[Album] Leehom Wang – If You Hear My Song

If You Hear My Song is the second album released by Leehom Wang. While his first album saw little success, Leehom moved record labels and was eventually promoted as someone with strong abilities in songwriter. This eventually led to his second album receiving moderate success and helping him to establish himself as a rising star.

ifyoulistentomysong
Released: August 7, 1996
1. If You Hear My Song (如果你聽見我的歌)
2. Call Me One Thousand Times (喊我一千遍)
3. Go Love (去愛)
4. Front Page Rock’n’Roll (頭版搖滾)
5. Stand By Me
6. It’s You (頭版搖滾)
7. Having You is Enough (有你就足夠了)
8. As Long As I Have You
9. Love is Difficult to Pull (情難牽)
10. Better Off Alone

Although I wasn’t too impressed by any songs off of his first album, the title track here, If You Hear My Song, is one of my favourite songs from him. It’s a slow ballad that has a very strong 90’s nostalgic sound to it. I love how it slowly gains steam before it goes into the chorus. The melody is really nice and I love how strong his voice sounds. It really complements the power the melody needs. It’s a great starter and one of his most emotional songs. Call Me One Thousand Times is actually a funky pop tune and it wasn’t what I was expecting. I do find the verses really odd as the singing is a bit weirder and the background vocals are also very strange. I feel like this song isn’t my cup of tea because it just doesn’t have a more obvious structure and the whole song just comes off a little awkward. There are some interesting parts, but I’m not a big fan of the overall delivery. Go Love is slow like a ballad, but has a brighter sound to it. It reminds me of something from his first album. I’m not sure what to feel about this song because the melody isn’t particularly memorable and it seems really choppy. The music is a bit soulful, but doesn’t quite push things either. I think it’s just sort of in an odd place. Front Page Rock’n’Roll is a fun upbeat pop/rock and while it isn’t that catchy, it has a great energy to it. I also love the music as the rock elements work really nicely with the splashes of brass. It sort of reminds me of songs from the early late 80’s/early 90’s that would be featured in some fun movies. It’s just a lot of fun and Leehom sounds like he is having a blast as well. Stand By Me is a contemporary cover of the Ben E. King classic of the same name. This is a great song and I love the song in its original form, so I was interested in Leehom’s take. He tries to make it a bit more R&B and hip-hop, but I’m not quite sure if those choices were great. He uses some really odd instruments like a freaky squeaking sound that just distracts things at the most crucial point of the song. It’s unfortunate because Leehom sounds great singing this. It’s You is a slower ballad that focuses a lot on a gentle guitar. I really want to like this song, but it’s just too slow and sleep-inducing. It is nice and soft, but feels more like a lullaby. The music doesn’t really do much and just keeps this gentle quality going. Sweet song, but just not for me. Having You is Enough is another slow acoustic ballad and I’m not sure if I can get through this one. I do feel like it doesn’t have that dreamier quality of the last song, so it has a bit more power and I quite like how Leehom’s voice sounds here. With that said, it just feels so long and like it doesn’t really go anywhere. These kinds of songs are always hit or miss for me. And…As Long As I Have You is the English version of this song. I’m surprised they put it right after the original because that’s three really slow acoustic ballads in a row and two of them were the same song. An odd choice. Love is Difficult to Pull is another ballad, but finally we get something with piano. I quite like the feeling of this song because the verses always feel like they are trying to show that something good is coming in the chorus. The chorus’ melody actually isn’t what I was expecting, but it’s not that bad. I was expecting something bigger and more grand, but this one goes through little bursts of power and an unpredictable melody. Better Off Alone is another English song, though I’m pretty sure this is an original. It has a jazzier vibe to it that sets it apart from the other songs on here. I mean I do like the sound of it, especially the chorus, which is more energetic and quite catchy. I was not expecting that power as the verses are quite slick. I didn’t like it at first, but this song definitely grew on me.

