Sunday, April 21, 2013

All About Love - Jam Hsiao

   Some time ago I promised the review of this album and somehow other evil things were coming my way. Well, here it is, not the actual review but just my quick thoughts on this.

   I purchased this as a 3D version (that is album+bonus CD+live DVD). And I don't regret a single penny spent on that. I knew beforehand what to expect since I listened to the album online before and I watched some live cams on YT.

   The album opens the powerful Holmes (福爾摩) with lyrics penned by Mayday's very Ashin and with song composed by Jam. During the concert he had to sing the chorus here. 
Actually I like the live album better, because I have some weak spot for live performances and before I jump into some singer bandwagon, I always check how he/she fares live. Some fail miserably, some sound even better. That doesn't mean All About Love is bad, no, au contraire! With one of his previous albums I had one problem - in some songs the music was too loud dampening his voice, and some songs were badly arranged, despite being little cute songs that were butchered this way.
This album is clear in sound, and live concert - damn, the boy has enormous power in his voice despite being quite frail in a bodyframe. Just compare with some *cough*random*cough* Vic Zhou:

Yeah, OK, I had to do this^^'
   I won't lie I don't like Holmes. I do. Very much do. But since I'm hopelessly a snoozefest fan, I tend to judge vocalists after ballads. This is why I instantly liked 悲愛 / Love with sorrow from the bonus CD. 

   The whole album does not have a clear feel, it's neither rock, neither pop, nor ballad. It's just an interesting amalgam of styles (even retro funky dance) like 兄弟我說 (Hey Brother).
Also, very difficult to sing 如果 was rendered live perfectly and while watching I felt all those emotions that were supposed to be delivered. 
Next after Holmes is 爸爸 (Father) that starts as slow song just to erupt by the end of it. Next one, Marry Me is a ballad with quite weird chorus part with words playing on sounds.
Number 4, that is 不正常 (Unusual) is fast tempo rockish song, with catchy chorus, but what comes after this is 180 degrees different. 活在故事里 (Story) is a mixture of cabaret vibes and funk ending with... some kiddo singing.  
   Title song 以愛之名 (All About Love) is a hypnotic ballad, sung on deep tones. Next, the mentioned earlier 如果 (If), difficult ballad in irregular rhythm and tempo, with leading piano and hypnotic string section is probably my favorite song from the album. Nr 10 純金打造 (Golden Love) may be called as power ballad, yet the little gem is the last one 你知道嗎 (Do you know) arranged on guitar as the leading instrument which I liked especially live, the song being ideal buckle to the whole album. And after slightly dampened Golden Love this one is lively, full of optimism and normal arrangement.

   One more nice thing about those songs - not a one ends in the same way, as I mentioned earlier. There is one distinctive ending for each and every one of those songs. Which is great, because it shows that song was composed not as Part 1-chorus-Part2-chorus-chorus-Instrumental Intro-chorus schematic frame, but as an individual piece.

Trust me, you won't get bored with this album.

My next albums on the list? Mr. Jazz and Wild Dreams