It’s been a little longer than it should have been, but I’ve gotten around to reviewing the newest album, 仰望 (Yang Wang, Longing For), by 杨丞琳, Rainie Yang.
Overall, the album is quite good. Most of the tracks are worth listening to, although there are a few duds, like on some of her previous albums. However, on the whole it makes for a mostly good album to listen to from start to finish, and there are a few definite stand-outs for me that I loved.
Here are my thoughts track-by-track:
1. 仰望 (Yang Wang; Longing For)
This was the first single I heard off the new album and I loved it from the second I heard it. I love the softer vocals at the beginning of the verses, Rainie is a little breathy and it sounds really nice. Her singing changes tones as she hits the refrain, which is also beautiful. This song kept my interest with the changes between verse and refrain and I loved the vocals and instrumental. It’s a beautiful track and a perfect intro to the album. Love it.
2. 我們都傻 (Wo Men Dou Sha, We Are All Stupid)
Rainie is known for making many ballads, although I personally don’t think they are her best material. I prefer her more up-tempo pop tunes usually and this is no exception. The ballads by her that I like usually have a really good build up of tension and keep me hooked throughout the song, and this one doesn’t really do that. It just kind of plods along. It’s not one of my favorites, it’s a bit bland for my taste. I guess it’s ok but won’t be something I play often.
3. 缺陷美 (Que Xian Mei, Flawed Beauty)
This song is much stronger and much more to my taste than the last track. It’s still a fairly slow tune, but the music is much prettier and the tune grabs me immediately. Rainie sings beautifully, sounding a little more raw than usual in the high notes of the refrain. I actually like the tune in the verses a little more than the refrain itself, but the whole thing is just lovely. This was one of the best tracks on the album for me.
This song sets out to get my attention right away, with the english opening line, “This is Lovelution”. It’s a fun guitar-filled pop song, with really catchy verses and a lot of english sprinkled through the refrains. The song isn’t ground-breaking, it’s a bit predictable, but it’s a lot of fun and I love hearing Rainie do songs in all kinds of styles.
This song marks the first time on the album that auto-tune (needlessly) appears through the songs, which I don’t care for. Thankfully it isn’t used heavily, but I feel like it was added to this album just because it’s trendy right now. It’s not like she needs it, so I guess it’s just a stylistic choice, but I would prefer it without.
5. 快轉 (Kuai Zhuan, Fast Forward)
This song is very, very slow, a big change in pace from Lovelution. Rainie’s voice is light and almost child-like. The song is sung very sweetly, but something about the piano in the background sounds a little off to me? I don’t know what it is, but I don’t really like the tune it plays. The song is pretty boring, once you have heard 30 seconds, you’ve pretty much heard it, it just goes on like that for the rest of it. One of the songs I’ll be skipping over.
6. 結痂 (Jie Jia, Scab)
Luckily, after the bland track is another great one! Maybe they’re trying to buffer the boring stuff with the really good stuff. This is one of my favorites of the album, it’s a bit pop-rock, but not in the same style of Lovelution. This one is even better. Rainie hits some really high notes in those refrains! She doesn’t sound perfect, it’s maybe a little strained, but the way it comes out sounds really good, so it might be intentional. The refrain here is very engaging, and the verses sound low and breathy, but they are a good match. If I have one complaint about the song it’s that it is a bit on the short side, at just over 3 minutes, but it’s 3 minutes of awesome, so I guess I don’t mind.
7. 转弯 (Zhuan Wan, Turning)
Rainie is really into guitars in this album, this track is full of them, too. This song is another good track. It’s very catchy, especially the refrains. I like these types of songs from Rainie, she makes such awesome pop. The auto-tune does return in this song, but it is kept to a minimum, so I can overlook it. The song is good enough for me to like it regardless.
8. 幸福預兆 (Xing Fu Yu Zhao, Happy Omen)
Another decent pop song, although this one isn’t as strong a track as most of the others I liked. I still wouldn’t skip it, though, it’s pleasant and happy, and nice to listen to. It just doesn’t stand out as much as the others. It’s good, just not great.
9. 曬焦的一雙耳朵 (Shai Jiao De Yi Suang Er Duo, A Scorched Pair of Ears?)
Rainie returns to a slower pace again with this one, another dragging ballad. I’m not really much of a ballad person, unless it really grabs me. She has some I have really liked on previous albums, like Zuo Bian, or Yu Ai… But so far, I haven’t really cared for any of them on this one, except Flawed Beauty (is that even a ballad?). This one is much like the other two, very slow, does not grab me, isn’t catchy, just drags on for the entirety of the song, but with more strings in the instrumental. Rainie’s voice is beautiful on slow songs, but I just can’t get into this one. Rainie has said that this song left the most lasting impression on her. I guess we disagree…
10. 一個人的Happy Ending (Yi Ge Ren De Happy Ending, One Person’s Happy Ending)
Rainie picks up the pace for the ending track! Yay! This song is up-tempo and really fun! The refrain is very catchy and the song is probably the most “fun” track on the whole album. Rainie has some really cute exclamations in here, too (I like her, “What?” in there). Yeah, the auto-tune is back again a bit towards the end, but it’s still a great track and a wonderful way to leave us wanting more at the close of the album.
Overall, this album was very good, with only a few tracks that I didn’t like. Much like her first few albums, I pretty much liked EVERYTHING that wasn’t a ballad. Ballads are just so hit-or-miss with me. The ballads on her last album, Rainie & Love…?, were much stronger than these ones. However, the more upbeat pop tunes are really good, which makes me a happy camper. I still love Rainie. <3