Reviews written by ~vanessa.anne~
Rainie's Proclamation – Not Yet A Woman (CD+DVD) (Special Edition)(1)Our Price: US$22.29January 27, 2009 Proclamation: Excellent
I admit I am surprised at the lack of favorable reviews for this release! I have all of Rainie's previous albums and this is the only one I have ever played more than a few times (I did like her debut album when it first released, but it's not even as good as this one is to me...). Her last album specifically was a huge dissapointment for me personally.
I LOVE her new look (she finally looks her age...) and I think her sound is on it's way to the true potential of her vocal strengths. She's very talented, and this album is letting her demonstrate that in unique ways for her. I wouldn't have purchased more music from her if it stayed as before...now? I find I listen to this album frequently and remain impressed. I also am eager to watch her further develop.
As for WHY I like the music on this CD so much, it's just more refined and mature. The orchastration behind her vocals is more lush and rich. With the exception of track 3, which is still too bouncy for my personal tastes (although to be fair, she hits every single note of a rather complicated melody...), the songs all join into the most cohesive-sounding album she's yet to release. Her voice flows from song to song in the ups and downs of up-tempo tracks to ballads harmoniously without ever sounding boring or disjointed.
My absolute favorite track of this release is 6 "Ban Shu Xuan Yan" as it is a magnificent example of her growth and true artistry.
In next order my favorites would have to be (track 1), (track 4), (track 5), (track 10), (track 2), (track 8). I'm least fond of (track 7) and (track 9)...although they do provide a fun factor to the release, but in a more adult way than Rainie has previously expressed herself. I only skip the aforementioned track 3 because the melody, while complex and intriquing at first, becomes monotonous as the song progresses.
I do honestly think this is an above-average release for the market and certainly Rainie's personal best. My only complaint is that there are no music videos! Rainie has this lovely new look and these delightful fresh new songs...and not a DVD of MVs. I would even re-buy the entire album just have an edition with 5-6 MVs.
Han Hee Jung Vol. 12 people found this review helpful
October 6, 2008 Magically Impressive...
Well, it took several attempts for this site to locate Han Hee Jung's debut solo CD for me to purchase, but I have to admit that it was certainly worth the wait.
This singer has one of those rare vocal talents of sounding both ethereal yet powerful at the same time. She manages a very magical airy tone while maintaining complete strength and mastery of each note. She never sounds wispy or insubstantial, despite the over-all style of the release.
For those who have heard of them...I would easily compare this singer and her music (she seems to have writen the majority if not all of the compositions on this release...) to the style (both musically and vocally...) of a combination between The Sundays (lead singer Harriet Wheeler) and The Innocence Mission (lead singer Keren Peris). For me, that is an excellent combination. It's not only rare to find artists performing in this earthy, lyrical style...it's even rarer to find an amazing artist to pull off the technicalities of such a style with dexterity.
Most of the tracks presented are ballad-esque (I say -esque because with this particular style of music, the whole point of the style is that gentle, lilting quality that just naturally conveys into a sleepy ballad format...), but there are several tracks that actually have quite a bit of tempo for the sub-genre. In fact, two of the more up-tempo tracks #3 and #5 are two of my favorites contained on the disk. Track #1 is my third for rounding out a "Top 3" selection from this gem of a release.
I highly recommend this CD for those who enjoy modern arrangements with an uncompromised vocal. This is purity at it's best...yet the music and lyric ability are solid. I know some artists could hide behind musical clutter and whisper out the lyrics to cover poor vocal ability or substandard orchastration...then classify it as "the style in which it was intended"...however, this release is nothing of the sort. It is abstract and tranquil in it's own hypnotic way...but nothing is lacking in quality at all. I have to say this was a surprise find for me, and I can only hope others will try this CD and also be impressed.
Who Is She To You (China Version)1 people found this review helpful
June 26, 2008 Discover Wu Qiong...
I wanted to offer a subtly alternate review so possible buyers can guage their own potential to enjoy this release. I thought perhaps my review could aid others in hearing the predominately rock edge of this disk...because other than some soulful tone to track 7, I don't pick up on any other "R&B" that has been mentioned previously. I know that's just my own hearing, but, more than one review is generally helpful even if the impressions of the reviewers don't merge perfectly in every aspect.
In fact, if I could pick one singer as a comparible for this CD, it would be American singer Kelly Clarkson. She is someone who also does power-rock, rock-ballads and basic sultry ballads well. And this CD is defintely one that immediately from the stellar track 1 reminded me far more of typical Western music and melodies one would hear on a standard radio station in the United States.
Track 1 opens on a spectacular gem of mellow rock that instantly introduces the listener to the consistant style of this CD and showcases the strong vocals of the singer. The melody is extremely catchy with a powerful refrain to make a powerful rock ballad-to-mid tempo song that is truly memorable. Track 2 is primarily acoustic guitar with hypnotic strumming to a tranquil tone of an over-all rock feel. This track really showcases the artists flare for vocal range and ability in that she can change octaves in the chorus effortlessly and to great effect. Track 3 really is a bit of a (pleasant) surprise since it sounds almost like an American country song. I almost imagine that someone like Carrie Underwood is about to sing...but then Wu Qiong begins in Mandarin. It's actually quite engaging and the style really does work here! It's still mostly acoustic quitar, but the melody is quite complex and engaging. Extremely unique to the Mandarin music market, and yet it doesn't upset the flow in consistancy of style of the disk since there is enough rock edge with the guitars to maintain stability. Track 4 is a piano ballad with a peaceful, relaxed feel that showcases Wu Giong's light and airy upper register for the first focused time. Track 5 is my personal favorite and I highly recommend hearing this track! This really, truly is more typical of a Kelly Clarkson or even Avril Lavigne song than anything I've ever heard in Mandarin. It's a total power-rock song with majestically soaring vocals and heavy refrain that builds into an intently orchastrated chorus with stellar lush vocals and several octave changes for even more interest. Amazing! Track 6 actually does stroll a bit back into standard Chinese music-market terrain with being a simple pop ballad. The song has some 80s elements, and Wu Qiong's vocals seem a bit lower register on this track, to the point where she reminds me a bit of Chilean (Latin music-market) singer Myriam Hernandez...but since I also think Myriam is a great singer, that's OK with me! Track 7 is a bit on the boring side for me personally...after all the more rock-tinged tracks, this one seems a bit lack-luster. If another less talented singer were the artist, maybe I wouldn't expect so much from the song. But, as it is buried in a supberb disk, the track feels quite predictable in melody and staid in the beats. It also seems that less vocal effort was expended here. Track 8 is another (not as pleasant) surprise on this jewel of a CD. This time, Wu Qiong wanders a bit from her rock genre into a stange blend of hip-hop opening that melds into a dance track...but oddly enough, the dance sound isn't what you'd expect...it's a mix of rock-dance that makes the song seem as though it's in the midst of an identity crisis. It's great for interest, but not an interest that will probably be held for long, it's ultimately forgettable because there isn't any one thing on which to focus for tone or true style. Track 9 is a sleepy piano ballad intro that intriquingly rises into a rock chorus that takes this song to a whole new level: the level of Wu Qiong in her element! The sudden rock chorus during what seemed a fluid ballad is a powerful showcase to the ability of Wu Qiong to express herself with her vocals and range. Track 10 closes out this masterpiece with a light, airy piano ballad that stumbles over some almost caberet elements until finally the catchy rock niche is hit mid-way into the song to close it out in true form.
