By Matt Taylor
The wait is nearly over! Four years since her last studio album, 2014's critical and commercial blockbuster PLAY 呸, the dancing queen of Mandopop Jolin Tsai 蔡依林 has finally announced the release of her 14th studio album UGLY BEAUTY, which will be released on December 26.
Regarding the album title, Jolin expressed that she wanted to use this album to discover the ugliness behind the perfect surface of reality, and show that perfection is not equal to all. Each song will represent a different personality, viewpoint and style.
To create this eleven-track record, Jolin mobilised over 100 different musicians from Taiwan, Thailand and Sweden, and even took a direct role in writing and producing six of the tracks, something she has traditionally shied away from. She said that working with so many different creative people gave her the motivation to play a larger role in the creation of her music, and to her surprise, she actually enjoyed it, and hopes that this comes across to the listener.
One of the most noticeable features of the artwork is the oversized red lips, produced by Chinese designer Shuting Qiu. They are meant to symbolize words which we want to say, but are afraid to.
With hype and anticipation at fever pitch, limited pre-sales across Asia sold out in minutes, with the album receiving a platinum certification in China after only 24 hours. Demand was so high that a second print of pre-orders was arranged after fans vented their frustration on the social media accounts of Jolin's record label.
Since her debut album in 1999, Jolin Tsai has sold over 25 million records worldwide, and is one of the highest selling recording artists of the 21st century in Asia. Her most recent PLAY World Tour 呸世界巡迴演唱會 saw Jolin perform 34 concerts across five countries.
The first single from UGLY BEAUTY will premiere on December 21st, with the album following on December 26th.
In his long-awaited comeback, Mandopop king Wang Leehom builds on his previous experimentation with EDM sounds, releasing part 1 of 2 for his new digital album 'A.I. Love'. The first song on the two-song EP is the self titled first single 'A.I. Love', which since its release has been hotly debated over by netizens, who either seem to love or hate the song. As a hardcore Leehom fan and music journalist, I decided that now would be as good a time as ever for me to weigh in on the debate.
Starting off by unpacking the song lyrics, Leehom's voice; auto-tuned into a somewhat eerie manner comes in, chanting 'ethics attain ethics'; a play on the similar pinyin of those words in Chinese. In doing so, Leehom is already using the intricacies of the Chinese language to make a point. Both the words 'ethics' and 'attain' have the words 'dao de' in them in Chinese; ethics meaning 'dao de 道德' and attain meaning 'de dao得到'. Leehom uses their similarities; singing them in sequence to demonstrate the thin line that exists between ethics and attainment of success.
We see this particular play on words appear again leading up to the chorus ; and Leehom borrows the same technique for the chorus, singing 'A.I. Love(Ai)' repeatedly. This time, the play on words occurs between A.I., an English short-form for artificial intelligence and '愛Ai', the Chinese word for love. The wordplay works on two levels; first of all subtly reinforcing Wang's ongoing engagement with 'East meets West' themes within his music, and secondly making a statement on what he sees as the tug and pull between a reliance on digital technology at large (so much so that we use it to create sentient beings like ourselves) and real human emotions of love and concern; not only in a romantic sense but also in a general sense of stewardship and solidarity.
He touches on both these types of love in his verses, which feature heavy use of satire to hammer his point home. For example, in his first verse he sings:
'Inject a vaccine and you'll grow immunity/congratulations, you're now immortal/everyone wants a perfect lover/to give a shoulder massage at any time'
Leehom's use of satire here is almost palpable, and is clearly a critique on the concept of people using man-made means to become immortal; as well as the concept of an artificially created perfect lover. In his second verse, he uses satire again but moves his focus to how artificial intelligence and technology can be used in harmful and destructive ways, singing:
'Artificial Intelligence has finally perfected love/Just don't challenge it in go/No longer worry about the world's problems/it will colonize Mars'
R-Chord is set to release his all new album "Want You To Know" which was produced once again by the awesome Skot Suyama.
This time, the album is based around the concept of R-Chord's rebellious and straight-talking personality.
The album's theme is outlined as such:
"The music world doesn't have absolute blacks or whites.
When hypocrisy is pervasive, when the cruel reality naked,
The core of his world is music.
This is his free determination, his skill"
His album will be released on the 26th of August, and includes many collaborations, this time with Nine Chen, Nine one one, Z-Chen, MJ116 and Jess Lee on 12 high-voltage tracks that are all about the music.
It has been said that the visuals for this particular album are closely themed to reflect R Chord's daily life and show a more toned down, but still edgy image.
His electrifying first single "Braveheart" is out now, listen to it below!
Listen to R-Chord's Album Preview
Listen to R-Chord's "Braveheart" single
Popular host "Butterfly" has truly emerged from her cocoon with a new image that has shocked fans and audiences all over Asia!
The host who initially became popular as a personality on Children's TV shows made the transition into hosting "100% Entertainment" along with Show Lo and Alien Huang as well as members of the band Lollipop F a couple years back, and has been becoming more and more beautiful ever since.
Having admitted to some plastic surgery to enhance her looks, we applaud Butterfly for her candidness!
Signed under Show Lo's artist management company Creativity Entertainment, the pair have been keeping her EP details under wraps for a while, but released her five-track EP on the 19th of August.
Her first single "Sorry for the wait" was produced by famous producer Starr Chen, with lyrics penned by former member of Magic Power Gaga.
In the music video, she can be seen incorporating a handsome mix of Twerk, Hip Hop and Swag into her dance moves, while singing and rapping with the best of them. Now that was unexpected!
Check out her first single below:
Listen to Butterfly's first single "Sorry For The Wait"
A year after the release of his debut album 'Learn to Love", talented balladeer and singer-songwriter Eric Chou is back with his second album titled "What Love Has Taught Us".
After learning to love, he's back to teach us what love has taught him. Makes sense, don't it?
Hot off the presses, his single "How Are You" has become a cult success this summer, having already been covered hundreds of times since its release and attaining over 4 million YouTube hits since.
From what I've heard, Chou has certainly upped his game since the last album. His melodies flow a little more than they did before, and incorporate more sophisticated elements this time around.
As for his vocals, well...heart-meltingly warm and emotive as usual.
However, fans can expect more breakthrough efforts from Chou in this album, as he delves into the EDM genre and works with the likes of EDM/Hip Hop producer Starr Chen on single "Let it go".
Overall, given Chou's track record for some really solid, melodic tracks, I'm super excited to hear the rest of his album!
Listen to Chou's single "How Have You Been"