My ideal lover is someone who will bestow upon me a sweet curse–one that will be of perfect proportion–so that when I ask him to take me away, though I may be just his second love, our future would reflect a happy prediction.
Ok, I know that made absolutely no sense. It is my attempt to put into one sentence all my favorite Rainie Yang songs from all six of her albums. This is not a review, mind you. Check the words within the brackets of my title: BREATHER. Because one random day, while I was enjoying a Martial Law Era-related reading, with Rainie Yang’s songs playing on the background (and yes, I can’t listen to anything english when I’m reviewing/reading/writing so I listen to her songs instead), I came up with a brilliant (or not) idea of writing a nonsensical blog entry about my favorite songs and why I like them.
But before I get to those, I would like to put this forward early on: I’m not a crazy fan of Rainie Yang. Saktong fan lang. One who listens to her songs without understanding it. One who listens to them during commutes and mouths them every now and then, sometimes in a whisper, but most of the time, loud enough for other people to give me the weird looks.
I also feel like I have to say this: TAIWANESE IS NOT KOREAN. I hate how many people–most of them, the “masyado akong classy to listen to Asian songs which I don’t understand” crowd–generalize these songs to always sound like Korean songs or KPop. Really? They sound like KPop? Saang banda? While I’m not a hater of KPop (but not a fan as well), I beg you: If you don’t know which Asian country that song comes from, please! Ask first. Do your research! If not, be a better person and stop generalizing.
All right, on to the “review”!
A brief background of the artist [and I’m gonna quote chunks of paragraphs from an article I’ve written for CPopAccess when I was still active there]:
Rainie Yang (杨丞琳 or Yang Cheng Lin) is a Taiwanese actress who began early in her career appearing in commercials and movies based in Hong Kong. She returned to Taiwan as a member of a girl group called “4 in Love”. “Rainie” is the name given to her to fit the weather-based names of the members; prior to the group she was called in the industry as Lily.
After the group disbanded, she further pursued her acting career, appearing in various series and variety shows. Her casting in “Meteor Garden” was followed with other projects until she bagged the female lead role in “Devil Beside You,” the drama that shot her to fame.
Personally, I think she’s that kind of professional who likes balancing things out, in this case, of being an artist and a singer. She is as active in her singing career as in her acting career. That’s six song albums and–if counting from the first time she was truly famous–seven dramas for you. Not bad for juggling one passion with another, eh?
It is a Rainie Yang trademark to always change her hairstyle whenever she releases a new album, and you will see this in the album covers below. Her fashion has also evolved from the cutesy Japanese style to a sophisticated, more mature look. But she had questionable in-betweens, like that jellyfish hair and the bohemian thrice-her-size choice of clothing.
So first, My Intuition.
I won’t go into the specifics (as in, number of tracks, etc.) and get right to the point. This is her debut album released back in 2005, and it is one of the most, if not the most, famous albums she released throughout her career. Her most popular song (worldwide, that is), Ai Mei (Ambiguous), which has been recorded in Japanese due to its popularity, is in this album. But however good that track may be (it even has an alternative version with Mike He singing with her. MIKE HE! SINGING! Imagine that!), I like Li Xiang Qing Ren (Ideal Lover) more.
I also like the music video of this song, featuring my favorite Rainie Yang leading guy, Mike He. The story is about a simple crush that eventually gets reciprocated, and the joy that comes from that feeling of loving and being loved in return. I think the music video encapsulates the tone and the lightness of the melody: not too dramatic nor too cutesy–just the right combination to express the youthful feeling of having a crush on someone.
Next up, Meeting Love.
This album was released just a year after her debut album, and it’s my least favorite album of all six. I don’t know why, it isn’t as appealing as all the other albums, and this is coming from someone who really listened to all her albums day in and day out and has heard every single track she released out there. It doesn’t stand out as much as the others, but one song I really liked is the track featuring Evan Yo, Tian Xin Zhou (Sweet Curse).
It’s a little off that the music video is a compilation of clips of her concerts, but it’s amusing to see her 2006/2007 self during concerts. So much cuteness! She did framed her entire career on being the Princess of Cute, at least there in Taiwan, and I can’t say much of the clip. The song is very upbeat and engaging, and I like the mix of the male voice with hers. Frankly though, I don’t know Evan Yo, but I do know this is one of those songs you just dance to once you hear it.
Now to the jellyfish hairstyle-phase of her career, My Other Self.
