Archive for April, 2006

Hins Cheung: Spring.Summer.Autumn.Winter

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Track 1: 过云雨 Guo Yun Yu (Rain of Passing Cloud)
The first radio plug from the album. It’s very different from his previous songs. Instead of powerful ballad, this song is simple, serene and folk-like, a bit like Stefanie Sun’s “Yu Jian (Meeting)”. I was surprise at how this song dominated many Chinese music chart. For me, this song is made beautiful by Hins’s vocal.

Track 2: Hurt So Bad
Composed and written by Hins, it’s a theme song of a movie and the first version titled “拥抱每一刻 Yong Bao Mei Yi Ke” was recorded long before this album was out. I feel nothing special about this song when I first listened to it, but I’ve grown to love this song more and more. The ad-libs are good and it’s as if I can feel the hurting while listening to it. However, the lyrics is nothing compared to his previous “无能为力 Wu Neng Wei Li”, “Dear You” and “断点 Duan Dian”.

Track 3: 有一首歌 You Yi Shou Ge (There’s A Song)
Hins singing rock? I was as shocked as you when I heard of that. Well, this song is ok, just not great.

Track 4: 分手前的雨天 Fen Shou Qian De Yu Tian (The Rainy Day Before Breaking Up)
I bought this album few weeks ago, this song sounds so boring to me. Maybe it’s due to the minor key in the chorus, it sounds very 80s-like. And I started skipping this song. However, when I heard this song on radio again today, I found that I like it.

Track 5: 云里的月光 Yun Li De Yue Guang (Moonlight in the Cloud)
I prefer this one compared to the previous track. Nice ballad about mother love. I especially like the piano arrangement. However, the little boy calling “mummy” really does ruin the song. I feel like editing it out when I listen.

Track 6: 不要 Bu Yao (Don’t Want)
When I started to get bored with the ballads, this song came as a surprise. Alternative rock song. That’s it! This is the real Hins! This is my favourite song from the album and it’s exactly what I expect from him.

Track 7: 随你 Sui Ni (Up To You)
An alternative ballad duet between Hins and Ivana Wong. Its Cantonese version “手望 Sao Mong” was released on Ivana’s “I Love My Name” album. I can actually understand why is this song remade and included here. The song is simply beautiful. I prefer the Cantonese lyrics even though the Mandarin lyrics is good too. Then I realized that she actually write the Mandarin lyrics first.

Track 8: 如果我 Ru Guo Wo (If I)
Composed by Ivana Wong and therefore it’s very Ivana-styled. It’s soft and comfortable, and I just love the feeling of the songs. Hins said that there was once he called Ivana to chat and he cried on the phone. That night, Ivana wrote this song. Looking at the lyrics, I wonder if it describes the relationship of both of them. 🙂

Track 9: 偷故事的人 Tou Gu Shi De Ren (Story Stealer)
This was originally a church song when Hins sang it in Cantonese, titiled “遇见神 (Meeting God)”. Beautiful melody composed by Kam Pui Tat. Like track 7, I too prefer the Cantonese lyrics which is much more meaningful.

Track 10: 绝顶爱情 Jue Ding Ai Qing (Absolute Love)
The best is saved till the last! This jazz duet between Hins and his father is splendid. It suits both his and his father’s voices so much and I absolutely love the jazz piano and guitar. Really hope that Hins will sing more jazz songs in the future.

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Hins has been trying something new in this album, like rock and folk. This time he has collaborated with different composers and producers. Unlike his previous album, this album is more easy-listening and comfortable.

In my opinion, the album is good, but not great enough for Hins’s standard. Most of the songs that I like from this album are those composed by himself. If it wasn’t of him, or if I wasn’t a fans, I’ll be satisfied with this album. However, I’m so used to his style and his previous album “Am/pm” is so good, this album has led me to some disappointment.

It was due to the poor sales response of his previous album “Am/pm” that Hins decided to change his style of music. Obviously, the songs in this album are more easily accepted by the general pop-music listener. Still, for me “Am/pm” is his best album so far. Hopefully by the next album, Hins will go back to the music that he really wants to do, because I miss songs like “眼睛 Yan Jing” and “Envy” so much. Also, hopefully there will be more compositions of himself in his next album.

Recommended tracks: 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10

Rainie Yang: Meeting Love (Yu Shang Ai)

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Her debut album wasn’t bad. However, this album left me disappointed. Out of 10 songs, I only like 5 of them.

I’ll start with the week ones.

Track 1, this is too bubblegum pop, boring and repetitive. The same goes to track 7. Track 9 sounds like a lame remixed song. I have to skip it everytime I reach this song. Just can’t stand it.

