[Album] Angela Chang – Aurora

Aurora is the second album released by Angela Chang. It was another success for the singer and spawned several hit singles.

Released: December 1, 2004
1. Mama Mama
2. Aurora (歐若拉)
3. The Sun in the Palm of My Hand (手心的太陽)
4. Floating Clouds (浮雲)
5. Straight Line (直線)
6. Starting Point(起點)
7. Easter (复活节)
8. Able to Love for a Long Time (可以愛很久)
9. Can’t Guess (猜不透)
10. Nothing Keeps Me Calm (靜不下來)
11. Adoration to Happiness (快樂崇拜)

Mama Mama opens the album on an upbeat note. This is one of Angela’s catchiest songs and the whole song is full of hooks. The chorus has a great melody and is easily stuck in your head. The verses are interesting as they have Angela rapping over a funky guitar. The thing about this song is that the music has some really great ideas with the guitar and odd synths blasting about. The only part that’s weird is the bridge as it brings a different kind of sound. Still a stellar song even after all these years.

Aurora brings a completely different sound and goes a more “ethnic” route with its more traditional-styled music. I really love this song as it is just as memorable as the last song while providing a really beautiful and touching feeling. The music can sound a bit odd at times as the instruments used do sound a bit too programmed, but there are some really great moments like the chorus.

The Sun in the Palm of My Hand is the first ballad and it’s one of my favourites on the album. It’s a pretty standard ballad, especially from this era of C-Pop as it features a flute and some synths that give the song a more traditional spin. The melody itself is quite beautiful and fits perfectly with the buildup in the chorus from the strings. Angela also sounds great and her piercing vocals don’t get too overpowered by the bombastic music.

Floating Clouds is a really interesting kind of pop tune. It has some pop/rock elements, but still has a dramatic arrangement the blends a lot of instruments. The melody is decent, but the verses are better as I was expecting the chorus to be a little harder hitting. It comes off a bit too fluffy, but it is still a pretty solid song.

Straight Line is a really odd song as it tries to bring in some Arabian elements into a pop/rock song. I think it has an interesting concept that tries to bridge some cool sounds, but it just doesn’t work out. The arrangement is rather flat and the melody is just messy. I feel like this could have worked out better if the chorus lessened the guitars and brought in some more instruments.

Starting Point is a lot better and has a great charm to it. It starts off sounding like it could be a ballad, but it soon gains some energy. The chorus is especially beautiful and while the music is nice, it’s the melody that really lifts the song. It gives this floating kind of feeling and works beautifully with Angela’s voice. I love it.

I find Easter to be a strange name for this song as the song itself is quite dark. It features a gorgeous Spanish guitar and some haunting strings. The chorus is easily the highlight of the song as it continues to build up the emotion. It’s sort of a slow burner, but I feel like the song’s quality is one of the best and the end result is definitely worth it. It gets better with each listen.

Able to Love for a Long Time is a pop song but has a bit of a Mediterranean twist to it to give it some character. I think it has an interesting sound, but I feel like it’s a bit all over the place. The music is sweet, but the strings just sound too overpowering and mixed with that odd electric guitar, it just doesn’t seem to have much focus. The song isn’t particularly catchy either.

Can’t Guess is another pretty standard Mandopop ballad, but it’s also another great piece. I like the feeling that this one tries to give as the melody feels a bit sad. I don’t think the melody is as memorable as some of the other ballads on here, but the music really makes up for it as it’s really beautiful with the gorgeous strings and Chinese string instruments. It’s simple, but nice.

Nothing Keeps Me Calm is a fun pop song with some rock elements. What I love about this song is that it is so bright and positive. It’s just the type of song that is fun to sing along to. It’s catchy and has an exciting arrangement and reminds me of something that Avril Lavigne might do. Angela’s voice also works nicely in this kind of track. Great!

Adoration to Happiness is a duet with Wilber Pan and I love it. It’s really outrageous, but still insanely catchy. It’s a funky pop song with some R&B and hip-hop elements. Wilber mainly raps and his rapping is really great here, while Angela focuses on the singing parts. It’s a great combination and one of the best upbeat songs on the album. My only problem would be that their voices are both edited differently so Angela sounds farther away than Wilber.

Overall: This is another great album. I actually like it more than her debut album, which also had a slew of fantastic songs. This album does have a few weaker songs, but the majority of the songs are quality tunes and there is a variety of sounds so things don’t get too boring. The melodies are pretty top notch and I love the more traditional elements that a lot of songs have in them. There were many great songs.


[Album] Angela Chang – Over The Rainbow

Angela Chang started off as an actress and slowly gained fame. During this time, she sang songs for the dramas she was participating in. Eventually, she released her debut album to decent success. Since then, she has continued to make a name for herself in both the acting world and music world, with over nine studio albums released. Over The Rainbow is Angela’s debut album.

