As we’re nearing the end of the year (and break — finally!), all the big name artists begin putting out their comeback MVs and albums and whatnot . . .
G.E.M. has joined this ritual. All 10 music videos for all 10 tracks off the visual album “新的心跳”, or “Heartbeat” have been released. It’s available for purchase on iTunes, YesAsia, etc., and the tracks all up on Spotify.
So, “Heartbeat” turns out to be my very first album review. Strangely, I wasn’t particularly excited about it.
While I have no tracklist at hand, I will proceed to review this in order of song release. Which is:
1. Long Distance (多远都要在一起）
Ah, “Long Distance”. This one was released all the way back in February, I presume around the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), as she performed it at the 春晚. Not gonna lie — I hadn’t listened to this at all — since when? I honestly don’t recall.
So I went and listened to “Long Distance” again, and all I can say is how I felt about this song 9 months ago is exactly how I feel about this song today; it’s not bad, soothing even. but rather mediocre.
Back then I was rather disappointed by the song and MV. It’s just rather on the cliche side, but I suppose still kind of sad and cute.
2. One Way Road (单行的轨道)
Interestingly, the most recent of “Re-uploads” was my review of this. One of the biggest concerns I have with my own review is, “Why was I so bothered by the music video?”
Read it here.
Like “Long Distance”, my opinion of “One Way Road” is exactly the same as how it was n months ago during its release. I might not be a fan of G.E.M.’s anymore, but it remains to be an amazing song — in my opinion, the best of the entire album. Everything, from the heart-wrecking lyrics to the soulful overtones to G.E.M.’s powerhouse vocals just melded perfectly into one track. Although the rest of the album . . . ah, I’m just getting ahead of myself.
Read my thoughts here. And, no, I haven’t listened to this ever since.
If you read the post, it would be rather apparent that I’m, well, not exactly a big fan of “Heartbeat”. So, of course, it’s the titular track. >_<
Your Mandarin love ballad, with its music video directed by 黄中平. It’s rather typical of C-pop, reeks of sadness and nostalgia, and yet I can’t really say much about the song.
Personally, I get the feeling that if I had heard this, say, a year ago, I would’ve been a huge fan. Yet because I’m not really a fan anymore, after seeing the music video like once I just shrug and move on.
Ever since “Heartbeat” ‘s release, I haven’t really bothered listening to G.E.M. After that time frame, her voice now sounds . . . different. Foreign. Not what I used to like.
5. Goodbye (再见）
It’s this sort of music that I consider, well, “too Western”, or “too American”. It’s not bad but is the kind of thing that might make me say “Goodbye” to G.E.M.’s music — I just dislike this style of music in general.
And, of course, the sort of the thing your typical Chinese audience totally digs. >_<
The same thing happened with “Heartbeat”, and I never got around to finish listening to the entire track, either. Not that “Goodbye” sounds bad like “Heartbeat” — just that it’s personally not my thing.
Such was reflected in its #western MV.
Side note: There are so many 瞬间s in the song that the song could’ve been titled “瞬间”.
6. Against the Wind (一路逆风)
Another work of 黄中平’s. This also begins the week in which G.E.M. released 5 MVs in 5 consecutive days.
“Against the Wind” is an encouraging ballad that is relatable on all accounts. Skillfully weaved symbolism is incorporated into G.E.M.’s cinematic music video that . . .
Honestly, though? Listening to G.E.M., I’ve lost this sense of comfort. If you asked me to point out anything wrong, I couldn’t. But this sense of dread and sadness overcomes me.
No, but really. It’s a touching song and a more touching MV — I just feel myself becoming increasingly difficult.
7. Therefore (于是)
Why is it that when I’m not a fan anymore, G.E.M. finally collaborates with Bounce? 😥
So here I am, obsessing over the music video — I don’t know how many times I’ve put this and “Blindspot” on repeat just because the music videos?
“One Way Road” remains to be my favorite track off the album, but “Therefore” comes a close second — almost.
When G.E.M. begins listing out the conditionals (于是茶就这样冷了/Therefore the tea cooled off), what is it with her voice — or the way she sings it — that bothers me? Her voice comes out too harsh, almost, which is something I’d never imagine saying about G.E.M.
A.k.a. why Bill Chia x Bounce is the best MV director ever.
Can you name a prettier MV? No, you really can’t.
One thing: why did “The Rose” not get any MV treatment? 😥
9. Away (来自天堂的魔鬼)
After “Against the Wind”, “Therefore”, and “Blindspot”, I was thinking that the album was actually coming along rather nicely. And then, of course, this predominately Westernized track “Away” comes along.
This sort of music is actually why I don’t really listen to Western pop music and instead resort to C-pop . . . not because I’m practicing my Chinese. Besides, if I really were to practice my Chinese solely with the music I listen to, it wouldn’t be very good.
来自天堂的魔鬼 refers to a “demon from heaven”, if those exist. No, it’s actually just talking about this supposed lover who feels like heaven but is actual hell . . . like a Taylor Swift song maybe? I think I heard something like that a while back . . .
10. Chuck Close（查克靠近）
Yes, Chuck Close — the American artist who suffers from “face blindness”. So instead, he creates a grid and paints patterns in each box to create an entire face.
G.E.M. then writes about how “Chuck (Close) gets closer and closer, yet cannot see the expressions he used to be familiar with”. That then is connected with the relationship G.E.M. describes in “Chuck Close”.
Except . . . there’s another song inevitably connected with “Chuck Close” — none other than Jolin Tsai‘s “Mosaic 马赛克“.
So, of course, I have to listen to “Mosaic”.
What was G.E.M. thinking when she penned “Orange is the color of us holding hands”?
(Both songs end up going in very different directions, and are very different styles in the first place.)
As a whole, then, it’s a nice conclusion to the album “Heartbeat”.
As for the album itself? Disappointing, yes, but if it’s all on YouTube I don’t see why not. Although, to be honest, it felt more like listening to 10 separate singles than anything. There are some nice tracks, and the pretty MVs and G.E.M. is good-looking . . .
In the end, however, the only track I really would recommend myself is “One Way Road”.
Overall Rating: 4/10