To Hebe is the first solo album released by Hebe Tian. Although she was part of S.H.E for a good nine years before this album, she had only released a few solo songs here or there on OSTs beforehand. This album proved to be a major success as it ended up becoming one of the best selling of 2010 in Taiwan and two singles being huge hits in many Chinese-speaking countries.
Released: September 3, 2010
2. To Hebe
3. Isolated Islands (離島)
4. Apartment with No Manager (沒有管理員的公寓)
5. I’m Sorry to Myself (我對不起我)
6. I Think I Will Not Love You (我想我不會愛你)
7. Loneliness Is Fine (寂寞寂寞就好)
8. You’re Too Mad (你太猖狂)
9. Super Mario (超級瑪麗)
10. For the Children (給小孩)
The album opens with Love?, which is a slow acoustic pop tune. Usually I’m not a big fan of these kinds of slower tunes, but there is something really beautiful about the melody here and it definitely brings some life to things. While it is only a minute and a half at the start, the full version actually appears right at the end. Love!, the complete version, adds a few more gentle instruments in to bring a fuller sound. It’s just as gorgeous in its full version and it’s easily one of the highlights of the album.
The title track, To Hebe, is a light pop/rock tune. It starts off pretty gentle, but the guitar and percussion soon start to come in and the energy starts to go up. The chorus isn’t bad and at first, I didn’t find it particularly catchy, but it has grown on me a bit. It sort of reminds me of something that Michelle Branch might have done back in the early 00’s. Not as memorable, but still decent.
Isolated Islands starts off with a really rich and beautiful guitar before Hebe’s voice comes in. It has a Mediterranean vibe to it, which is a nice change. Although I’m not particularly invested in these kind of songs, I do quite like how fluid and airy the melody is and I like how Hebe’s voice sounds. It’s a really gentle treat and a good song that is out of usual style.
Apartment with No Manager is not something I would’ve expected with a title like that. However, it has a really great light-pop/acoustic sound that has some gentle country vibes to it. It actually reminds me of something Stefanie Sun would do and I love her songs, so this is a great listen. The melody isn’t quite as endearing as I want it to be, but there is some charm to the overall delivery of the song.
Finally on a darker side of things, we have the jazzier ballad, I’m Sorry to Myself. It focuses more on the piano and strings, specifically the cello, which is a really nice addition. It really gives the song a heaviness to it that is only helped by the haunting violins. The melody is quite beautiful as well and Hebe sounds great here. I especially love how the song gains a bit more energy by the end.
I Think I Will Not Love You starts off in a bit of a cool way, but does sound a bit like some of the other tracks on here. Only when the percussion really comes in does it start to stand out and I love how it builds and builds into powerful pop/rock ballad. I like how that final chorus, things get even more intense. It’s a pretty dramatic song and something I haven’t really heard from Hebe before. Reminds me a bit more of Yoga Lin.
If there is one amazing tune on this album, it has to be the main single, Loneliness is Fine. It’s a bit more on the side of the typical Mandopop ballad, but brings in some other elements that were present in the other songs like its darker tone and rock undertones. I absolutely love this song. The chorus is so memorable and powerful and it lends itself well to both Hebe’s voice and the lyrics. That drop with the percussion really gives the chorus that punch it needs. Effortlessly great.
You’re Too Mad is an acoustic tune that really continues the melancholic feel of the entire album. It starts off quite beautifully and I love the touches of harmony here and there to help fill out the melody in the verses. The chorus is nice and reminds me a bit of something more from the 90’s in Mandopop. It’s not bad, but gets a bit dull though. I wish the ending had a bit more energy to it.
I usually don’t like lounge songs as much and while Super Mario isn’t a bad song, it just isn’t my cup of tea. It has a some nice points to it like the harmonies and cool electric guitar that sits under the melody, but the melody is just a bit too repetitive and doesn’t quite hit the spot. I feel like the song does get better by the second half, but it is probably the weakest song on here.
For the Children is a duet between Hebe and Yoga Lin, which is someone who would fit with the sounds on this album very well. It seems like these two would be a match and while the song starts out a bit boring, it really gets going by the second half. When that percussion kicks in, the song really blasts off and the two harmonize beautifully. It’s not the strongest song, but it is a nice duet.
Overall: This was a pretty strong debut album from Hebe and I’m glad she tried to branch out from the music that defined S.H.E. This album easily solidified her as a strong artist on her own and it shows here with the darker tones and stronger focus on the slower side of things. The album can get a bit much at times because every song is slow, but there are some really great tunes and the majority of the album is solid.