇見快樂), by Winnie Hsin (辛曉琪); Mr. Jazz A Song for You, by Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰); The People (人), by Dog G (大支)

By Andrew C.C. Huang and David Chen  /  Staff reporters

Encountering Happiness (遇見快樂), by Winnie Hsin (辛曉琪)

Encountering Happiness (遇見快樂)

Winnie Hsin (辛曉琪)

Dream Come True Music

Mando-pop “therapeutic diva” (療傷歌后) Winnie Hsin (辛曉琪) has re-emerged after a five-year hiatus with the quasi-gospel album Encountering Happiness (遇見快樂). Whether eulogizing spiritual tranquility or waxing poetic about happiness, Hsin sings songs that reflect her newfound contentment.

Serving as a producer for the first time, Hsin enlisted A-list songwriters such as Chris Hou (侯志堅) and Ma Yu-fen (馬毓芬) to craft 10 tracks that drive home the message of happiness. The title track, Encountering Happiness, is a mid-tempo, folksy gem that sees Hsin jettisoning the heart-wrenching vocals that marked her early hit ballads such as Awakening (領悟) and Scent (味道) to adopt soothing, laid-back vocals. “Realizing the truth about happiness, I will hold on,” she croons.

Silent Love Song (無聲情歌) pairs Hsin with veteran rocker Chyi Chin (齊秦) in a contagious ballad about mid-life romance. Another highlight is the Bossa Nova gem Leisurely and Carefree (悠由自在) in which she lets loose with flirtatious vocals, revealing a rarely-seen coquettish side.

Hsin’s new album follows in the footsteps of Wan Fang’s (萬芳) Let’s Not Grieve Anymore (我們不要傷心了) from two years ago, with both singers shedding romantic angst and concentrating on affirming emotional bliss.

— ANDREW C.C. HUANG

Mr. Jazz A Song for You

Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰)

Warner Music

Mando-pop “therapeutic diva” (療傷歌后) Winnie Hsin (辛曉琪) has re-emerged after a five-year hiatus with the quasi-gospel album Encountering Happiness (遇見快樂). Whether eulogizing spiritual tranquility or waxing poetic about happiness, Hsin sings songs that reflect her newfound contentment.

Serving as a producer for the first time, Hsin enlisted A-list songwriters such as Chris Hou (侯志堅) and Ma Yu-fen (馬毓芬) to craft 10 tracks that drive home the message of happiness. The title track, Encountering Happiness, is a mid-tempo, folksy gem that sees Hsin jettisoning the heart-wrenching vocals that marked her early hit ballads such as Awakening (領悟) and Scent (味道) to adopt soothing, laid-back vocals. “Realizing the truth about happiness, I will hold on,” she croons.

Silent Love Song (無聲情歌) pairs Hsin with veteran rocker Chyi Chin (齊秦) in a contagious ballad about mid-life romance. Another highlight is the Bossa Nova gem Leisurely and Carefree (悠由自在) in which she lets loose with flirtatious vocals, revealing a rarely-seen coquettish side.

Hsin’s new album follows in the footsteps of Wan Fang’s (萬芳) Let’s Not Grieve Anymore (我們不要傷心了) from two years ago, with both singers shedding romantic angst and concentrating on affirming emotional bliss.

— ANDREW C.C. HUANG

The People (人)

Dog G (大支)

Uloud Music (有料音樂)

Taiwanese hip-hop is a sounding a little more grown-up these days, judging by this latest album from one of the genre’s leading proponents, Dog G (大支). The Tainan-born rapper, real name Tseng Kuan-jung (曾冠榕), broke onto the scene as the faithful sidekick of the country’s best-known hip-hop artist, MC Hot Dog (熱狗).

When they started over a decade ago, the pair were something of a novelty in Taiwan’s underground music scene, being among the first genuine “local” rappers, as opposed to a revolving door of pretty-boy Chinese Americans from Los Angeles that enter Taiwan’s Mando-pop scene.

On The People (人), Dog G has moved away from the strictly hard-edged beats and youthful bravado of his debut album Lotus from the Tongue (舌粲蓮花, 2002), drawing from an eclectic collection of sounds that range from smooth R’N’B and electro-rock to dub and Taiwanese folk.

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