Pandora is the third album released by Angela Chang.
Released: January 6, 2006
1. Invisible Wings (隱形的翅膀)
2. Pandora (潘朵拉)
3. Perfume Lily (香水百合)
4. Really (真的)
5. Recently (最近)
6. Shaken World (驚天動地)
7. Camouflage (保護色)
8. Pocket’s Sky (口袋的天空)
9. Love Journey (愛情旅程)
10. Like You Without a Reason (喜歡你沒道理)
11. Forever Daytime (永晝)
The album opens up with a simple Mandopop ballad, Invisible Wings. Its arrangement is a bit more sparse and it has a traditional spin to its sound. This fits perfectly with Angela’s nasally vocals. The chorus is especially pretty when there is a bit more power coming in. The song never really tries to do too much and remains relatively simple throughout except with its inclusion of strings from time to time. It’s a really simple and touching tune and is easily one of her best ballads.
Right after we get zoomed into an upbeat synth pop tune. Pandora is something we haven’t heard from Angela before, but it’s a nice change up. It has some qualities reminiscent of dance/pop songs from Jolin or Elva, but from their early 00’s days and not around the same time (2006) as it lacks the sexier edge in the vocal delivery. The song comes out stomping and the funky arrangement keeps things interesting. It’s pounding chorus is especially fun with the chant-like hooks.
Perfume Lily goes for something a little lighter with its slithering piano line and cute synths. Up to this point, this is the weakest tune. While the arrangement is quite nice, the melody is lacking in anything really attention grabbing. It’s cute and there are some fun points, but I wish it had a stickier melody.
We finally get delivered another ballad in the form of Really. This is the album’s power ballad. Unlike the first song, this one builds up the intensity as it progresses. Opening with just piano and strings, the song focuses more on Angela’s emotional vocals. The chorus has a really gorgeous melody that lends itself well to the emotionally charged arrangement. Everything really ramps up at the end when the percussion and guitar come blasting in.
Recently is another slower tune, but this time goes the acoustic route. I like its more relaxed vibe and its nice to get a tune that brings a softer side. Unfortunately, this tune gets a bit boring at times as well. The melody is pretty, but just sort of floats along. It does work nicely with Angela’s voice though.
I like the energy of Shaken World. It isn’t quite as intensely uptempo as the title track and reminds me of “Aurora” from her last album. It has a more dramatic quality in its arrangement due to the piano, strings and light percussion. The melody isn’t particularly catchy, but there is definitely a more mystical quality that works well with the music. I wish it pushed a little harder at times, but there are some really beautiful parts.
Camouflage is pretty much a joke. It jumps in with its awkward hip-hop elements and has Angela trying to rap and be all swaggy and cool. The verses aren’t too bad because they are more melodic, but then it goes into the rapping pre-chorus and it’s really cringey. It’s a bit unfortunate this part is so horrible and actually hilarious to listen to considering the chorus is actually pretty catchy. It’s not a bad song, but just features that terrible rap section.
Thankfully, we turn to Pocket’s Sky. This would have been a nice continuation of “Shaken World” as it continues that more mystical and dramatic quality that was heard from “Aurora”. The song reminds me of mid-00’s J-Pop music with its intense buildup of strings into an open chorus. I love the melody here as even though it isn’t particularly catchy, it works perfectly with that sweeping arrangement. It’s a stunning tune and one of Angela’s best.
It’s been a while since the last ballad and we get Love Journey next. While it is slower, it does a nice job of continuing the sound of the last song in its arrangement due to the subtle strings. The song also has an interesting guitar solo break that feels more reminiscent of 90’s C-Pop, which is a nice throwback. It’s an overall nice song. It isn’t as strong as the other ballads, but it has its charms.
Like You Without a Reason comes storming in with its funky pop sound. It has some new jack swing elements thrown in for the arrangement as well, which helps it to stand out. My main problem is that the verses come off sounding like a cooler pop tune but the chorus suddenly changes things by transitioning into a brighter pop tune. The melody is still catchy, but I would’ve preferred a harder hitting chorus.
The album ends on a slow note with Forever Daytime, which is a simple pop ballad. It has a dreamier quality to its arrangement, which makes it feel almost like a lullaby. It doesn’t quite hit that point though due to Angela’s piercing vocals. It’s a nice tune to end on, but it is the album’s weakest ballad.
Overall: This is yet another quality album by Angela Chang. I don’t think it is as consistently strong as her last album, but there are some really high points that stand out and all of the songs are pretty listenable. There are a few odd choices here or there and some songs got a bit boring, but the general quality is solid.