Released: January 6, 2004
1. Over the Rainbow
2. Fable (寓言)
3. Only Because of You (都只因為你)
4. My Favourite (我的最愛)
5. Horizon (天邊)
6. Listen to the Moonlight (聽見月光)
7. Shout (吶喊)
8. After the Rain (雨後)
9. Obviously Love You (明明愛你)
10. Adventure for True Love (真愛冒險)
11. My Lost Happiness (遺失的美好)
12. Journey

The title track, Over The Rainbow, is a cover of Judy Garland’s classic tune. Angela has pretty good English since she studied in Canada, so she does a decent job with pronunciation. Her voice is sweet and works nicely with the piano and strings backdrop. I don’t think it’s really emotionally charged, which is just a little disappointing, but it’s a nice opener.

Fable is a really cool track and a strange transition from the previous one. Here we get a dark upbeat number that has some R&B and classical elements to it. The oddest part of the song is the chorus where it samples the carol, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman”. It’s an interesting twist because the melody is really obvious but it’s definitely done in a “cooler” way so it doesn’t sound like a carol. I also love the contrast from Angela singing in her lowest register in the verses and her sounding more open in the choruses.

Only Because of You is a piano-based pop ballad. It starts off rather calming and gentle, but it gains a bit of energy once the chorus comes in. The music brings some heavy guitar and percussion, which really gives it a more powerful sound to match the lyrics. The melody is really catchy and Angela sounds amazing. She really brings some stronger vocals here.

My Favourite continues the ballad trend, but it brings something a little less intense. It still has a dark sound, but does things a little different with its heavy percussion and strings focus in the chorus. I really love the melody and it works really nicely with the music. It’s not as strong as the last ballad, but it definitely has some really great parts to it.

Horizon changes things up by bringing the first “pop” song. It sort of reminds me of the pop music from the late 90’s with its more bubblegum flavour. The song has some really funky parts to it and I actually like the quirkiness of the music. However, while the melody is catchy, how it is sung is a bit grating and would’ve been better if it was lower. It’s a cute song though.

Listen to the Moonlight opens with the sound of a music box, which is always nice. The rest of the song is more in the standard “Mandopop” ballad sound. The musical arrangement reminds me of something from a J-Pop artist and I like the use of strings to make it more “East Asian” in sound. The melody isn’t as strong as the other ballads and it does come off a bit forgettable. It’s not a bad song, it just falls through the cracks compared to the other ones.

Shout is amazing though. It brings some more ethnic vibes to the sound with its use of traditional instruments. However, it is also very contemporary as it utilizes heavy rock elements. The verses are ethereal, but it’s that explosive chorus that really lets things soar. While Angela’s voice isn’t the most powerful, her piercing actually works really well here. Excellent.

After the Rain gives us another ballad. I love the musical arrangement because there are some nice traditional elements to it. It’s quite beautiful. Unfortunately, I wish the melody was a little more peaceful because how Angela sings it sounds really pushed, which doesn’t fit the relaxed nature of the music. It’s nice, but could be better.

Another ballad, Obviously Love You starts off really beautifully with its gentle piano and Angela’s airy voice. I absolutely love the melody here and it is one of the stronger ballads. I think what sets it apart is that the song is quite emotional and the melody doesn’t feel rushed, but fits perfectly. The second half of the song explodes with percussion, guitar and bass, which really gives it a lot of power. It’s a great tune.

Adventure for True Love is a bubblegum pop tune. This is probably the weakest song on the album because it’s just super cheesy. I don’t think it’s particularly catchy nor does it have any really stand out points to it. The musical arrangement does have some different points to it, but the rest of the song is just forgettable.

My Lost Happiness was used for a drama that Angela was in. It really sounds like an OST kind of ballad with its more generic production and sound. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad ballad, it’s just that it sort of loses itself compared to the more powerful ballads on here. It has a sweet melody and the arrangement is a nice mix of piano, strings and percussion. It’s all just a little generic.

Journey is a cover of a Corrinne May song. Both songs were used for the drama At Dolphin Bay and they are both in English. I absolutely love this song. It’s just comprised of Angela, piano and strings. It’s not the most exciting song, but it is really touching and Angela does an excellent job singing with emotion. She works best in these kinds of songs.

Overall: This is a great debut album and one of my favourite Chinese albums. There are some really high quality tracks on here and a lot of the songs have strong production and have memorable melodies. There are a few weaker tunes that pop up in the middle, but I think the high points make up for them. I do like that there was a lot of variety on the album and while the ballads did outnumber the upbeat tunes, there were some excellent ballads. I would definitely recommend tracks 2, 3, 4, 7, 9,  and 12.