Overall: To be honest, I was a bit surprised coming out of this album. The first song is amazing and one of his best songs ever, but the rest of the album just fell flat for me. His first album didn’t have many stand out pieces, but the songs were on a more consistent level. He played around with his sound more often on here, but it was just hit-or-miss. The slower acoustic songs were especially disappointing for me.

C

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[Album] Cyndi Wang; Cyndi Loves You

Cyndi Loves You is the second album released by Cyndi Wang. This was another successful album by the rising star and contains some of her most well-known upbeat pop tunes.

cyndilovesyou
Released: March 26, 2004
1. Love You (愛你)
2. Moonlight (月光)
3. See You Tomorrow (明天見)
4. Rhythm of Love (戀愛節奏)
5. Sugar Jar (糖罐子)
6. Love Set (愛的套餐)
7. First Person I Loved (第一次愛的人)
8. Hold You and Cry (抱著妳哭)
9. Kindred Spirit (心心相印)
10. Feather (羽毛)

Love You is a cover of a song by Korean girl group, Papaya. It’s a cute tune with some reggae elements to it. The original (and other covers) is already great, so this song is a solid starter. It’s one of her biggest hits and it shows. It’s catchy, simple and works really well with Cyndi’s sweet voice. It’s the type of song that is easy to sing along to. Moonlight is another cover, but this time of a song by the Village Singers (later covered by Shimatani Hitomi). I quite like Shimatani’s cover, so this is another nice version although it replaces the latin sound for something more laid back. It starts off with a gentle acoustic vibe and Cyndi sounds great here. As the song goes on, it gains some other instruments that give a fuller sound, but it still retains that more traditional style to it. It’s a really charming tune. See You Tomorrow is the album’s first ballad and it’s a sadder one. I love how the song starts with the piano and rain and sets a nice atmosphere. It sort of builds up from there before bringing in the strings for the chorus. It’s not the catchiest melody for a ballad from her, but it does get the job done and it works nicely with the music. Cyndi also gives a pretty decent vocal performance and one I wasn’t expecting from her. Rhythm of Love is pretty cool with its R&B elements. It does sound like something from 2000 and not 2004, but there are some fun parts to it like the verses. I don’t think Cyndi’s sweet voice really works here though and it lacks a bit of impact. It’s a decent song and the chorus is catchy, just not as strong as the first three tracks. Sugar Jar is a midtempo pop/R&B and I think this works much better with Cyndi’s voice. Unfortunately, at this point, this is the most boring song on the album. It isn’t bad, but the melody just isn’t as memorable and it sort of lulls about. I think it would have been better if there was a more drastic transition into the chorus. Love Set opens with some super odd background vocals, but soon transitions into a fun and bright pop tune. This is a cover of a Korean song by Hyun Zoo, but I’m not that familiar with the original, however this tune definitely has qualities of an early 00’s K-Pop song. It is catchy, although it does come off a bit more outdated than some of the other songs. First Person I Loved is a cover of M2M’s “The Day You Went Away”, which is originally a great pop tune. Cyndi does this song justice although there are times where her singing is a bit off for the song’s atmosphere. It’s a catchy ballad and has a stunning melody that works beautifully with its melancholic atmosphere. I think my only major problem is the editing, which makes things have a bit of a disconnect between the vocals and music. Back to the Mandopop ballad sound, Hold You and Cry just starts off very boring. The verses have nothing particularly interesting and I’m lulled to sleep. The chorus is a bit better as the melody has some power to it, but the overall delivery is on the dull side. It’s so weird because I usually like songs like this, but verses are actually a negative aspect to the song. Kindred Spirit starts off in a way that makes it sound like its setting up for something and it is as around a minute in, a dance beat comes stumbling in. I’m not quite sure if I like this song though. I was expecting something a little more exciting as the beat is quite light and the delivery is a little flat. The only thing keeping the song afloat is the melody and even doesn’t have anything helping to push it forward. Feather is light R&B/pop ballad, but it does what the last ballad did, which was use a boring verse to set up a slightly more interesting chorus. It just makes the song feel so slow and harder to get through. The chorus also lacks a bit of a strong melody as it sounds more like Cyndi is fitting in as many words as she can into it. Just meh.