This item is already on "track it down" status here at YesAsia, and that is exactly what I would recommend buyers to do! I already have 3 friends waiting for copies of this release based on having had me play the CD for them. Every person LOVED the rich yet pure (and strong...) vocals of Wu Qiong which are a rare find sometimes, and every person LOVED the fusion of rock into the Mandarin lyrics. I think Wu Qiong has some videos at YouTube for anyone wishing to see some samples of her talent...but, I also seem to recall the videos posted there are a bit old and thus, probably from her previous release awhile back. However, while I was deciding whether or not to invest in this item (I had never heard of the artist...), I listened to the videos and was immediately hooked on her vocals. This CD does depart from her posted videos in style somewhat, because this CD is what I classify as "Western-style pop power-rock". It's not screeching at all or even hard-core, it's completely pleasant (again, I can't help the mental comparison to Kelly Clarkson...), just unexpected to what else has come out of China recently in the mainstream popular market. I am totally pleased with this purchase and I play it often. There is something completely stunning about this entire disk. Between the vocal sound, vocal ability and music compositions...this is a disk that is worth it's weight (and time to track down...). In fact, I wish I could give 12 stars instead only 10! Honestly. I hope that helps any other person considering this item. As can be deduced from these current 2 reviews...it's a fantastic purchase!
Ella Kwun 2006 New Album (CD+VCD)7 people found this review helpful
October 17, 2006 A Delight...
I really enjoyed Ella's previous release, but there were a couple of tracks that just weren't personally to my taste...not that they weren't good, just not my style. This release suited me much better. Ella really seems to have really made this a stronger and more cohesive CD and the songs reflect that effect. Her vocals...as always...are superb and unique, which I find refreshing. I just am so delighted that this release is so wonderful. Ella has definitely set a new standard for herself.
Track 1 (which has an MV) opens to an up-tempo fun basic pop song that is engaging and immediately showcases the pristine quality of this release. Track 2 (which has an MV) starts out with a bit of a club-style dance sound, but it melds into more of an up-tempo basic pop song later into the chorus. Track 3 (which has an MV and is reprised in Mandarin on track 8) is a lovely guitar ballad that is really touching. Track 4 is a bit on the R&B side, but is also mid-tempo and quite catchy. Track 5 is a simple but elegant beautiful ballad. Track 6 (which is reprised in Mandarin on track 9) is a gorgeous mid-tempo strumming song with some truly awesome guitar to the melody. Track 7 is a unique ballad that is fluid with some interesting effects to the arrangement and a powerful chorus where Ella really shines on the hard notes which is impressive. Track 8 is the reprise of track 3 and Ella has kept the musical arrangement the same (which I like, because the original was so pleasant)...but being that the language is now Mandarin, the singing sounds a bit "rushed" with her trying to get the words into the same song but with a different language. Track 9 is the reprise of track 6, and again the musical arrangement is the same...but this time the words in translation seem to flow better and I personally enjoy both versions equally. Track 10 is the "DeepERmix" of track 3 and adds a nice power edge to the original ballad. I think both are lovely arrangements and sound unique despite being the same basic song. Track 11 (although not listed) is the "PUNKmix" of track 1 and it's much more rock than the original (which had more basic pop beats). I love both versions...and I would hard pressed to choose which I prefer because they both sound so different but yet excellent in their own way.
I think my personal stand-out favorites on this release would have to be tracks 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. Tracks 2 and 4 are OK...and I won't be skipping them...they just aren't my absolute favorites because neither dance nor R&B are in keeping with my personal preferences.
Overall, though, this is one extremely well-put together release that flows well and showcases some wonderful song selections and features Ella's vocals at their best throughout. I personally could not detect any weak vocal moments or poor arrangements. I think this is solid and a magnificent achievement. I'd definitely recommend it to a wide range of audiences because I think the style of this release and the purity of Ella voice cross many listening groups. I just have to say again: I am so pleased with this release. It really is a fabulous CD.
iPenny (CD+DVD)6 people found this review helpful
October 16, 2006 I am impressed...
Well, the first noticeable thing about this release is obviously the gorgeous packaging. It's truly beautiful and sets the tone of the content of the CD.
The second noticeable thing (which has me totally confused since I do not speak or read Mandarin...) are the song titles themselves. While the outer packaging contains the "I..." themed tag lines, they appear to relate to iPod functioning and/or ringtones. On the actual CD itself and the inner packaging, the titles written in English behind the Mandarin characters are completely different. Since it appears THOSE are intended to be the song titles, I will be using those in my review, and I apologize in advance if I am in error with my assessment: remember...I do not speak the language and have to base my judgement of which title is correct on mere appearance.
Track 1 "At the Droway Moment" (which, I'm thinking probably was supposed to be printed "At the Doorway Moment" since most of the titles and video footage seem to deal with the concept of flight and/or travel)...is actually my personal least favorite track for this release. I think there's just too much going on in this song and the beat seems wrong to me somehow...although, if the intent was to convey departure and the feelings of leaving...this could be intentional, in which case, the effects are actually quite ingenius in their interpretation of how hectic an airport terminal can be. Again: that's just a guess, but I still like the rest of the disk better. Although, this introduction song does show a mature Penny and let us know she intends a strong, solid release...which she delivers. Track 2 "Travel Alone" (which has an MV) is a gorgeous ballad and extremely rich with perfect vocals that is incredibly moving. Track 3 "Along the Riverside" (which has an MV) is a serene and hypnotic ballad...and I love how the fluidity of the melody actually does remind one of a river or water...it's brilliant interpretation through music again. Track 4 "Out of the Window" (which has an MV) is a guitar-driven stunningly relaxing ballad. Track 5 "My Mr. Right" is the only true non-ballad on the release, but is still along the mid-tempo line. It's extremely catchy, bouncy and great fun. Perfect for the middle of the disk. Track 6 "Run Away" (which has an MV) is a lovely, passionate ballad. Track 7 "Uncertain" is a feathery piano-ballad with a relatively unique melody that again, isn't a favorite of mine personally...but I still think the music is being used to relate the feeling and perhaps that is why the unusual melody is used...to convey the uncertain theme. I think this one will grow on me, because I do love the soft vocals Penny uses on this as opposed to the more powerful vocals on the other songs. Track 8 "About Us" is in my opinion, a bit on the caberet side of music arrangements, but the whispery vocals are sweet and add a nice element to the song. Track 9 "Stroll Around" is absolutely angelic and peaceful and one of my favorite songs of the entire CD. Simple yet strong and masterfully done. Track 10 "The Little Ones" (which has an MV) is a perfect ending to the CD since it is a lush and soaring ballad with a perfect silky finish.
