[Album] A-mei Zhang – Bad Boy

Bad Boy is the second album released by A-mei Zhang. The album proved to be an even bigger success than her debut and many of the songs on the album are still regarded as classics. It was so popular that it eventually became the best selling album in Taiwan, with over 1.3 million copies sold.

badboy
Released: October 7, 1997
1. Can’t Cry (哭不出來)
2. Whenever I Think About You (一想到你呀)
3. Lonely Tequila (孤單 Tequila)
4. Dancing Alone (一個人跳舞)
5. Listen to the Sea (聽海)
6. Bad Boy
7. Sweet Words (甜言蜜語)
8. Lover? Enemy? (情人?敵人?)
9. Love, Not Too Early or Too Late is Better (愛,不太早不太晚,剛好)
10. Loved You (愛過你)

It’s a bit of a surprise that the album starts with Can’t Cry, which is a ballad. Although she did it with her debut, this one is a bit different because it is more of a slow builder. The song starts off pretty gentle with just A-mei, a piano and light synths. The chorus is definitely the highlight as the melody does a great job showing off A-mei’s soaring vocals. The song only really starts picking up after the second bridge where A-mei hits a huge note before slamming into the final chorus. It’s exhilarating and a strong start. Whenever I Think About You is my favourite song on the album. It’s the first upbeat song but it has this carefree nature about it that I absolutely love. Not to mention that it is really catchy. The music itself is a bit oldschool, but I think it still holds up rather well because the stomping beat and funky guitar really give it some great energy. With that said, I love how fun the song sounds and it is the kind that is easy to sing along to. Lonely Tequila is a bit off an odd song as it has a jazzier aspect to it. The synths and saxophone here make the song sound totally 90’s, but it still does a great job of bringing a more mature style. The beginning is nice, but it isn’t as interesting as the second half the song where the song becomes more dramatic and intense and fits the lyrics that delve into needing someone. This song fits perfectly with the raspy quality of A-mei’s vocals and it is another stellar tune. Dancing Alone continues the jazzier sound, but brings something a little more upbeat. I love the funky bass and it sounds great in this sexier number. I think one thing I love about the songs on this album is that A-mei’s voice is just so versatile and her vocal abilities allow her to really take over a song even if she doesn’t belt it out. This song isn’t as strong as the other songs, but I still love it because it has a great 80’s vibe going on and it is still really catchy. Listen to the Sea is probably the album’s biggest song and one of A-mei’s signature hits. This one is a bit like the first song on the album because it starts off pretty gentle. The chorus is once again the highlight with its soaring notes and does a great job of matching with the heartbreaking lyrics. A-mei’s voice sounds especially great here as well. The title track, Bad Boy, is a fun latin-inspired upbeat pop tune. I wasn’t a big fan of this song when I first heard it, but it has grown on me tremendously. The guitar tied with the pounding beat and A-mei’s raspy vocals is a really great fusion. The hooks are a bit repetitive, but it still works out nicely and it is easy to get stuck in your head. With that said, I actually love the verses more. Solid tune. At first, I found Sweet Words to be boring because it focuses a lot on just A-mei and an acoustic guitar. However, the song is really beautiful and A-mei’s voice when that opening chorus line comes in is absolutely stunning. I also love the music as the percussion gives subtle, but much needed boosts of power while piano and guitar seem to play off of each other. It’s not one of her usual power ballads, but it still works wonderfully. Speaking of power ballads, Lover? Enemy? comes storming in. This is a dark and dramatic ballad, but it shows A-mei’s versatility and how she can handle all different kinds of songs. With that said, whereas the last song is more timeless in its sound, I find the music to this one totally stuck in the 90’s with its synths. With that said, I love it and it is a favourite of mine. A-mei’s voice is at her most powerful and the music does a great job of really helping her voice soar. Love, Not Too Early or Too Late is Better is my least favourite song on the album. It is an upbeat song with a pop melody, while the music is a weird mix of pop and rock. It’s not a bad song per se, just weaker than everything else on here. It is relatively catchy, but it just doesn’t have the same attitude or hooks the other upbeat songs have nor does it have the emotional power. With that said, there are some really great parts to it like the bridge. A good song, but just outdone. Finishing the album on a powerful note, I Loved You is probably the most “Mandopop” sounding ballad on here as the melody reminds me of other songs that were released around this time. It has a really powerful accompaniment and I do like the energy that it brings, but I wish the melody stood out a bit more. With so many strong ballads on this album, it sort of sits in the shadow. It has its charms though.

Overall: This is one of my favourite albums, if not my favourite. I love almost every song and the first eight songs are all strong while still giving a variety of sounds. While some of the songs are a bit outdated in the music, I find the melodies to be timeless and A-mei’s voice really helps keep the songs really engaging. Back in the day, I only liked a few songs from this album and would have ranked her first album higher, but this is definitely an album that is both cohesive, but full of individual hits.

A+

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