Overall: I wasn’t really expecting a lot from this album and its delivery was actually a bit lacking. There were very few songs that stood out to me. Sure, there were a few decent tunes and one tune I would revisit, but the rest were forgettable and made little impact. They weren’t terrible to say the least, just dull and did little to enhance the album’s sound. I think I actually preferred her debut album, which had higher highs.

B-

[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+

[Mini-Album] A-Lin – Love, May I Please Ask How to Go?

Love, May I Please Ask How to Go? is the first mini-album released by A-Lin.

lovemayiplease
Released: June 8, 2007
1. Love, May I Please Ask How to Go? (愛 請問怎麼走)
2. Absurd (荒唐)
3. Changing Seasons (換季)

The mini opens with the title track, Love, May I Please Ask How to Go?, which is of course I ballad. A-Lin does ballads best as her strong vocals really work well with slower music. The song is a pretty standard Mandopop ballad and while it isn’t as strong as the title track from her first album, it’s still a solid song. I think part of that is the relatively catchy melody and the production being crisp and clean. The bridge into the final chorus is probably my favourite part of the song. Absurd is yet another ballad (all three tracks are ballads) and it pretty much follows the same path of the last song, focusing on the piano and A-Lin’s vocals. At first, this one sounds like the last song, but it gets better at the chorus where the heavy percussion and strings come slamming in. It really brings the energy up and is a nice surprise that helps the song stay different from the other. I think I like this one more. Changing Seasons is a bit gentler of the trio. This lets it stand out in a way, but it also comes off a bit weaker than the others. The melody is nice and the mix of music with the melody makes me feel it has some more “traditional” aspects in its influence. A decent song, but it feels a bit outdone by the other two ballads.

Overall: This is a pretty strong mini and a nice follow-up from her first album. I do like the idea of using three ballads, but I just wish there was a bit more variety in the music. All three have slight differences but the general feel is pretty much the same and A-Lin has the vocal capabilities to take on something a bit more dramatic than the songs on here. I think a large part of what makes this mini so strong is the great production (must be Avex).

B+

[Album] Coco Lee – Promise Me

Promise Me is the second album released by Coco Lee.

promiseme
Released: December, 1994
1. I’m Still Your Lover (Unplugged) (我依然是你的情人)
2. Sincere Intentions (真心真意)
3. Promise Me (答應我)
4. Love, Never Comes Back Again (愛,再也不回來)
5. Don’t Let Me Really Fall in Love with You (別讓我真愛上你)
6. Let Me Love (讓我愛吧)
7. Unfaithful (變心)
8. Love Come So Easy
9. Fly (飛)
10. You are Not My Only One (你不是我的唯一)
11. Let the World Be More Beautiful (Merry Christmas) (讓世界更美麗)

