By Paris365 on January 24, 2013

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Avex Taiwan Inc.

Taiwan actor Chris Wang, also known as You Sheng (or Wang Yu Sheng), has appeared on such television series as Women on the Breadfruit Tree, Love Me or Leave Me, Inborn Pair and The Fierce Wife. Five years ago he entered and lost a singing competition, which only made him that much more determined to prove that he could sing. But he was smart enough to realize that there was room for improvement and he subsequently attended a Malaysian music school to improve his singing (and dancing) prior to recording this debut mini-album.

Track one, "笨蛋" (Google translation: "Fool"), is a bit of an odd track. For starters, it opens with an approximately 30 second drum solo. If it's Chris playing the drums then I suppose it's not that unusual, but I haven't come across anything that indicates that he plays an instrument, so it just strikes me as a really bizarre beginning for what's essentially a pop song. Stranger still, the drums go away, replaced by a programmed beat, after some glimmering synth comes in and Chris starts singing. Then there's the matter of the auto-tune (or the like), which has clearly been applied to Chris' singing voice throughout most of the song. The only time it seems absent is when he raps an occasional verse, which he actually does quite well, making one wonder why he didn't just make a hip-hop album. Ultimately, this track is well-produced and the chorus is quite addictive, so I suppose the good outweighs the bad. The funny thing is that I didn't detect any auto-tune at all during the five following tracks, which mostly consist of ballads. "都給妳" (Google: "Gave You") is the first, starting off like a gentle piano ballad but shifting into more of an R&B song as it progresses. It's decidedly down-tempo and a nice blend of melancholy and longing. And Chris' voice sounds clear and strong, though the song doesn't require an especially high notes. But at least we're really hearing him sing unaided, not subjected to more auto-tune baloney.

Another noteworthy ballad here is "笑臉" (Google: "Smiley"). It's an easy-breezy and beautiful pop rock number. Initially, I thought that the chorus could have used more of a hook, if I'm being entirely honest, but once you've heard it a few times it seems quite lovely as is. The same holds true for "有你的地方" (Google: "Place"), which proves to be a Taylor Swift-ish country pop ballad. "Wherever you go, there I will be," Chris sings. "Whatever you do, share the dream." Perfectly sweet country pop sentiments. It just seems like it could use a stronger chorus until you've lived with it for a while.

The mini-album's sole other pop song is "Miss Right," which begins with some scratching and guitars, which continue when the (seemingly live) drums kick in and Chris begins singing. "You are miss right," goes the catchy chorus. "Will you be mine?" The song also wins for giving Chris the opportunity to rap again, something I truly hope he'll do more of on his future releases.

The final song here is "昨日," which Google translates as "Yesterday." It starts off with guitars that are replaced by piano once Chris starts singing. But just when you think it's not going much of anywhere, it proves to be relatively epic, growing in intensity as it progresses and the guitars eventually return, accompanied by cinematic strings and resonant drums. The song also plays well on an emotional level, Chris sounding especially vulnerable and broken-hearted thought the track. -Michael McCarthy

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