[Album] Coco Lee – Woman in Love

Woman in Love is the third album released by Coco Lee. It was her last album under the Fancy Pie label and was released just a few months after her first English cover album, Brave Enough to Love. It fared better than her previous ones and helped heighten her popularity as a relative newcomer.

womaninlove

Released: September 16, 1995
1. My Love is Yours (我愛的是你)
2. Woman in Love (Strings Version) (被愛的女人 (弦樂版))
3. You are in My Heart (你在我心上)
4. Immortal (不朽)
5. Can’t Learn to Love You More (學不會更愛你)
6. Forget It (忘了吧)
7. Turn a Blind Eye (視若無睹)
8. Woman in Love (被愛的女人)
9. Pearl in My Hand (掌上明珠)
10. Thankful (感謝)

Opening things with My Love is Yours, we get a pretty dramatic ballad. Coco’s voice sounds really beautiful here and although she focuses on her head voice a lot, she is still able to bring the right punch to fit the percussion. The song itself starts off quite slow and gently, but it soon gains energy and power during the chorus. I actually like the melody here because there is an intensity to it. The song is a bit too outdated sounding, but it is nice.

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The title track is yet another ballad. It doesn’t quite have the same intensity as the last song, but there is an almost sad quality to the melody that really helps Coco’s voice to soar. The strings version is pretty beautiful and Coco demonstrates her vocal control here. The song feels a bit more traditional in its delivery, especially considering the use of the strings help to make it more haunting. The original version of Woman in Love that comes up later on doesn’t have as many differences but the added percussion and guitar actually help it sound fuller. The final chorus is also much stronger and really pushes things.

I’m not sure what to think as You are in My Heart is the third ballad in a row. I mean, this one seems to have an almost 90’s ballad feel to it and feels like something you would hear from a movie around this time. This especially evident in the music with its classic strings, light R&B beat and sparkling synths. It’s a pretty song, although a bit generic.

Immortal continues the ballad spree, but it has a more dramatic sound to it. I like how it uses some really dramatic instruments to create this overwhelmingly intense feeling that is only pushed forward by Coco’s passionate performance. My only gripe is that it feels like it is continually building to something, but the final chorus doesn’t quite hit the mark.

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I’m excited to finally get an upbeat song with Can’t Learn to Love You More. This one has a funky guitar riff and brings a bit of rock into it. I like that it has a brighter sound to it, but it isn’t particularly catchy. I feel like one of the biggest problems is that Coco is singing in her head voice throughout the whole song so it just lacks any punch in its vocal delivery. It would’ve been more interesting had it been in chest or mixed voice.

Forget It brings us a heavier pop tune that depends on a pumping bassline and light rock influence. I feel like the melody to this song is something very similar to what would be heard in the 90’s. It’s a pretty cool song and even though I wish it had a bit more power to it, it is still a catchy tune.

Returning to the ballad route, Turn a Blind Eye is a classic pop ballad. I feel as though this one comes off as your standard Mandopop ballad, but that’s not a bad thing. The melody is pretty catchy and it feels like the type that would be easy to sing along to. I don’t think it is particularly impressive, but I like its lighter and more straightforward appeal.

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Pearl in My Hand is a reggae song, which initially made me worried due to Coco’s last attempt at reggae on her first album…Luckily, this song is better than that one. I don’t think it’s that interesting and Coco tries to sing in a higher pitch, which is odd. It’s easily the weakest song on the album as the chorus is pretty flat and quite forgettable. Not terrible, just lackluster.

Of course things end on a slower note. Thankful is a pretty ballad and while it doesn’t sound particularly interesting at first, the melody has some really nice quirks to it. It takes a bit of time to really get moving, but I really like how calm and laid back it sounds. I feel like this is a good way to end things.


Overall: This is easily Coco’s strongest of her Fancy Pie albums. There were still a few weaker tunes, but the general delivery was much stronger. The ballads were pretty decent overall and it’s easy to see why Coco would excel at them since she has such a good voice. The upbeat songs were hit or miss though. My biggest gripe would probably be the over-reliance on her head voice, which just felt too weak on certain songs that called for some power.