In a way to connect this album to her first one, the album opens with an unplugged version of a song from her first album. I’m Still Your Lover (Unplugged) basically has Coco attempting the song acapella at the start and we really get a sense of her vocal abilities. It’s a short rendition, but it’s a nice way to open things up and it’s nice they picked the best song from her first album. Sincere Intentions comes off as a total 90’s pop ballad to me with its explosive music and soaring melody. The song does come a bit too generic and I feel like there isn’t that much that really makes it stand out from her other songs. It’s not particularly catchy, but the thing that the song does do well is show off Coco’s strong vocals. It’s not bad and I do like it, but I’ve heard better. The title track, Promise Me, is a change of pace as we are given something a bit more laid back with a nice touch of acoustic guitar. I do like how the song builds up into the chorus. It’s not that catchy, but the melody is definitely more memorable than the last song’s melody. It’s a decent tune, but once again, not a stand out in Coco’s discography. Love, Never Comes Back Again is a nice ballad, but with Chinese flair in terms of the synths used. It does bring something a bit different in the music compared to the other ballads, but at the same, the whole feeling of the song is a bit outdated and the structure is very similar to other songs on here. I want to like this song more, but it just doesn’t quite change throughout its four minutes. I wish the final chorus was more dramatic, but Coco flutters on her head voice a lot, so it doesn’t quite have the same impact. Don’t Let Me Really Fall in Love with You starts off sounding like another of your classic 90’s pop ballads. However, once the chorus comes popping in, the tune totally turns to the Mandopop side of things. It has a powerful backing, but the melody isn’t as powerful and floats on top of the heavy percussion. Fortunately, the good thing about this song is that the melody totally has the nostalgia factor to it. It’s much more memorable than the other songs up to this point. Let Me Love just comes out of nowhere and I love it. This is the first upbeat dance song and it totally has that 90’s house vibe to it that keeps it exciting. I know Coco can do some great upbeat tunes and this is a great example. The melody is catchy and the music is explosive and has a lot of energy. My only gripe is that Coco sings a lot of it in her head voice, so I feel like it would have been more powerful if she used her mixed voice more. Unfaithful starts off with a more traditional Chinese sound, but then switches to something more pop/rock. It’s a decent tune and I do like the change in sound, but I wish it played up the traditional vibe a bit more as it would have been a nice surprise. The song sort of ends up forgettable anyways. Love Come So Easy has a bit of a Mediterranean sound going on and has a more relaxed style. These kinds of songs just aren’t my cup of tea and while the song does have its charms, it just comes off a bit boring for me. It’s more background music, although I do like the guitar throughout the song. Fly is another pop ballad and I feel like it brings a bit of oldschool charm to its melody. Unfortunately, the music is just generic and it doesn’t really help allow the melody to stand out. It literally feels like someone copy and pasted another songs background music and pasted it here. Coco does sound quite nice though. You are Not My Only One is yet another pop ballad, although the music of this one is a bit jazzier. Unfortunately by this point, these ballads are doing nothing for me. The melodies aren’t bad, but the music is just so generic that it’s a bit difficult to get through them. It suffers from the same fate as the last song. Let the World Be More Beautiful (Merry Christmas) is a nice change just because it adds something different. This one, like the title says, has a bit of a Christmas vibe to it due to the music and inclusion of child choir. The biggest change though is that halfway through the song, the song just changes and becomes some upbeat pop tune. It’s not catchy, but at least it isn’t a ballad.

Overall: Coco’s first album wasn’t that strong, but I was hoping for something a bit stronger with this. I mean there is one really good song on here, but the majority of the album included these old school ballads that started to all blend into one. I wish there was a bit more variety, specifically more upbeat tunes as my main problem was that the music was really copy and paste for a lot of the songs. Also, the production of the songs was also off. There was some potential, but that mostly laid in Coco being such an expression vocalist.

C

[Album] Jolin Tsai – Don’t Stop

Don’t Stop is the second album released by Jolin Tsai. It continued the girl-next-door image that Jolin became known for. The album proved to be an even bigger success as it sold over 400,000 copies.

dontstop
Released: April 26, 2000
1. Don’t Stop
2. Are You Happy? (你快樂嗎)
3. What Kind of Love? (什麼樣的愛)
4. You Gotta Know
5. Eternity (永恆)
6. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (Hi) (嗨)
7. Words of Loneliness (孤單的人總說無所謂)
8. Floating (漂浮)
9. Love Song for You (唱這首歌)
10. Sugar Sugar