My personal absolute favorites are tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 10. I like tracks 7 and 8...and I don't really care too much for track 1.
The DVD is full of extras...of course, the 5 MVs...but also behind-the-scenes, a "diary" of sorts, Penny giving mini-guitar lessons and some other little tid-bits. MV 1 is especially gorgeous and well-produced with some exceptional special effects that are totally engaging.
Overall, Penny has really stepped-up her performance on this release (which was probably not easy, because she's always been a talented and remarkable singer...) and I think her growth as an artist and charisma as a natural singer/composer/guitar player/ballet dancer (yes, she has some footage of her ballet in the MVs...) really shine on this disk. Since I tend to be a person who prefers ballads and basic pop as my main listening choices...this CD is perfect for me. I'd say if you love Penny already, or love Jasmine Leong, Rebecca Hsu or others who sing ballads...this CD will be wonderful for purchase. So, I highly recommend this as both a major accomplishment for Penny (who I already enjoyed from previous albums) and as something to buy for those who love well-done (but not boring) ballads with a unique flair and rare mastery of expression of emotion through song.
Make Your Own Rain (CD+VCD)4 people found this review helpful
October 9, 2006 I like Rain...
Rain Li has a lovely voice that I found extremely unique and understatedly elegant. Her style seems very relaxed and subtle, but pleasant and captivating.
This particular release, however, I have to say is really more along the lines of an elaborate single than an EP. The little description states it contains "six new songs"...and I hate to be overly technical...but at least two of the six are identical in both Mandarin and Cantonese. I don't read or speak either language (although I love the sound of it...), but I would venture a guess that probably all three songs are re-done in both languages: bringing the over-all total of NEW material on this CD to three songs.
They are gorgeous songs, though...track 1 has some rich, calming vocals over a peaceful ballad with a sweetly subdued chorus (and is identical to the other language version of it on track 4)...track 2 has a beautiful piano backing extremely strong vocals with a great, yet relaxing rythmn (and is identical to the other language version of it on track 6)...track 3 has an amazingly stunning guitar with the most contemporary music and a catchy chorus which make it my favorite track on the entire release (again, since I don't speak the languages, I'm not sure if this song is reprised on track 5 or not...because this time, if it is the same song, it's not "identical"...so, tracks 3 and 5 MAY be different, I'm just not sure)...track 5 has more of the standard piano sound of Rain and may be a reprise of track 3, but it seems a bit differently arranged if it is...and it is quite serene.
The VCD (as well as the short content of the CD is the reason I only rate this release an 8-of-10...not because of Rain...she deserves a 10 for her superb singing skills) is of a relatively poor quality. At times, her mouth does not match with the audio and it's quite distracting to see her lips moving out-of-synch with the sound. The images are also a bit grainy, and the footage is re-used in all videos to the point of boredom. There are so many scenes used in both videos, it's almost hard to tell them apart just from the video. And I say "both" videos instead of "all four", because VCD tracks 1 & 2 are the same song and footage (just one in Cantonese and one in Mandarin) and tracks 3 & 4 are the same song and footage (just one in Cantonese and one in Mandarin).
So, while I found the packaging beautifully done, and Rain's talent to be distinguished and immense...I would have preferred a full-length release from her rather than a CD of basically only 3 songs. I think the price was a bit high for the content, but it at least now I know that I enjoy this singer...and in the event she does have a new material CD soon, I will be sure to buy it. I'm not sure if I'd recommend this except maybe to those fans who have really missed Rain's absence and wish to assure themselves that she still sings as pleasantly as ever and would like something to hold them over until she can produce a full-length album.
It's also an interesting item for people like myself who do not speak either Mandarin or Cantonese to have a CD that is half-half. It provides an excellent opportunity to learn more differences in the languages and discern nuances through good music. In that way, this CD not only provides a nice listening experience, but an educational one as well.
So, I suppose if you don't mind the short length of the CD and the relatively bland, repetitive and poor quality video footage...this is a novel little release from an able artist. I hope Rain continues with her music.
Luminary (China Version)6 people found this review helpful
October 8, 2006 Light up your collection...
I had never heard of "Super Girls" or any of the members or contest or whatever that designation pertained to... But, the CD cover looked interesting and the price was right, so I decided to give this a try.
And am I glad I did! The funny thing is, I expected (I don't really know why...) this to be a mostly ballad singer (I suppose because that's what I tend to buy and this CD kept coming up as recommended to me as being bought by people with my past buying history...) and she's not really. But that's OK, because she's GREAT at rock. I love her style. It was unexpected, but it goes to show that unexpected isn't necessarily a bad thing...sometimes it's quite refreshing.
Her voice astonished me right away as solid and energetic with amazing range and charisma. It's also ironic that as I was thinking she reminded me a great deal both musically and vocally of Summer Hsu (from the band Relax One), I noticed that one of the songs on THIS release was actually composed by Summer Hsu herself (track 7).
On to the songs...
Track 1 opens to a super rock song with great energy that is simply excellent and a perfect attention-grabber. Track 2 is rythmic and moody with a great rock beat that enchants. Track 3 is a sweet ballad with soaring and strong vocals that showcase the powerhouse singing of this artist. Track 4 is a fun piano-rock song that is nothing short of amazing. Track 5 is a bit on the electronica-dance side, but it's OK if you like that style (which I don't...still, that's my own taste and doesn't mean the song is not good). Track 6 is another ballad, but this one has some hints of R&B in the verse that lead into an awesome rock chorus which is majestic...it's novel how the singer manages to merge the two together into one song that flows and sounds so mature and gives sense of depth. Track 7 is the track composed by Summer Hsu which is undefinably perfect in every way with Summer's signature rock composing and He Jie's signature rock singing. It's a match that was meant to be and a combination not to be missed. Track 8 is a breezy mid-tempo power song that has a chorus featuring some truly outstanding harmony that leaves a graceful feeling. Track 9 is my least favorite on the CD, personally, because the dance-rock beat is a bit childish...but it's also quite unique which adds it's own charm. Track 10 finishes the CD off with a trancy ballad that's definitely different, but will leave the listener remembering this CD for sure.
I would recommend this to anyone who loves powerful, engaging singers who sing in the genre of pop-rock that is actually graceful and not over-done. The production is excellent and the talent over-flowing. A superb release from this artist, and hopefully, only the beginning of more music to come from her. She certainly has a rare ability!
Park Jung Ah Vol. 1 - Yeah5 people found this review helpful
October 5, 2006 YEAH YEAH YEAH...
I did (and do) like the band Jewelry, and I knew that a solo release by Park Jung Ah would definitely be nice...but WOW. I had no idea it would be so totally outstanding. Her voice is so powerful, yet controlled and subtle at the same time.
