Yen-J’s fifth album “Thanksgiving” is exactly what its been packaged to be. Although reminiscent of his past albums, there’s something different about this one. Wrapped in a simple package designed with a bottle of water on the front and first aid symbols, band aids and the like adorning it, this album is everything its cut up to be (pun intended)-a first aid kit for emotional boo-boos. Returning from a two year long hiatus, Yen-J is back and ready to share what he’s learned in the past two years both emotionally and artistically with listeners everywhere.
And impressively, I have to say the concept has certainly reached me loud and clear. Before I had even watched a couple of his interviews to understand fully the concept of this album, I had already understood it only after a couple of listens. The first time I listened to it, from the moment it started till the moment the tenth track finished, I didn’t do anything except listen. For those of you who know me, I’m a workaholic who is usually thinking about multiple things at once and trying to handle them all at the same time. My album review time consists of my drives from point A to B and usually while I’m multitasking on other things. But not this time. For some reason, the moment his music began playing, it was like every single muscle in my body had released all their tension, and I let out an audible sigh of relief. After the first listen, I have to say that Yen-J fulfilled exactly what he said he was going to do, to provide his refreshing yet comforting sound that would nourish listener’s ears and minds; much like the cleansing power of water and the healing capabilities of band aids. At the same time, the album is much like his diary, charting down some of the emotional highs and lows of his two-year soul search. As an avid Yen-J fan, this album has led me to deduce with 90% certainty that he has broken up with yet another girlfriend, and has led me to extrapolate with 100% delusional conviction that I now have a chance with the creative wunderkind. (YES!)
But let’s compose ourselves for a moment and get back to the music. In describing the album I’d have to say that its sound is same and at the same time, somehow different. All Yen-J’s signature elements are in the mix, including his crowd-pleasing ballads such as “一直給Thanksgiving” , “垃圾桶Rubbish Bin” , “You are my everything你是我的全部” and “過往The past”, his Jazz influence coming into play with “沒有不可能的事Nothing is impossible” and also a bit of his penchant for hip hop and Chinese traditional sounds thrown into the mix with “輕輕Lightly”. Yen-J has always been a creative individual who has dealt with much of his music in a truly organic way which I really appreciate. From the melody to the lyrics to the arrangement, nothing sounds like its been forced out of an industrialised pump or edited to within an inch of its life.