The album opens with Don’t Stop, which is a cover of S Club 7’s Bring It All Back. It does try to change things up because it adds a bit of guitar throughout the song to give it a pop/rock edge to it compared to the poppier original. It’s a catchy song and this version still retains that. I don’t think I’m in love with it because it just doesn’t push things to the next level, but Jolin does sound more confident than on her first album. Are You Happy? is the album’s main ballad single and it is the best song on here (and stronger than anything on her debut). First, the song has a great melody and it is memorable. It’s the type of song that is easy to sing along to. Also, Jolin’s voice sounds much stronger and she has better control over her voice. She still isn’t the strongest vocalist, but she does handle the ending note change much better at the end. What Kind of Love? is another ballad that is quite similar to the last song. I don’t think this one is as memorable, but it is still a nice tune. It’s a bit calmer and less passionate sounding, but the energy does pick up a little more later on. It’s not that bad, but it does come off a bit boring because Jolin’s voice is a bit monotone throughout. You Gotta Know comes in and it is an upbeat pop tune with some light rock elements. It sounds a bit like a cover, but I’m not sure. It really reminds me of songs from the mid-90’s, but not as catchy. The way the vocals are edited is a bit off and it just comes off dull and while the music has energy, but the melody just doesn’t hit that spot. Not bad, but just incredibly average. Eternity is yet another ballad. It starts off very similar to the last ballad with its gentle sound and gradual push. I must say that I like this song more than the last song because Jolin’s sweet vocals work really nicely with the music. Unfortunately, the song tries to step things up at the end and it just doesn’t work. It’s a bit of a mess vocally. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (Hi) is a big change as we are given an upbeat reggae tune. The song isn’t terrible, but it is a nice change of pace and sound. I don’t think the hooks are as strong as I want them to be, but I like the vibe the music gives. The odd background vocals do ruin the song a bit though and I don’t quite like how Jolin’s voice is edited. Could be better to be honest. Words of Loneliness is a darker sounding ballad and the music nicely fits the music and lyrics. This one really reminds me of something from the mid-90’s in C-Pop, which is a nice change as the ballads always came off a bit more emotional at that time. Unfortunately, the song doesn’t really change much throughout and keeps up at a pretty steady sound and atmosphere. I wish it did get a bit more powerful as it is a longer tune (around five minutes). Still a nice tune though. Floating is an upbeat song with a bit of a heavier bass background. I quite like the more laid back and carefree vibe of the song and the odd fusion of instruments that come in is an interesting surprise as well. The melody isn’t particularly catchy, but there’s a charm to its unpredictability that is a nice change from some of the other songs. Love Song for You is a cover of a Lee Soo Young song. I’m not as familiar with the original, but the chorus does sound more like a Korean ballad. It’s a nice tune, but I don’t think it’s as powerful as it could be. The music sounds more like the karaoke version due to the instruments used and Jolin’s voice just isn’t as strong as Lee Soo Young’s. Sugar Sugar is a cover of the famous Sugar Sugar song by The Archies (yes, the comic). I like that it tries to update things but bringing a dance beat and some more computerized sounding synths. It’s an interesting twist and I think it is one of the catchier songs on here. The weirdest part though is that there is a rap that was used here that is also featured in Kim Hyun Jung’s Breakup With Her.

Overall: This album was much better than her debut album. There are actually some good, memorable tracks on here and Jolin sounds much stronger. Unfortunately, the album is still weak in some areas. I feel like many of songs just didn’t take things to the next level or the way the music was done was just not as interesting. The covers were mostly weaker than the originals because the changes in music made them feel more like karaoke versions. It is a step up, but it could be better.