And the songs...so completely ideal for her. She reminds me of a mix of several guitar-rock based Western singers like Ashlee Simpson, Vanessa Carlton, Maren Ord, Gretchen Wilson, and even a bit of Kelly Clarkson.
I was completely blown-away when I put this CD into the player for almost every song. The only 2 tracks I didn't really care for (and I felt were a bit out-of-place with the other more guitar-based gritty rock songs...) were track 4 (too R&B for my personal taste) and track 6 (which I just didn't care for at all).
But tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11 are some of the best Korean music in any genre (especially rock) I've EVER heard. This artist has true, natural talent and a raw ability that is tailor-made for her material she sings. I hope that "Volume 1" means there will be "Volume 2", "Volume 3", and many more for this fabulous and unique singer.
For something other than standard: buy this. I highly recommend it as genuine and well-rounded...which I think would please just about anyone.
black coffee & broom candy3 people found this review helpful
October 3, 2006 East Meets West...
In my continuing exploration for delightful (and often unique...) music, it's always a treat to come across an unexpected jewel. That is definitely what this CD is. Truly, an artist I'd never heard of or even heard anything about...it was a risk to purchase. But a risk well worth the taking and one I highly recommend to a well-defined fan-base (this artist is exquisite...but far from the usual Canto-Pop fare that is produced for the masses...instead, her music is daringly geared toward a perhaps smaller niché of listeners...).
And what is that fan-base someone might ask? I think the best comparision for both the vocals and music content on this release is as my title states: some East and some West. There is a definite sound of acoustic guitar folk/alternative pop of Heather Nova (best demonstrated on her CD "Red Bird"); sound of lilting light coffee-house sensitive mood pop of Zhou Xun (best demonstrated on her CD "Ou Yu"); sound of subtle lounge/chill-out strumming pop of Norah Jones (best demonstrated on her CD "Feels Like Home"). So, put those all together and meet this artist... Or, that is the best I can do to offer in the way of comparisions based on my own listening observations.
My only disliked track on here is track 3 (it's not really the most in keeping with the others...) and my absolute favorite is "Day" (it's solid and shows off the best strong vocals). "Day" alone is almost reason enough to purchase this item... Track 1 is quite mesmerizing and excellent as well (as far as being my favorites).
Normally, I like to go track by track on a CD with my song "detailing", but this artist is so incredibly consistant in her own genre and style, that if I were to do that...well, it might get boring. Not that the music is at all boring...just my descriptions might be. And I could not do them justice anyway. Perhaps because so much of this release's content is simply just an undefinable and unexplainable sense of enjoyment.
Ho Hoo Tan (CD+DVD) (Version B)8 people found this review helpful
September 25, 2006 I'm Really Liking This...
First, let me say it's always risky to write a review for Twins because people tend to be rather...passionate...about them one way or the other. So, I will try to keep this as basic and subjective as possible (which is a bit different from my usual writing style) with the sole focus being on the MUSIC and not on the singers themselves.
Second, let me say that this CD (I haven't had a chance to view the DVD yet...) shows some extreme maturity on the part of both vocal ability and musical arrangements. The vocals are stronger and have an added depth. I also like that instead of just singing over one another, they are doing more harmonizing...which is not easy and shows talent. The music is expertly produced and of a high quality recording.
The CD itself was an overall surprise to me, because other than "The Missing Piece"...I'd never been a truly devoted fan (despite owning many of their CDs). My first thought after the first few tracks was simply: WOW.
About the songs...
Track 1 is an amazing up-tempo basic pop song with sheer strong vocals. A perfect opener for this new release that immediately grabs attention...and keeps it. Track 2 is breezy mid-tempo song that is reminiscent of a lazy day sailing on the sea. Track 3 is a lovely ballad. Track 4 is a catchy mid-tempo song. Track 5 is another strong up-tempo song. Track 6 is absolutely stunning and my favorite on the CD. A totally remarkable ballad that leaves the listener in awe. Track 7 is a bit too on the "dance" side for my own personal taste...but expertly done and the vocals shine with vibrance and vitality. Track 8 has a distinct Latin inluence in the twang of the guitar and fluidity of the breathy ballad, it's not a favorite, but very summery and a unique addition to the CD. Track 9 is definitely too hip-hop for my own personal taste...but I don't mark them down for that because the song is well-done, just not something I myself tend to enjoy. It's a fun song for those who do enjoy a hip-hop edge to their pop music. Track 10 is a stunning ballad. Track 11 is another gorgeous ballad. Track 12 is quite honestly the only song on here that I just cannot listen to. It's got character and flare...but the guy grunting in the background is distracting to me personally. Fortunately, it's the ending song and easy for me to skip. But again, for those who enjoy this type of up-tempo "get up and move" song...this is probably a great inclusion.
My favorite tracks are obviously the ballads and basic pop tracks like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 and 11. I like tracks 7, 8, and 9 all right. I don't particularily care for track 12.
Really, I think this CD is quite a fine example of Twins music and singing and I would find myself recommending it to a broad base of listeners. It's got a little of several different styles...but not too much difference to be distracting. In fact, I think this release flows quite well and is extremely cohesive. My favorite CD from the girls along with "The Missing Piece". And really...even track 6 alone, is just NOT to be missed...
Yifei First Mandarin Album7 people found this review helpful
September 10, 2006 Wow, Just Wow...
I thought that "All My Words" (the Japanese-language debut by this artist) was spectacular, but I honestly think the Mandarin is even better. So, since I gave the Japanese CD 10 stars, I'll give this one at least 12 stars.
Bursting onto the music scene is putting it mildly when mentioning Yi Fei. She has exploded and she is HERE. Wow. Such sweet yet charismatic vocals from a newcomer is rare and she has amazing talent in that vocal area. I also like how consistant this CD is (for the most part...I'll detail the songs in a moment) in musical style and it's not a jumble of a new artist throwing a bunch of styles at the listener just to show they can. Yi Fei has created herself and her musical image already and it's magnificent.
Track 1 is one of my favorite tracks (and my favorite on the Japanese release as well) with it's pop-rock up-tempo energy and range. It's one of the heavier songs, but I love that, so it works for me. Track 2 is a piano ballad, but still along the pop-rock genre and it's fluid...simply gorgeous and a perfect song to follow track 1. Track 3 is a bit on the unusual side with it's arrangement and there are perhaps too many people singing in the chorus, but it's an interesting and engaging song none-the-less. Track 4 is a simple yet elegant piano ballad. Track 5 is back to a heavier pop-rock up-tempo sound that is fun any way you look at it. It also shows the latent power in Yi Fei's vocals. Track 6 reverts to more mellow, subdued vocals over a magnificent guitar-based song that is almost an emotional experience. Track 7 is almost R&B in nature and the finger-snapping that would have made a relatively novel intro continues throughout the entire song...which honestly can get a bit annoying after awhile. Fortunately, after a few listens to this wonderful CD the listener begins to tune it out. Track 8 is a basic ballad at heart, but shows again some of the strongest vocals. Track 9 is my favorite track on this entire CD with a distinct modern/contemporary arrangement and tone to it's up-tempo pop-rock majesty. Track 10 is...well...OK, here is the one song I absolutely cannot bear. Thankfully, it is the last track and easy to omit from my listening experience on this otherwise pristine release. A traditional intro full of old-style Chinese instruments gives way to full-blown hip-hop with not only some man rapping over her vocals (which are the weakest on the CD), but another man is actually grunting in a quite distracting way. I suppose this showcases variety on the part of the artist, but I personally don't like rap or hip-hop and I also don't feel it fits with either the essence and flow of the rest of the CD or Yi Fei's overall musical style.