Track 5, a ballad is boring as well, it’s too lacking and plain. Track 6 is a Korean song cover, also a sample of Edward Elgar’s “Salut D’Amour”. Out of all the samples of classical songs, only very few of them impress me, this one neither. And come on, it sounds like she’s trying to hard to be cute.

Now, I’m going to the tracks that I like. Track 2 and track 10 are like “Ai Mei”. Both have nice melody but I think Rainie has used too much falsetto in her singing. It makes her vocal sounds very shaky. It’s better in track 8 where she uses less falsetto.

On the other hand, track 3 is good. I love this song immediately on my first listen. The melody itself is very nice and catchy. And Rainie sounds more natural here compared to other fast-tempo songs in the album.

Track 4 will be my favorite ballad in the album, along with track 10. Vocal wise, this is the best song. This is the only song that shows me that Rainie can sing. I don’t know if that is tuned using equipments, but the high notes in the brigde do raise my hair. Anyway, the voice control can be better. She needs to learn to sing with her chest voice instead of just shouting.

As much as I like her personality, the quality of this album has gone worse than her debut. Her vocal in ballads does improve a bit, but this album looks like a rush production.

Track listing:

1. 甜心咒 Tian Xin Zhou (Sweetheart Spell)
2. 可爱 Ke Ai (Cute)
3. 遇上爱 Yu Shang Ai (Meeting Love)
4. 左边 Zuo Bian (Left Side)
5. 找不到 Zhao Bu Dao (Can’t Find)
6. 庆祝 Qing Zhu (Celebrate)
7. 芥末巧克力 Jie Mo Qiao Ke Li (Wasabi Chocolate)
8. 失眠的睡美人 Shi Mian De Shui Mei Ren (Sleeping Beauty With Insomnia)
9. 自然而然 Zi Ran Er Ran (Naturally)
10. 过敏 Guo Min (Over-sensitive)

Recommended tracks: 3, 5, 10, 2

XL: XL

Friday, April 28th, 2006

Chinese Linkin Park. That’s the first thing that came to my head when I first heard and saw XL in “Devil Besides You”. They got a minor part playing themselves in the series and performed [黯然銷魂] and [美麗的回憶]. Right away, [黯然銷魂] drew me like a big huge magnet. I was going nuts looking for their album because yesasia did not carry it for awhile and google-ing “XL” was not the brightest idea either. So finally, that long awaited day came. The moment yesasia showed their album is available for purchase, I clicked “Buy” without even thinking twice. In the sea of bubblegummy, melodramatic, and hip hop wannabe Chinese pop songs, finding XL is like revealing a treasure chest filled with gold and gems.

Notable tracks:
This album is filled with headbangers and without doubt, [黯然銷魂] is its best track. The combination of explosive electric guitar, drums and the perfect amount of spins makes this piece the ultimate headbanger. If you’re driving long distance on a boring highway, this is definitely the song you want to be blasting outloud in the car besides Smashing Pumpkins. I would also highly recommend [學校] and [小調吶喊]. The latter is sung in Hokkian, which I find awesome because it gives the song more pow. [黑色記憶] and [午夜] are good but not as hard as the first three I mentioned before. [時空探險] is an interesting track because it seems to be slightly out of place. It’s more of a ravey, techno-ish song with its repetitive lyric and beats. It’s a good party song for sure. Every bad boy has a soft side and so does XL. [美麗的回憶], [順其自然], and [三角] are their very nice and beautifully done ballads. [三角] is actually an acoustic piece which highlights their vocal quality. In overall, my rating for this album performance is definitely 5 out of 5 stars!

In a nutshell: Not eating out for a week: Saves $ 20. Buying XL album: Priceless

Track Listing:
1. 序曲 Xu Qu [Intro]
2. 黑色記憶 Hei Se Jiyi [Black Memory]
3. 午夜 Wuye [Midnight]
4. 黯然銷魂 Anran Xiao Hun [Gloomy Melted Soul]
5. 順其自然 Shunqi Jiran [Go Along with Nature]
6. 小調吶喊 Xiao Diao Nahan [A Little Cheering Tune]
7. 時空探險 Shikong Tan Xian [Spending Time Looking for Danger]
8. 寄生蟲 Jisheng Chong [Parasite]
9. 學校 Xuexiao [School]
10. 電話留給我 Dianhua Liu Gei Wo [Give Me Your Phone Number]
11. 美麗的回憶 Meili De Huiyi [Beautiful Memory]
12. 三角 Sanjiao [Triangle]

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