B

[Album] Rainie Yang – Meeting Love

Meeting Love is the second album released by Rainie Yang. The album proved to be another success for the young singer with many of the songs becoming hits.

meetinglove

Released: March 19, 2006
1. Sweet Curse (甜心咒)
2. Cute (可愛)
3. Meeting Love (遇上愛)
4. On the Left (左邊)
5. Can’t Find It (找不到)
6. Celebration (慶祝)
7. Mustard Chocolate (芥末巧克力)
8. Sleeping Beauty’s Insomnia (失眠的睡美人)
9. Automatically (自然而然)
10. Oversensitive (過敏)

As with Rainie’s albums, this one opens with an upbeat tune, Sweet Curse. What I enjoy about this one is that it brings some disco influences, which wasn’t heard in her first album. I wasn’t expecting something this catchy to start things off, but I’m glad it does because it gives me some hope that this album will be stronger than her first. It’s a strong opener and even if Rainie’s vocals are a bit weak, the song itself is a lot of fun.

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Cute is the album’s first ballad and it is a pretty sweet song that matches its name. The verses aren’t that bad, but they are a bit boring. Luckily, the chorus is a bit better. While the delivery of the whole song is a bit generic, the melody is quite catchy. I especially like the song gets some more instruments popping in as it progresses. Generic, but a solid song.

The title track is a great tune. Meeting Love is another generic sounding song, but there is a sweetness to its light-hearted acoustic pop vibe. This kind of song works perfectly with Rainie’s candy-sweet vocals and while the song isn’t the most exciting, it has a relaxing catchiness to it. I especially like how the verses transition so easily into that cute chorus that really embodies the lyrical content.

On the Left brings down the energy a bit by bringing a more touching ballad. The chorus is quite nice and while the melody isn’t the catchiest on the album, it is a surprisingly solid tune. I think the problem is that it gets overshadowed down by some of the stronger ballads on her and so it ends up a bit forgettable. It’s a solid tune though.

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A more emotionally-charged ballad follows up the last song and while it starts off a little slow and dragged out, there are some charming points to it. Can’t Find It isn’t particularly catchy, but I do like the feeling that the song brings. My only problem is that it only really gets started about halfway through when the instruments start to boost the song a bit more. Even then, I don’t think it quite hits the spot.

Celebration starts off sounding like it will be another ballad, but a funky dance beat soon comes blasting in. This is definitely a more summery tune and it is needed considering the amount of slower tunes. Unfortunately, I don’t really enjoy this song that much because it goes a bit over-the-top in its “cuteness” factor. Rainie’s voice is particularly nasally and while the song has a decent hook, the overall delivery is a bit lacking. It is saved mostly by its pre-chorus.

Mustard Chocolate is another cute pop song and while it doesn’t quite overdo it like the last song, it doesn’t have the hook like the last song to really take it to the next level. I do like the odd synth refrain that it brings in the music, but it does remind me a lot of a Berryz Koubou song. Not horrible, but not that great either.

Luckily, we return to the more serious side of things with Sleeping Beauty’s Insomnia. This one has a light acoustic vibe to it, but the overall song feels very standard Mandopop ballad. However, I really love this kind of sound if the melody is nice and it is in this case. The guitar really adds a nice edge to the music and the slower delivery of the song really helps to amp up the emotional factors. The best part of the song is the ending where the electric guitar comes soaring in and makes it a much more powerful tune.

meetinglove

Automatically is the album’s last upbeat tune and it is a pounding dance tune. The music is a bit overpowering for me, but I do like that it has a lot of energy to it. I feel like the chorus is a bit flat because so much more could have been done to it. There could have been more flying synths, but instead it comes off a bit bare, which is unfortunate as the melody is actually pretty catchy. I do like this, but it could’ve been more.

If Rainie’s debut had Ambiguous as its stand out ballad, this album has Oversensitive. It starts off in a similar way with its gentle and slow start before really bringing the energy. The verses aren’t bad, but the chorus is definitely where things shine and that melody is quite catchy and everything works beautifully with Rainie’s sweet vocals. It doesn’t have the effortless charm that Ambiguous has, but it is a great ending.