Anyway, my favorite and most recommended tracks are 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, and 9. Tracks 3, 4, and 7 are OK and as I have mentioned...I really don't care for track 10.
Still...not liking only one song due to personal preference is not bad (just my own taste). The artist is extremely wonderful and charming. Her songs are excellent and her singing is magnificent. I think her vocals are already stellar and refined...and can only look forward to hearing more from her in the future.
I really recommend this CD to anyone, especially if you like singers like Rebecca Hsu, U-Ka Saegusa, Stefanie Sun, Gigi Leung and others who tend to sing along these similiar lines.
As to WHICH edition to purchase: the Japanese or the Mandarin...I say buy them both if you can! Yes, this singer is really that worthy.
Cry Baby (Hong Kong Version) (CD+DVD)6 people found this review helpful
September 10, 2006 Melodious Melody...
Well, Melody Chiang has once again created a musical masterpiece. She seems to be one of those rare artists who keeps current with the times while still remaining generally true to her basic style that she's had for years. Only some updates to her sound is all that's needed to keep her on top of the Mandarin music scene with each release. And this CD is no different. It's definitely a more grown up and mature Melody, but it's still quite easily recognizable as the same tender and charismatic Melody of years ago. I think she has a great gift at adapting without losing herself...and that is a very special thing to devoted fans like myself who like to know what to expect from an artist from CD to CD. It's comforting to know that with Melody Chiang the fluidity that is anticipated in her music will be there, but there will also be a little something new and different to add to her depths as an artist...but nothing TOO new to detract from her overall balance.
The songs themselves are some of the best to date (in my opinion) from Melody. Although, I confess, I tend to compare everything she does to my all-time favorite song by her "I'm OK" from her CD "Friend's Friend". Perhaps that is why track 11 on "Cry Baby" is my favorite on this release...it has the most guitar and reminds me closest to that old standard. Rounding out my Top 5 on "Cry Baby" are also tracks 2, 6, 7, and 8.
Track 1= 45 second piano solo. Track 2 is a classically fluid Melody ballad, although it's almost mid-tempo for a ballad and a wonderful way to open the CD. Track 3 is a sweet ballad with a soft accepella intro and strong piano. Track 4 is mid-tempo and interesting in that it has an unusual beat to it and a children's chorus. It also merges some traditional instruments into the chorus along with the children singing to create the feeling of youthful days gone by. Track 5 is a gorgeous Melody song that is truly hypnotic, although it has the slightest hint of R&B in it's tone. Track 6 is where some of the strongest vocals on the CD can be found after an almost urban/heavy intro that leads into a powerful beat that blends majestically with Melody's sincere voice. Track 7 is a moving ballad with soft, caressing vocals and a lovely smooth transition from the song before it without sounding in any way disjointed. Track 8 is elegant...like rain. And like rain, this song is it's own magnificent yet peaceful force. A thing of rare beauty. Track 9 is a lilting tune that is uplifting and set to an unusual tone that actually adds some drama to the song. Track 10 is a rather standard ballad, but it's a duet (sorry, I have no idea who the male singer on this is...), so it stands out. Normally, I'm not a fan of duets, but Melody has a talent of picking male singers with whom she really musically connects to produce lovely co-arrangements (like "You're In Love" with Ben of BAD from "Friend's Friend"). The harmony on this is astonishingly pure and delightful. Track 11 is completely intoxicating and enchanting with it's great guitar-based tone and Melody's superb interpretation. This song just reaches out to the listener and doesn't let go. Track 12= 42 second piano solo.
As for the music videos, the first two (for audio tracks 3 and 4) are just gorgeous and well-produced. There isn't much in the way of acting, but the special effects and scenery is stunning. The video for audio track 10 is pretty standard without all the effects and computer-generated charisma of the other two videos.
So, I highly recommend this for those who like relaxing but NOT boring music sung by a gifted singer with a pristine voice that never dissapoints. If I had to pick one adjective for Melody (Mei Mei) it would be what I mentioned early on in this review: fluid. Her vocals, her style, her ordering of track placements on her CDs, her consistancy through the years in producing music...all fluid. Truly an amazing performer and one I know I will continue to listen to for quite some time...especially since she has that "something" that just never goes out of style. I really don't know how she manages to sound so contemporary on each release, but yet standard at the same time. Perhaps it's just because she knows herself and her ability so well. Whatever it is about her: it works. In every way, it just works. Beautiful.
All My Words (Japan Version)6 people found this review helpful
September 9, 2006 All Her Words Are Lovely...
What a great debut for this artist. Made even more impressive that she is basically releasing her debut in both Mandarin and Japanese at approximately the same time.
Her voice is clear and pure, but talented and strong. She's definitely a born singer and gifted young lady in the world of music.
I can't really think of anyone to compare her too (vocally or musically) at the moment (maybe a bit of U-Ka Saegusa...), but she's really quite good. I particularily like the more rock-type pop tracks, the basic pop tracks and the emotional ballads.
The only track that I didn't like was "Sunshiny Day" which left me thinking of "Sunshine Day" by the Brady Bunch back in the 1970s (and this version sounds extremely retro in genre...adding to that thought).
But not liking one track isn't bad at all. Even well-established artists have albums with one or two songs that aren't so well placed. And for a debut to be this outstanding is a real achievement. I think this singer will be around for a while. She seems to have already figured out that her best material is pop-rock (both up-tempo and ballads) and primarily remains true to it.
If you'd like to hear some samples for yourself, her official website now has clips from the entire album available. Each clip is only about 30-35 seconds, but it gives you an idea of the beauty of her voice and the general genre (pop-rock) of the release.
Well done and a worthy buy!
6 people found this review helpful
September 4, 2006 BOOM BOOM and WOW WOW...
This CD is really, really excellent. I held off on buying it because I wasn't sure what exactly it would be like...but the other reviewers convinced me...and I am in their debt. I might not own this great CD if they had not taken the time to write the reviews. So, maybe my thoughts will help someone too and add to the fan-base of Cherry Boom.
I think the cover of this CD gives the impression it's a little more heavy metal rock than it is. Some songs are like that, but honestly, more fall into the pop-rock genre. But that is AMAZING pop-rock! These girls definitely know how to do the genre justice and they also know how to make a debut sound so sensational that no one would guess this is their first release.
