Even being named by TIME Magazine one of the best music videos of the year, Mandopop princess Jolin Tsai's new single <Play> is definitely taking the world by storm. But not only has it been revolutionary in its sound and its idea, it has also had a rapid and catalytic effect on the Taiwanese music community, with many up-and-coming artists drawing inspiration from the original to create their own radically different yet wonderful works.
Here we have four versions of the same song-but who did it best? Read to the end to hear my verdict.
Of course, Jolin's original is mindblowingly good. I've never been that big a fan of EDM, but Jolin's music is one of my only exceptions to that rule. With a radical fusion of hip-hop rapping with an EDM beat, Jolin's created a truly revolutionary song to go with lyrics that are in-your-face, sharp yet sweet, and a much-needed criticism of Taiwanese society all in one. And truly there would be no one better than Jolin to be able to master this version of the song; her sweet and resonant vocals and unique pronunciation hits all the right notes for me, making this truly the most show-stopping track on her album.
As for indie and cover artist Shan Hay, it just amazes me how he was able to find the inspiration to strip down such a heavy track to find the core of the melody, taking it out and building his own acoustic version around it. I do believe that it was this cover that inspired many others to start playing around with Jolin's song, trying to create their own cover of the song that would show their support for the ideas for the song while letting their unique creative musical voices show. Shan's version is more reminiscent of R n B David Tao's works, with a hint of humour and full of warmth. Could be a complete song in it's own right!
Janice Yan, Li You-ting, Karen
Now this cover of Play is something else altogether. Janice, You-ting and Karen have instead created a funky, blues-inspired cover of Jolin's <Play> with a strong element of attitude infused into the entire song. It also draws influence from Queen's works by adding a completely different section that instead is inspired by a more disco, 80's theme before transitioning back into a faster version of their original arrangement seamlessly. They've also got this 'Supremes'-inspired backing style in there which I really love, drawing also from the Motown genre at its best.
Dawen and Gentleman have worked together with KKBOX here to create yet another astoundingly good and different cover of Jolin's <Play>!
I have to say, one of the most creative and awesome covers I've seen in a while. Not only because it was shot in an elevator(who would've thought?), but also because of it's complete rearrangement of the song; this time into an acapella/beatboxing/jazzed-up version of the original! Well done guys! This song sure does seem to be inspiring lots of artists to try their hand at creating new sounds, which I think is one of the most radical things I love about it.
I have to say, all of these covers are immensely creative and of a highly professional standard. But as the princess of mandopop, I believe it was Jolin's encompassing of the song which made it stand out so much, and gave all these artists the challenge AND the inspiration to create something very different, yet very personal from the song; their own reflection of how they see Taiwan. I don't know how she did it, but Jolin's impact is absolutely astounding. It's like she just gave us a blank sheet of paper charged with creative electricity for these artists to wrap their heads around and to create something different, something new. I have never seen so many amazing covers of the same song before. Clearly the winner here is Jolin, not only for her wonderful song, but also for the impact her song has had on Taiwanese society.
Jolin's latest album has been released as of November 15th, and is titled <呸PLAY>. The return of Taiwan's mandopop princess is a well-anticipated one, with a new,modern and innovative image to match! Don't forget to check out her humorous tongue-in-cheek music video for her first single <Phony Queen>(电话皇后) which is a startlingly realistic reflection on how attached people are to their phones these days. (I must confess, I am one of them!) Keep your eyes peeled for more information on Jolin's new album, and watch this space!
In her second single which the album is named after, Jolin once against criticises society, and rocks the core of Taiwanese audiences' identity, by questioning their attitude towards living in a way that entertains and forces us to think about society at large. Times' magazine has even named it possibly the best music video of the year, well done Jolin!
Jolin's third single <The Third Person> was written for her by Mandopop prince JJ Lin, who also worked with her previously on her last album Muse, writing <Mosaic>, one of her hits for her! He continues the chart-topping trend by writing <The Third person> for her, with the music video directed by Jolin herself if I'm not wrong!
Jolin herself has admitted her fascination with the greek goddess Medusa; with the hair that will turn one to stone if gazed upon by the human eye. Her fourth single <Medusa> definitely is a show-stopper too!
I've heard that Jolin and her crew are now in the process of filming (or perhaps have finished) filming her latest music video for a high-profile duet with jpop superstar Namie Amura. I hear that the song was written by Jolin herself, so keep your eyes peeled!
Play呸 has been released as of the 15th of November, 2014.
No , the title isn't a nod to another scandalous thing that a celebrity's done; the only scandal here is Tao not releasing an album for 8 years! The acclaimed and popular television host and singer has just released her new album <Really>(真的假的) and has the backing of several of the most talented artists in the industry, such as Aboriginal powerhouse A-Mei, songstress Tanya Chua , the Beautiful Ms Jolin Tsai , Jay Chou and S.H.E among others.
But this is proving to be the mother of comeback albums, featuring a duet with Khalil Fong himself,<是爱>(It's love) who is known for his selectiveness in performing duets with female singers.
She's also released two other singles , <I don't approve>（我不祝福) and the Title track for her album <真的假的>(really) which are definitely worth checking out. Welcome back Matilda!
