Weirdness brings Chou down

Weirdness brings Chou down

Taiwanese megastar Jay Chou Jie-lun first rose to prominence as a gifted producer with an ear for mixing unexpected elements and sounds into his music.

As his singing career took off, he became more daring and incorporated quirky touches, like ping pong balls bouncing and dialling sounds, into his songs with varied success. He continues this hit-or-miss trend in his 11th album, Exclamation Mark (驚嘆號).

Let's talk about the good first. Mine Mine is a very catchy R&B-type of ballad played on a piano. Chou's voice is mostly autotuned, which adds another element to the track. Piano Wound (琴傷) is a classic Chou track as he adds rapping and beats over a piece of classical piano music.

And now the bad. There were definitely some "what's going on" moments in the album. Princess Syndrome (公主病) starts off with a frantic assault of noise before settling down and evolving into a decent rock song. This can't be said for Hydrophobic Sailor (水手怕水). The schizophrenic track sounds like an unpleasant saloon song from a Western flick filmed in Mandarin where the singer wanted to sound cool, so added beatboxing. It's a combination that does not work.

Exclamation Mark has a number of decent songs, but the weirder tracks definitely take a star away from the album. It's time for Chou to go back to basics and just focus on the music.

YP Rating: 3/5



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