Moving on to the songs themselves: Track 1 "Sweet Morning"...this is probably one of the heavier tracks on the CD and really is a great showcase on which to begin the CD because the music only gets better from here. It also merges back and forth throughout the song from heavy rock to lighter pop-rock showing off the true (and versatile) range of the band and serves to introduce us to the lovliness of the lead singer's vocals that are deceptively pure...but strong and well-trained. Track 2 "My Dear Prince"...is almost gothically dark in it's rock style, but quite good. Track 3 "Secret Garden"...is one of my favorites and honestly reminds me both musically and vocally of some of Stefanie Sun's more up-tempo songs. Track 4 "Good-bye My Love"...is a great rock ballad that reminds me a bit of some of the intense ballads on Rebecca Hsu's newest release. Track 5 "Eclipses of the Moon"...is another pop-rock ballad that in style and the sweetness of the singer remind me a bit of some of the strong ballads by Vicki Zhao-Wei. Track 6 "I Wanna Rock"...is a bouncy rock, happy song that has me remembering the fun in Fiona Sit's "886" song. Track 7 "The Air of My Breath"...is incredibly catchy rock and one of the heavier rock tracks. The vocals for this heavier sound adjust by really showing amazing strength and range. Another one of my absolute favorites on this CD. Track 8 "The World Full of Clowns"...is almost on the techno-rock side and it's OK, but lacks the variation of melody that the other songs show to their potential. Track 9 "To Love or Not"...is an utterly hypnotic rock ballad that is quite simply incomparable to anyone I've heard before. This song is phenomenal. Track 10 "The Coming of the Dark"...is another power rock ballad with great flow and incredible mesmerizing power. A supremely perfect ending to this CD.
Personally, I highly recommend this to anyone...especially fans of the singers I compared some of Cherry Boom's songs to. This is a great fusion of pop-rock that isn't over-done or under-done. It's just right. Zha-Zha, Gua, Xiao Qian, and Da Tian have a magificent future ahead I hope. If this debut is any indication...I think they'll be around awhile.
I do wish a VCD had come with this though. With all the magetism contained in their CD, I bet their video performances would be stunning.
Anyway: a solid 10 star release from a band with extreme talent and ability. A rare and fun find.
acoustic love (Japan Version)5 people found this review helpful
September 4, 2006 ...not so "Sunny"...
First, let me say that for the past 2 years I would have declared to anyone asking me that Ai Takaoka was my absolute favorite Japanese singer (based on her 2004 release "Sunny" which was hands-down phenomenal).
Second, I still think Ai is an incredibly talented, naturally gifted and unique singer that deserves a high ranking among contemporary Japanese pop/rock singers.
BUT: This CD is absolutely not like "Sunny".
I realize that Ai is probably trying some new things, but honestly...I personally would have preferred a CD full of the style and charm of "Sunny". Sometimes, though, I think it might be hard as an artist to top yourself after such a successful debut. Maybe that's the issue...I don't know.
I do know I was far from blown away by Ai on this, which was extremely dissapointing for me, because I had been looking forward to her new CD for months with extreme anticipation.
What I thought would be more Vanessa Carlton type guitar-driven sounds and her mellow yet intoxicatingly smooth voice set to mostly rock tunes turned out to be something vastly unexpected.
In fact, Ai even has a RAP on one hip-hop type song (track 6) and one song is DANCE (track 9). For people used to her old style (and true fans will probably always herald "Jinsei wa Paradise" as an Ai classic and incomparable standard...), these two songs just left me cold and in shock at the drastic change. Even the overall impact of this CD is less gritty rock and more standard pop. It's not got the "ooomf" or the "edge" that her debut CD had.
Even her vocals on several songs (although she wrote all tracks herself...) aren't even close to where they were on her debut. A couple of songs have her singing in a key that is definitely too high to make the best use of her magnificent rich voice (she HITS all the notes perfectly, but they just aren't as majestically pure as the lower register ones...).
However, there are glimpses of the Ai of "Sunny" (and the Ai I feel will ultimately re-emerge with her next release...I hope...). Tracks 1, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 are lush and filled with stunning guitar and Ai's classic laid-back mellow but strong vocals. These are the tracks that I was expecting from her. Excellent production and a tonal quality that really puts her in a class all her own as a rarity of style and charisma.
Lastly: for those fans of Garnet Crow and DoA...there is quite a bit of collaboration with artists from both of those bands on this CD in arrangements, guitar-work and even background vocals.
I'd recommend this to anyone, but with the caveat to someone expecting an up-dated continuation of "Sunny"...prepare for some serious surprises on here. It's still a good CD, and most people would probably rate it a "10". But for me, based on the raw ability I have grown used to from Ai on "Sunny"...this falls just barely short of perfect, so I have to rate it an "8" on my opinion.
Kanojo (First Press Edition)(Japan Version)2 people found this review helpful
September 4, 2006 An artist unto herself...
I confess that I generally prefer singers who sing in one consistant genre (either all rock, all pop...all whatever) that suits them best and that they tend to maintain over time. Aiko is the exception to that preference, because I think her mix of styles and genres actually creates a unique "Aiko style" of it's own. She also chooses styles and genres that are blendable rather than ones that sound randomly thrown together just for the sake of having variety on a CD.
And so, this release is no huge departure from those Aiko CDs that have come before it. The sweet but talented vocals shine on each song, and there is a bit of influence from almost all over the musical spectrum. Latin-influenced tracks, lounge-influenced tracks, big band-influenced tracks, retro-influenced tracks, easy listening-influenced tracks, jazz-influenced tracks, and of course...pop/rock-influenced tracks.
Somehow...this release still flows and has a charm all it's own. I do admit my favorite songs are all in the pop/rock vein (just my personal taste) and those would be tracks 3, 4, 7, 13 and 14. Track 4 is my stand-out favorite almost rock-ish track and track 14 is my stand-out favorite pop ballad.
A gorgeous CD from an artist who is truly a unique sensation of her own creation. With Aiko, I think it's pretty safe to be a buyer if you are a fan of her music, because she's almost always reliable in her production and quality of material. One knows what to expect from her, and she doesn't dissapoint.
Unbelievable (CD + DVD) (China Version)7 people found this review helpful
August 21, 2006 The title says it all...
Kym is "Unbelievable" on this, her sophmore release after the majesty of "Air".
And what I personally find so unbelievable is how quickly she seems to have found her style and niche in the music industry. Unlike "Air" which was a wonderful CD + DVD, but still contained one or two songs that didn't quite "match" the flow or feeling of the rest of the music..."Unbelievable" is cohesive throughout. It's diverse enough in rythmn and tempo to not be dull or boring, but it's solid enough to carry a sense of fluidity and well-planned orchestration. Also detectable from the first note of this CD is the slightly more mature vocals from Kym and growth in both her already amazing range and ability. She's as expressive as ever, but seems even more confident and driven to convey her music in still broader horizons.
