[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.