C+

[Album] Elva Hsiao – Red Rose

Red Rose is the second album released by Elva Hsiao. The album continued Elva’s success as it included two of Elva’s big hits of 2000.

redrose
Released: August 15, 2000
1. In the Rainy Season (雨季中)
2. One Person’s Excellence (一個人的精彩)
3. The Weather Outside the Window (窗外的天氣)
4. Not Ready (準備好了沒有)
5. Hooked (上鉤了)
6. Night (夜)
7. Rose (薔薇)
8. Movie Trailer (電影預告)
9. Give Me an Opportunity to Love You (給我重新愛你的機會)
10. First Ask Yourself (先問你自己)
11. Memory Letter (回憶信箋)

Elva’s second album starts with the best song on the album, In the Rainy Season. It isn’t an in-your-face, get your attention kind of opening, but it is definitely a grower. It continues that R&B sound from her first album, but everything is more polished. The music, the melody and Elva’s voice all seem more mature. The melody isn’t particularly catchy, but I do like how it works with the music and Elva’s voice fits this sound way better. Great! One Person’s Excellence is more upbeat than the last song as it has a steady dance beat going on throughout the song. At first, it doesn’t sound too interesting, but I actually enjoy how the song builds up on a feeling. It makes the song dramatic. The chorus is catchy and it’s the kind of song that is easy to sing along to. It does sound a bit outdated now, but it’s still a solid tune. The Weather Outside the Window is a slow moving R&B ballad. It starts off like it will have a bit of energy, but then everything just drops and we get something that drags on for a bit. The chorus is better because the melody starts to speed up a bit and it gains a bit of power to it. I do like this song though because the melody is quite nice. If the verses were cut a bit shorter, it would’ve been better though. Back to the pop side of things, Not Ready is a bit of an odd song. It is incredibly generic and just not my cup of tea. It relies a lot on repetition, but it isn’t catchy and the music isn’t particularly interesting either to give the song some power. Unfortunately, one of the weaker album tracks. Luckily, Hooked is much better than the last song. While it brings back that R&B sound, it is more on the midtempo side of things and easily the catchiest song on the album. I feel like this kind of song was very popular around this time and I love it. Elva’s deeper tone really suits the song and works nicely with the light funk sound it has. Night brings something a bit more on the slower side and I’m on the fence with it. The song has some clever hooks and I do enjoy it as I think it samples (or covers) an older tune. My main problem is that it is just a bit too slow and the music sounds really oldschool. Elva does sound really nice here and she doesn’t overdo it. The title track, Rose, starts off in an interesting way. I have actually grown to really enjoy this song. I feel like it does need to be tweaked in some areas, but I do like it’s slight pop/rock take on things even though it’s more of a ballad. The song has a nice melody and it features one of Elva’s stronger vocal performances. It all really blends well together. Movie Trailer brings back to the uptempo pace. This song isn’t the strongest upbeat offering, but it is a decent tune. I quite like its slight disco influence and the song is quite catchy even though its a bit repetitive. While there are some odd adlibs around the end, I do think Elva’s voice sounds better compared to her first album. Give Me the Opportunity to Love You is the next ballad and is an 80’s slow jam. At first, this song sounds incredibly dull. The verses are really forgettable. The only thing that makes it stand out is the chorus. The melody here is really quite beautiful and I love how Elva sings it. It is sort of intoxicating.  Also, Elva’s belting at the end sounds great too. It’s not a bad song, but the verses could be worked on. First Ask Yourself is the most aggressive song on the album as it has some stronger hip-hop elements to it. It’s an interesting change compared to the more pop/R&B take the rest of the album goes. It’s a bit outdated sounding at this point and I find that the melody is a bit “heavy” sounding, especially over this music. It does have some catchy hooks, but it’s a bit on the average side. Memory Letter ends the album on a weird note as it introduces some sounds that aren’t heard throughout the rest of the album. It has a more eerie quality to it, especially with how Elva sings it. Surprisingly, it is a good tune. I do think it does get a bit dull at first because it is difficult to differentiate the different parts of the song, but it does get better around the end.

Overall: I enjoy this album just slightly more than her debut just because I like the darker mood of the album. With that said, it’s still another decent release. There are some solid songs on here and I like that she did try a few different things. My main problem is that some of the songs sound really outdated (expected in a way) and that the music is sometimes lacking compared to the melodies. Also, sometimes the songs would just drag on for a while. A few could have been cut shorter.

B