As for the tracks themselves: Track 1- is a beautifully orchestrated piano ballad with just barely the slightest hint of R&B in the vocals. It has a great melody and extremely fluid chorus that makes for a lovely start to this release. Track 2- is a mid-tempo song that begins with some rather unusual clicks/scratches that thankfully go away and meld into a sweet melody with a fun chorus that rapidly turns this into a very fun song. Track 3- is so powerful, it's almost rock in nature and is absolutely my favorite track on the entire CD (unfortunately, there is no MV of this...). It has a catchy beat and a unique arrangement that Kym sings so well and with so much energy, it's impossible to not admire as an amazingly solid song for her. Track 4- is a rather typical Kym piano ballad with her signature mellow, soft, relaxing and pure vocals. Track 5- is probably the best demonstration of her maturing vocals yet and the music itself is very contemporary and current. Track 6- is where Kym introduces some light woodwinds that add to her airy musical arrangement and breathy vocals to create a serene yet magical song. Track 7- is a bit unusual in the beginning with some odd intro sounds (like finger-snapping...), but it has a pleasant rythmn and great guitars that showcase Kym's ever-solid vocals. Track 8- is where a beautiful acoustic guitar used for the main instrument highlights hypnotic vocals that make this an intoxicating song. Track 9- is almost an electronica/dance-club style song intro that I thought at first I would totally hate, but it actually merged into a more basic and simply youthful, fun, up-beat and bouncy song that is really quite cute. Track 10- is a Christmas song (hence the main English phrase in the song "Merry Christmas to you...") that makes for a nostaglic, sweet ending to the release. It's catchy, yet smooth at the same time and the little soft bells add a wintery touch (which living where I do and having it be 105 degrees outside right now makes me smile...) without being too cliché to listen to at any time of year.
Overall, I liked everything on this release (which is a bit unusual for me...typically there are at least one or two songs that I don't particularly care for...) but my stand-out favorites were tracks #3 and #8 and my least favorites were tracks #2 and #7. Even so, this CD is extraordinarily composed and sung in such a way that I am truly impressed.
As for the DVD...the only thing I view as a not-so-great-thing about it is that it is only karaoke feature. Her DVD that came with "Air" was MV only and I honestly prefer those...or at least having the option to turn off the karaoke function to watch the MVs without the lyrics blazing across the screen. But, Kym is a fabulous actress on her MVs and so great at interpreting her songs through her movements and facial expressions that she's always so entertaining to watch. I like how creative her MVs tend to be and several feature unusual camera angles and/or overlays that make the effects engaging. The only MV that didn't totally hold my attention was MV 4 (for audio track 10) because not only was it all cartoon, but the karaoke lyrics were super-imposed over subtitles on the cartoon/video footage which made me feel like I was going a bit cross-eyed trying to focus on all that lettering. Definitely too much going on in that MV. The others though: top notch filming, acting, wardrobe, scenery and special effects. I always recommend to people who are interested in Kym to wait for her editions that include the DVD of MVs...her MV content and quality is always worth the wait. They never give the impression of being an after-thought to the CD itself, but instead, a completion of the whole effort.
I would recommend this highly and hope that others would enjoy the discovery of beauty and charisma that is Kym.
CORE OF SOUL THE BEST (Normal Edition)(Japan Version)(1)Our Price: US$28.494 people found this review helpful
August 21, 2006 Core of the Best...
I almost didn't purchase this audio CD because I already own the DVD of Core of Soul's Video Collection (which is amazing, by the way and I highly recommend it to any Core of Soul fan...). But, I decided that the collection of songs chosen was just too great to not have to play in my vehicle or other places where it would be impossible to play the DVD. The audio version also has some additional tracks that the DVD does not.
Some "Best Collections" seem to be hap-hazzard thrown-together assortments of a bands achievements over a period of years...however, this CD does not fall into that sad trap. All of the songs on this recording definitely are the best that Core of Soul has produced in their career. I can't think of anything left out that should have been included, or of anything that was included that should have been left out. They also did a brilliant job of not focusing too heavily on any one era of recording. There seems to be a nice representation from each CD they have released along their way to this point in time. There also seems to be a nice mix of more rock-ish tunes along with more pop-ish tunes that I think would make this sure to please anyone along a moderate pop/rock line.
Overall, I truly think is a stellar release. I tend to not buy "Best Collections"...especially if I have several CDs by the band in question already, because it seems redundant. But this CD gave me every reason to break that way of thinking. All the best songs in one place make this a perfect purchase.
Probably my favorite songs are "Photosynthesis" and "Full Moon Prayer" (also my favorite MVs from the DVD...), but I really don't have any tracks on this CD that I skip or don't like. I keep this in heavy rotation with their "One Love, One Day, One Life" release which is also excellent and another highly recommended CD.
I also like the flow of this CD and how the older songs don't stand out as being older and the production is so well done, that if you didn't know that some songs were recorded years before others...I don't think the sound quality would give it away. And the music along with the vocals are as superb as always.
Electric Angel (CD+VCD)7 people found this review helpful
August 19, 2006 So Nobody's Perfect...
OK...really quickly I will address that I honestly don't understand why so many "reviews" are mostly complaints of cover images and/or video footage. In the world of graphic design, often cover images not only are produced/established long before the CD is completed, but the singer (generally) is at the dictate of her photographer and/or manager regarding pose/content...so I don't know that the discussions of her cover art are particularly relevant. Besides, if they bother people so much, just do what I did (and not because the art bothered me: I just like altering things...): take a photo you do like from her huge photo booklet and cut it to fit over the image that came with the CD. Jewel cases are easy to disassemble and reassemble however anyone desires them. Anyway, I'd much prefer to discuss the music in some depth...because as yet, I haven't seen that done with this CD from Fiona.
I did rate this particular release an 8-out-of-10 because I do agree it is not her best CD so far. Personally, it feels a bit rushed in production to me coming so close on the heels of "Me" as it does. It's also not as cohesive in content or style as her previous releases. I think of all her CDs, "Funny Girl" remains my favorite...followed by "F Debut"...followed by "Me"...and finally "Electric Angel". That said: as my review title states...nobody is is perfect all the time. At some point in nearly every singer's career there comes that one CD that gets extremely mixed reviews from both old and new fans alike. For Fiona Sit...apparently, this is that CD.