First of all , Congratulations to all the female nominees for the golden melody awards ; there is no doubt that all of them (Sandy Lam , G.E.M , Jolin Tsai , Lala Hsu and Jia Jia) are well-deserving of the award! However , I was disappointed when a few of my favourite albums of the year and the artists behind them were not nominated for this award. lets take a look!
Nominee #1: Rainie yang
Now , the entire music industry has been rocked by Rainie Yang's changes especially since the release of her 2011 Album <Longing> , and in 2012 the release of her album <wanting happiness> shows her kicking everything into full gear. She even put in the effort to learn a new singing style which is very hard to master , and has been praised by friends in the industry alike for her effort and hard work. Each and every single one of the songs in her new album is well crafted , and full of her own ideas. Although her whispery singing style in this album may be soft , it loses in no way to other powerhouses by creating a heightened sense of emotion within the listener in every song. I have thoroughly enjoyed her new album and see no reason why it was not nominated. So well done Rainie for a wonderful album ; it's not much but I hope she realises that in the heart of all her fans she has made them very happy with her music !
Nominee #2: A-Lin
The media too have been all over the fact that A-lin was not nominated this year , and I totally agree with them. Long has talented powerhouse A-Lin gone unnoticed for critical acclamation despite the slew of golden hits that she has produced over the years ; and I am disappointed to report the same this year. I was especially excited to listen to this album after hearing that she penned lyrics for 3 or 4 of the songs and had input in writing some of them herself as well! Her vocals are always perfect in every single way , but this album I feel is different in that I can her HER-who she is coming out in this particular album. This album has created a much more intimate feeling than her previous albums , especially because of her penning of some of the lyrics , but just the way it was made I can see the love and effort put into it. For example , the demo clip for <woman in love> ; at the end of it as they sing together I can actually hear a smile in her voice ; so everytime I hear it , it creates another dimension to the song which makes me really happy. Although some of her lyrics aren't perfect as she herself has admitted , they are perfect in expressing the emotions that she feels , such as the loss of a friend in <purple rain> , where at the end I can almost see her crying as she stands there in the recording studio singing into the microphone. All these little details in every one of the songs makes it such a special and intimate album for me , and I am bewildered as to why she was not considered for this years' awards. So well done A-Lin ; you definitely have my vote!
Nominee #3: Bai An ANN
I guess Bai An and Jia Jia are two of the most talked about newcomers ; having been counterparts to each other since debuting at the end of last year at the same time. Congratulations to Jia Jia for being nominated for the best female mandarin singer at this year's awards , but I also feel that Bai An too has a unique and special talent that should not be underestimated. From the first time I heard <是什么让我遇见这样的你〉, I've been enraptured under ANN's spell. Some may say she sounds like Stefanie Sun , but I for one have never seen a person so unique in their personality , singing style or ideas before. She truly follows her own path and I really respect that about her. Each and every song in her album is a true gem with bai An herself writing all the lyrics and melodies. Like A-Lin ; many of her songs reveal to the listeners parts of herself such as the aforementioned song , and also many of the others. I feel that she deserved to be nominated as much as any of the nominees as I continue to be enthralled by her voice and her words with every single listen.
Nominee #4: Lara Liang
Out of all the female singers who I thought should have been nominated , Lara was the one I was most deeply saddened by when hearing that she wasn't nominated. Despite being Jay Chou's protégé in a way and being under his company JVR Music , I feel that lara hasn't been largely publicised and it really is something that I feel is very sad , as her album was one of the best that I had listened to in 2012 , or even one of the best albums ever. her concept of freedom that she used within the album taught me a lot using her own playful , simple yet meaningful style of lyrics which I have always appreciated. Each of the songs were beautifully crafted and every single one of them contains a lot of heart and a lot of emotion. The versatility of her voice in this album is too to be commended , as the way that she creates atmospheres and emotions with her voice is truly a wonderful talent which is very unique to her , despite her doll-like vocals. There really isn't nothing more to say ; she is a wonderful artist with her own ideas and things that she has accomplished within her album and I am really proud to be a fan because of the amazingness that is her second album. It is such a shame , but I really do recommend her album <free spirit> to readers who haven't yet heard of her!
The results for the nominations for the 2013 Golden melody awards(that is , the best albums from 2012) are in! I am pleased to anounce that some of my favourites such as producer Skot Suyama , all the male nominees (jay Chou , Yoga Lin , Jam Hsiao , Khalil Fong and Xiao yu) as well as Jolin Tsai and lala hsu have been nominated for the big awards! However , I was a little disappointed that some of the albums that I felt were some of the best were not nominated.
So I will be holding my own awards , where some of MY picks will be showcased , for Best Male Mandarin Album , Best Male Mandarin Singer , best Female Mandarin Singer and Best group. More updates soon! First up , Best Male Mandarin Singer nominations !
A place where you can get quick updates on your favourite Asian Artists! If you have any updates as well feel free to share them with me!
** If there are any particular lyrics/pinyin from artists that you would like up here don't hesitate to just comment on any of the posts!