Overall: This album is definitely stronger than her debut and I’m quite happy that it is. The middle of the album does suffer from some weaker songs, but they aren’t horrible. The beginning is definitely where the album shines most and the first three songs are among some of Rainie’s strongest (as well as the last song). It’s a pretty solid album, which I was not expecting.

B+

[Album] Rainie Yang – My Intuition

Rainie Yang initially began in a girl group called 4 in Love, but soon her success in some hit dramas led her to branch out on her own. Her debut album, My Intuition, was released with great anticipation and her debut single, the title track, was a huge hit in Taiwan. Since then, she has released a number of albums and appeared in many dramas.

myintuition
Released: September 9, 2005
1. Are You Obedient? (乖不乖)
2. Ambiguous (曖昧)
3. Ideal Lover (理想情人)
4. Just Wanna Love You (只想愛你)
5. Single Eyelids (單眼皮)
6. Habit (習慣)
7. Disappear (不見)
8. Color of Love (愛情的顏色)
9. True Blue
10. Next Time’s Smile (下一次微笑)

I like that the album opens on an upbeat note with Are You Obedient?, which is a funky pop tune with a cool guitar line. I like that they tried to spice it up a bit with the music, although I don’t think Rainie’s vocals are particularly eventful. Her sweet tone doesn’t suit this style. It’s still a catchy tune though.

The title track, Ambiguous, is a stunning pop ballad. It’s definitely more on the generic side of Mandopop ballads with its gentle guitar, piano and synths, but what makes it so stunning is the gorgeous melody. It’s quite memorable and Rainie sings the lyrics with such conviction that she really elevates the song. Her sweet tone definitely works best here.

Ideal Lover is more on the midtempo side of things, although it still sounds like a ballad. It starts in a pretty gentle way. The verses actually remind me a bit of “Part of Your World” from the Little Mermaid. The chorus has more energy to it, which provides a nice contrast  to the last song. Unfortunately, I don’t think the melody is as strong. It’s a solid tune, just not a stand out.

Just Wanna Love You is your standard Mandopop tune. I really like how Rainie sounds in the verses and she utilizes a bit more of her lower register. I do like the laid back vibe of the melody and it works really nicely with the music. This was a surprisingly nice tune.

Single Eyelids is the first upbeat tune since the first track and it takes on a more pop/rock approach. While the music is fun and reminds me of the 90’s, I’m not quite into the melody. It isn’t particularly melodic and just sounds like Rainie is trying to get in as many words as she could. It’s a bit underwhelming, although not a bad track.

Habit slows things back down with another ballad. This time, we are given something a bit more dramatic with the elegant strings and grand sounding melody. I do think the song is rather nice, but Rainie’s vocals are a bit weak at this point to really elevate the song to the next level. I do like the bridge a lot it brings in some heavy guitars to step the song up.

Disappear is a midtempo bubblegum pop song. It’s the sweetest sounding song on the album and works nicely with Rainie’s voice. Unfortunately, I feel like it’s a bit of a forgettable tune as the melody isn’t particular interesting. The music is also rather laidback.

Color of Love is a slower pop tune and I quite like how it starts off. The instruments are all very soft and come in slowly. My only problem with the song is that transition into the chorus. The song is so calm and then this sudden transition is really jarring. I’m not particularly fond of the chorus melody either.

True Blue is the most upbeat song on the album and is an exciting upbeat pop tune with some rock elements. I actually like the verses more than the chorus as while the melody is catchy, it just doesn’t stick. It’s a decent tune though and the best of the upbeat songs.

I’m not quite sure what to think of Next Time’s Smile. It is like a ballad, but has a brighter arrangement to it. It’s quite calming and is a nice tune, but I think it is the weakest of the ballads. The singing is a bit shaky and the song isn’t particularly memorable. It does end the album on a gentle note, but it isn’t that exciting.


Overall: I didn’t know what to expect coming into this album, but I’m just slightly disappointed. I love the title track and it is one of my favourite Chinese songs, so I was hoping for at least another stellar tune. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything particularly strong. With that said, there are some decent tunes and a bit of variety that keeps things interesting.

B-