[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.

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).


[Album] A-Lin – Lovelorn, Not Guilty

A-Lin debuted in 2006 and hit it off the bat right away. She became well-known for her powerful singing voice that was reminiscent of another Taiwanese aborigine singer, A-Mei. Since then, she has enjoyed quite a bit of success, especially with her ballads. Lovelorn, Not Guilty is her debut album.

Released: February 10, 2006
1. Lovelorn, Not Guilty (失戀無罪)
2. Ah Ah
3. I Still Don’t Understand (我還是不懂)
4. Four Seasons (四季)
5. Brand New Me (新的自我)
6. Fake Doll (假娃娃)
7. Position (位置)
8. Return Home (回家)
9. Run Back to Me
10. Beautiful

The title track starts the album off and what a strong track it is. A strong, power rock ballad, Lovelorn, Not Guilty, starts off in a pretty calming way, but shows a stark contrast once the chorus hits. The heavy guitar, haunting strings and pounding percussion fits perfectly with the catchy melody and A-Lin’s powerful vocals. Her voice certainly doesn’t get lost behind the music either. Amazing.

Ah Ah is actually a cover of a Tsuchiya Anna song. It follows up the rock sound of the last track, but definitely with a more upbeat way. The lyrics are quite interesting as it is entirely in English. I don’t think it’s that catchy as the chorus is a bit of a letdown. I was hoping for something a bit more melodic and not swarmed by the guitar riffs. It’s not bad, but a bit disappointing.

I am a bit confused with the transition into I Still Don’t Understand. Here, we are given a pretty straightforward C-Pop ballad. I do enjoy the verses with the darker atmosphere and it actually reminds me of something more from the 90’s. The chorus isn’t bad either, but it’s not particularly catchy. A-Lin sounds great and I do like how their are some cool harmonies that do join in eventually. It’s not bad.

Four Seasons is a cover of a Jo Sung Mo song. I actually feel this song has a very 00’s J-Pop ballad sound to it due to the heavy reliance on strings. I think it is definitely a bit more generic sounding, but it’s one of the stronger ballads. Her voice sounds good and the chorus is quite nice. It’s touching.

Brand New Me brings back that rock attitude, but I do think this one is the stronger of the rock songs. I like that it has a bit of an electro flair to it and the verses are pretty nice sounding. I do feel the chorus is a more melodic, but it feels a bit too slow for the power of the music. I wish it was catchier.

Fake Doll starts off sounding like it could be a sultry R&B ballad, but things take a turn for the worst once the chorus comes in. I love the verses, they are very relaxing and A-Lin’s voice fits greatly with the R&B beats. However, the chorus comes in and we are given some fast-paced rock sound. I’m not really liking the transition despite the two parts both being decent. The chorus is much catchier than the other rock songs though and makes it a pretty good listen.

Position is a pretty standard sounding Mandopop ballad, but its execution is quite nice. This is the type of ballad that will be seen as “timeless” because it is something that could still be released today. The melody is touching and fits perfectly with the gorgeous strings and piano. I do think the chorus could separate itself a bit and stand out more, but its a pretty decent song.

Return Home is another standard pop ballad, but there are some nice aspects in regards to the lyrics as they include some Amis (I think so), so it makes the performance a bit more sentimental as A-Lin herself is Amis. The song itself is a bit standard with its slight R&B feel, but it does do a good job showing off A-Lin’s vocals. Not the strongest, but a nice piece.

Run Back to Me is a cover of a Trey Lorenz song. It’s a funky, upbeat R&B tune and I really love it. I love the chorus with its great acoustic guitar riffs mixed with the funky bass and the fast percussion. Also, the melody is really sensual and A-Lin’s vocals are strong enough to give the song that life. I think the coolest part is how well updated it sounds considering the original was released in 1992.

Beautiful is actual a cover of Christina Aguilera’s big hit. The interesting thing is that it is done in English. A-Lin’s English is actually quite good, so she is able to hold her own. Vocally, she does a decent, but she doesn’t quite hit the money notes. I just wish there was a bit more variation in the music as it sounds pretty much like the original.

Overall: This was a pretty strong album. I do feel there were some really strong songs and even the weaker fillers were still relatively decent. I do wish there was a bit more variation though as the first eight songs basically jumped back and forth from ballad to rock. I’m also all for standard Mandopop ballads, but there has to be something that gives it that edge like Lovelorn, Not Guilty. Still, this is a solid album in general. Definitely recommend tracks 1, 4 and 9.