My thoughts on the songs themselves: Track 1- I think I must be in the minority here, because I actually liked this song the least on the entire disk. I found the beat rather awkward and somewhat annoying. As for the style itself, I didn't like the sound of R&B for Fiona as much as her pop or rock songs. Granted, Fiona sang it quite well, but I just didn't enjoy it at all. Track 2- Again, I found the beats irritating and far too "dance club style" for my taste although Fiona sang it with very strong vocals and the overall impact of the track was catchy in some places. Track 3- Now I'm beginning to see the typical Fiona I've come to expect. A serene ballad with rather hypnotic vocals that is very nice. Track 4- Another Fiona song that suits her so well and flows mesmerizingly well with her voice. Track 5- Absolutely the standout song on this CD for me (but of course, I am a huge YUI fan as well...). I thought the music was excellently arranged with marvelously well-paced rythmn and beyond ideal vocals. If Fiona wants to break away from being regarded as primarily a ballad singer...I hope she chooses more songs like this one as opposed to songs like #1 and #2. It seems like a completely solid match of music and vocals for Fiona. Track 6- Lush musical arrangements and airy vocals makes this another typical Fiona ballad I have come both expect and respect. It also has a powerful chorus that is enchanting and intoxicating in it's range and intensity. Track 7- While I'm not personally overally fond of the 1980s type sound effects and her vocals seem the weakest on this song...it's still better than tracks #1 and #2 for me. Track 8- This dreamlike, breathy song is a nice touch and actually reminds me of some French singers (like Myrtille, Keren Ann or Dorval) that I enjoy. Track 9- This appears to me to be a Mandarin re-do of track #1...and since I have already expressed my thoughts on that song, I won't bore everyone by going over it again. Just one word sums it up for me: YUK. Track 10- A typical and summery Fiona ballad that flows like a breeze. Not particularly memorable, but very pleasant and soothing. Track 11- This is up-tempo and VERY different for Fiona...in my opinion, the most unique musically for her on this CD...but it's done extremely well and while initially I was hesitant as to how she would pull it off, I think she did great. It's excellent for novelty value for those Fiona fans missing a more up-tempo touch after the success of "886".
So, to sum up, my personal Top 3 favorites are 5, 6 and 3. My personal Bottom 3 are 1/9, 2, and 7. Everything else falls into the realm of "nice and expected".
I don't really have much to say about the MVs...they didn't leave much of an impression either way on me. Mostly what I have to say is just to not pre-judge anything or anyone and base your decision as to whether or not you want to buy this CD on your own sense of what you are looking for. Everyone wants and expects something different, and as is evident here by all the reviews...I think this particular release is going to have to be a personal choice and not one that can be based on what others have to say: because it seems we are all saying something different regarding "Electric Angel". But that's OK. That's why review panels are established...for people to state the facts as they see them and let the decisions fall where they may.
Our Day (CD+DVD) (Special Edition)6 people found this review helpful
August 15, 2006 "Our Day" for any day...
WOW. Fanfan has always been a special favorite of mine. There is just something about her smooth and refined yet powerful vocals that touches me. She seems so sincere and dedicated to her music, that it shines through in every release she has had to date. And those releases only get better and better. I never thought she could top last year's "One To One" CD, but indeed...I believe that is exactly what "Our Day" has accomplished.
Here's why: Track 1 is simply gorgeous. A perfectly fluid piano ballad with an elegant melody and Fanfan's signature sweet, relaxing yet trained majestic vocals. Track 2 is just fun. A happy mid-tempo song sung with sunny serene vocals. Track 3 is just amazing. A totally unique arrangement that shows off the true strength of her rare ability as a gifted singer. Track 4 is absolutely my favorite track on the entire CD (and there are lots of great songs to choose from on "Our Day"...). It's a relatively rare up-tempo and energetic song from Fanfan that is done exceptionally well. I love seeing her pull off a fast song with such finesse and charm. Track 5 is so rich. A typical Fanfan ballad with lush vocals and a powerful chorus of soaring notes. Track 6 is perfection. It has such an interesting arrangement and melody, that this ballad stands out as complex in style and flows wonderfully with Fanfan's rich, lush and refined vocals. Track 7 is intoxicating. This ballad is absolutely hypnotic and mesmerizing. Track 8 is summery. And like a breeze, Fanfan's vocals carry a stable grace and tranquility throughout the wide array of notes and arrangements in a varied and flowing style. Track 9 is where Fanfan's strong vocals appear as the main feature. This ballad is an obvious showcase of her immense talent and range. Not much music keeps the focus on her lovely voice. Track 10 is interesting. It's not a favorite, because the musical effects detract a bit from the singing...but it's still special in it's own way. Track 11 is another rare up-tempo tune. Although this particular up-tempo song isn't quite as magnificent for Fanfan (in my opinion...) as her other up-tempo track (in fact, this song reminds me a lot of track 1 from "One To One" with a slightly 80s electric pop/rock sound to it that doesn't really suit Fanfan to her fullest...again, in my opinion...), it does end the CD on a bouncy note and a "non-ballad" for Fanfan, who to most fans would probably agree is primarily a ballad-to-mid-tempo singer. I have to say though, track 4 shows that when done well...she CAN pull off a fast song now and again and do it so well it's actually a favorite (and this from a reviewer who actually prefers her ballads...). So, I'd have to say track 11 is my least favorite on the CD. Still, not bad though. It's hard these days to find an entire CD where not one song needs to be skipped: an this CD is that! "Our Day" can be played straight through and thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. It remains basically true to standard Fanfan, but also adds a few fresh elements to delight old and new admirers.
I recommend this release to anyone and everyone who just loves well sung and well produced music. It's not over-done, or under-done: it's just right. The only other recommendation I would make on this is: ALWAYS wait for a second edition from Fanfan. It's worth the 2 month delay to get the DVD with music videos. Decca/Linfair seems to be pretty consistant with their artists (such as Fanfan and Angela Chang...) and second editions with DVDs. So...hang on and wait. You'll be glad you did. Even the packaging on this edition is gorgeous. Very elegant and sophisticated with stunning photography and a sturdy dual-DVD case.
As for the videos themselves, Fanfan always seems to have very creative and imaginative ones. Since most of her songs do tend to be ballads, she can't really use a lot of dancing and special effects to spice up her videos...so she relies on her excellent sense of interpretation, lovely clothing and magnificent scenery to draw attention and provide a definite entertainment value to her videos.
For example: Video 1 is extremely colorful and engaging (it's for track 2 on the audio...)...I think this is my favorite video on the DVD. Video 2 is a nice video that has some unique cartoon artwork in it (it's for track 5 on the audio...). Video 3 is gorgeous and Fanfan looks so incredibly lovely in this video (it's for track 1 on the audio...). Video 4 is almost like a little movie clip and Fanfan has a very expressive face that portrays her emotions well to the camera and shows the song is meaningful to her (it's for track 6 on the audio...). Video 5 is live concert footage and has some interesting computer-generated graphics (it's for track 3 on the audio...). Video 6 is another live concert footage video, but it's my least favorite with all the background singers/dancers and distracting little elements thrown in (it's for track 11 on the audio...). So, while none of the videos really mesmerized me as much as "If" (duet with Angela Chang) from her "One To One" DVD of music videos...there are 6 of them, which is a rather large number considering. Also, they are very well done and as always Fanfan looks so engaging and content. It's certainly worth it to buy the edition with the DVD. I know I will be listening and watching this set frequently. I still love "One To One"...but this adds to my Fanfan collection wonderfully. A CD+DVD not to be without for any day.