Review by: Matt Taylor
Since his debut album in 2013 scored him a slew of nominations at the 25th Golden Melody Awards, including a win for Best New Artist, Anhui born Li Ronghao has become a breakout star in mandopop, cementing his position as one of the most exciting newcomers in the industry, and a representative of a new wave of Chinese singers who have their eyes firmly set on topping the Taiwan market.
That being said, his third album, 2016’s Ideal (有理想) despite garnering some radio hits, failed to match the critical and commercial peaks of his previous endeavours, attracting criticism that he was retreading ground already walked on his previous records, and that his aesthetic had become tiring and too similar to his peers. Some even complained that his music had become too glossy, thereby losing the spark that made his star shine so bright at the beginning.
On his fourth full album, En (嗯), Li was evidently not looking to fall into the same trap. Writing over sixty songs before shortlisting the final ten and working with a variety of outside collaborators on the visuals, En is somewhat of a significant departure for the 33 year old singer, and sees him experimenting with a variety of genres, instruments, and vocal techniques.