You can’t see much of the do, because that’s the charm to it. She can keep the longer strands hanging or hide it and sport a bob-went-wrong. But hairstyle aside, I like this 2007 album because it has a vibe that is so young and carefree. Even its main track, Ren Yi Men (Magic Door) is so danceable, that while the dance is very…Rainie (and I mean this because she does have a weird way of dancing to her songs, as if she invents her own kinds of dance! Haha), it is admittedly catchy and fun!
I also like this album because most of the soundtrack of my favorite Taiwanese drama EVER (Why Why Love) came from it, my favorite of which, is Wan Mei Bi Li (Sweet Proportion).
Isn’t it so fun? To be able to remember love as a sweet thing–that which is full of calories even!–is such a privilege. We have been battered and bruised with false love we’ve been searching all our lives that we tend to generalize love to be tiring, or frustrating, but here’s a song that reminds you that love always begins sweetly. It leaves you a lot of good memories, and you can’t deny the sweetness and the joy you’ve felt because of it 🙂
It’s with her 2008 album, Not Yet a Woman (no, Britney Spears fans, this ain’t your idol’s song), that she began her transformation from cute to mature.
In this album, themes of growing up, of being a woman (and not just a cutesy girl), of being independent and strong, and of being fragile as well resonates through her songs. Hands down one of the best she released, we see Rainie as a woman who breaks free from the holds of stereotyping, proving to us that she’s no longer a girl but a woman who experiences heartbreaks but stands up to it with a strong heart. I like this album because of its courage to go absolutely far from the cute image that Rainie portrayed for years. It’s not just a career move but a statement: she’s in the entertainment industry as a woman, so people should take her seriously. And with this album we can really give her that credit.
I really admire Rainie as a singer because unlike many “singers” out there, she can actually sing, and she can actually sing really well live. This is a song which I like her singing live because there are keys she can’t reach so her tendency is to improvise, and she improvises really well! She owns the song even if it already sounds different to the original record. Here’s a sample of her singing it live:
Now this album’s a crowd favorite: Rainie & Love.
This 2010 album is a very punny album, because she plays around words like her main track, Yu Ai, which when translated is Rain Love. Her other song, Jue Dui Da Ling (Absolute Darling), has her previous song titles in its lyrics. But what’s absolutely endearing with this album is it being an earcandy (and hehe I invented that). This is the Rainie Yang album you can listen to during RAINIE days and sunshine. It contains the kind of songs that make you get a cup of coffee, sit by the window, and just relax. I like that kind of album. 🙂 I’d even dare say this is my favorite Rainie Yang album!
People also love this album because it contains most of the soundtrack from the 2009 hit idol drama, Hi! My Sweetheart starring the much-awaited pairing of Rainie Yang and Show Luo. I even like their own duet In Your Eyes. Before, whenever Show invited Rainie as a guest in his concerts, they would sing another song, but now that they have their own duet song they sing this one. But my favorite track would have to be that video up there, a live performance of Er Du Lian Ai (Second L0ve). Told you she sings great during live performances!
The melody of this song just takes my breath away. For some weird reason it gives me a feeling of serenity and peace, and just as I said up there, it’s one of those songs you’d like to listen to on a rainy day. Seriously, I can listen to this song on repeat and not get tired of it!
Last but not the least, the 2011 latest album, Longing For.
Critics and music review writers said this album is a letdown considering that the one that came before it was a smashing hit. In a way I agree because I really can’t pinpoint a particular favorite without having to go through the list (and no, I don’t like the ones featured in her drama Love You, just as much as I don’t like that drama itself).
But we have to give it to Rainie for reinventing herself with this one. Short hair? For a person who kept her hair long for years, that’s sacrifice well worth it because more and more people are liking this style of hers. Mature and confident with a dash of mystery, just the way we like it.
Forgive the video because this is the only one of the song I can find online. It’s called Happy Prediction, and while it’s not the best there is in her album, I like it the most. It has an optimistic vibe to it, like an anthem you would sing in a protest or something. Or like a background music to a promotional ad for public service institutions. You get me?
So in conclusion, three points:
1. I like Rainie Yang both as an actress and a singer, although 2011 for me is her weak year acting and career-wise. Evidence would be not getting nominated for the Golden Bell, of which she was the winner for Hi My Sweetheart.
2. I like listening to her songs even if I still can’t understand most of the lyrics yet (and it’s hard! Rare are websites that translate her lyrics!)
3 . She’s a great singer overall–one who can sing live performances well, one who can pull through upbeat songs (and can even create own dances to them!) and serenade us with the ballads that pierce through the heart.
So there’s your lengthy breather. ‘Til next time!