Album Review: Rainie Yang’s 年輪說 (Traces of Time in Love)

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Released on: September 30, 2016

Record Label: EMI Records and Entertainment

Genre: Mandopop

After her previous highly-acclaimed album 雙丞戲 (A Tale of Two Rainie), expectations are high for the next one. I haven’t been following Rainie Yang, so the album drop of 年輪說 (Traces in Time with Love) came as a surprise to me.

Her album opens with the title track, 年輪說 (Traces in Time with Love), which features jazzy instrumentals and the singer’s raspy and sweet voice that we are all familiar with. When I first listened to it, I don’t feel much – even after watching the music video. But the lyrics were pretty meaningful so props to that.

Her second track, 單 (Being Single), is when I felt that the album has truly started. The chorus was powerfully charged in this love ballad and is probably one of the more memorable songs in this album. It is what I truly felt is authentic in a Rainie Yang song, unlike the first one. The music video also made me tear a little 😦

Yet another love ballad, 與我無關 (Not My Business) might seem unassumingly boring, but the mood builts up from the second verse onwards and the instrumentals juxtaposed with her vocals were perfect. I wished the record label had created a music video for this track instead of 年輪說 (Traces of Time in Love).

The overall sombre mood of the album is occasionally switched up with upbeat tracks in 我們 (Us) and 現代之形象 (Modern Image), and sadly, both of which are also one of the more forgettable tracks of the album.

The star track of the album easily belongs to 觀眾 (The Audience), a love song that is unrivalled. I am still very obsessed with the music video, which featured Mike He, Show Luo, and Wilber Pan.

MikeWillShow.png
Top to Bottom: Rainie Yang & Mike He in 惡魔在身邊 (Devil Beside You, 2005); Rainie Yang & Show Luo in 海派甜心 (Hi My Sweetheart, 2009); Rainie Yang & Wilber Pan in 不良笑花 (Miss No Good, 2008)

Anyone familiar with the emergence of Rainie Yang in the Mandopop scene would know that she started out by acting in dramas alongside these heart-throbs as her fellow love interests on-screen. Of course, if you ask me; my favourite of the three dramas would definitely be 不良笑花 (Miss No Good). My god, Rainie Yang’s character is absolutely hilarious and memorable up to this day. Wilber Pan’s acting sucked in that drama though, so I was sorely surprised at his acting chops during his short cameo in the music video:

Someone did an amazing interpretation of the music video, and explained how Yang’s different hair colour in her three relationships is a recurring motif of each stage in her love life:

第一段感情:我以為那是愛
頭髮的顏色為藍色
我以為的愛 原來不是我所想的,愛情裡沒有熱忱也沒有甜蜜,也許我們更像朋友。

第二段感情:我希望你愛我
頭髮的顏色為紅色
對於你,我是熱情的,我想要並且主動的想親近你,但卻被拒之於外。

第三段感情:我以為我愛你
頭髮的顏色為紫色
是紅色與藍色的混合
我希望你愛我,也以為那是愛
我們交往了三年 你向我求了婚 就這樣 我活在自以為愛你的謊言,但看到戒指那剎那才發現,原來只是習慣有你。

最後步入禮堂:原來這才是愛
頭髮的顏色為棕色
穿上婚紗這一刻,我了解到了,真正的愛,就是可以做原本的自己。

(Credits to Cathy Chang via YouTube comment)

Another worthy track to check out is 愛唷 (Oh, Love), a style that I have probably never heard Rainie Yang tried before. The piano and her vocals adjusting the mood between being melodic and cheeky is very refreshing, and the music video is also really cute, albeit a little bizarre.

Judging from the number of music videos that have been released on her YouTube channel, it seems as if the record label is trying pretty hard to promote the album. Unfortunately, Yang definitely have so much more to offer than what she did in 年輪說 (Traces of Time in Love) – the album just isn’t fantastic.

I would probably recommend a few tracks to my friends if they ask about it, but it is not worthy of a thorough listen for new listeners of Rainie Yang who demand to be impressed. I also found myself popping this album on repeat during intensive studying sessions for its soft jazz and easy listening tracks, which is good if that’s what you are looking out for. For now, I’ll continue to play 雙丞戲 (A Tale of Two Rainie) on repeat because I prefer her melodramatic and *emo* tracks much more. 😛

年輪說 (Traces of Time in Love) is an album that exemplifies Yang’s maturity and is definitely a great step ahead of 雙丞戲 (A Tale of Two Rainie), yet it proves to be lacklustre in its entirety as compared to her previous masterpiece. 年輪說 (Traces of Time in Love) would be sufficient to pacify Yang’s diehard fans, but it is not going to create new ones.

OVERALL GRADE: C+

DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND LISTEN TO: 單, 與我無關, 觀眾, 愛唷

TRACK LISTING:

  1. 年輪說 (Traces of Time in Love)
  2. 單 (Being Single)
  3. 與我無關 (Not My Business)
  4. 我們 (Us)
  5. 相愛的方法 (Method of Love)
  6. 現代之形象 (Modern Image)
  7. 觀眾 (The Audience)
  8. 愛唷 (Oh, Love)
  9. 點一盞無聊的小夜燈 (A Boring Night Light)
  10. 想睡的戀人噢 (Oh, Lover)
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