I like to find out an album’s concept, especially those of artistes/musicians who write and produce their own albums, to find out the inspiration behind their albums. So I read up on the concept behind Wang Leehom’s (王力宏) latest album, Heart Beat (心.跳).
About three-quarters of the promotional copy talks about things other than the music. What a shame but I guess as Leehom does more interviews, the concept behind this album should come out stronger (that is, if the media pays more attention to the music than gossip). Anyway, what I gathered from the promotional copy is that in this album, Leehom does not restrict himself to any musical style (think “chinked-out” for two of his last three albums). Rather, he challenged himself in breaking music boundaries.
I do sense a trail of rock influence in almost all of the songs, with some heavy use of the electric guitar, sometimes in songs where I think would sound better without it, like 春雨里洗过的太阳 and 另一个天堂.
There are certainly songs which stand out because such styles are not common in Chinese pop music, like 爱得 得体, 我完全没有任何理由理你, 玩偶 and 竞争对手. This shows Leehom’s versatility as a musician. However, a few of these songs somehow does not sound quite right. I think Leehom’s voice does not really suit some of these styles.
The slower tracks on this album like Everything, 另一个天堂 and 脚本 do not really stand out in my opinion, especially when Leehom has written songs which were melodically more engaging.
The more upbeat and fast tracks fare better on this album compared to the ballads. The tracks that stand out for me are 心跳, 我完全没有任何理由理你 and 竞争对手. And I have to single out 竞争对手 as the best track for me.
Musically, the album’s worth a 4 but on the whole, taking into account the vocals, arrangements and such, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5. I guess expectations are higher when it’s Leehom.
01 – 爱得 得体
02 – 心跳
03 – 春雨里洗过的太阳
04 – Everything
05 – 我完全没有任何理由理你
06 – 另一个天堂
07 – 玩偶
08 – 脚本
09 – 竞争对手
10 – 摇滚怎么了!!
Update, 5 January 2009:
After listening to this album a few more times, I’m beginning to appreciate the songs on the album more, especially the fast and mid-tempo tracks. The songs just grew on me. I still stand by my opinion that the slow tracks are not the best that Leehom has composed but I’m revising my rating for the album to a 4 out of 5.