I’ve never really understood 魏如昀 (wèi rú yún)‘s stage name, Queen Wei — an arrogant choice, completely off-kilter with her actual public image. Though a professional singer, it’s difficult to consider this “Queen Wei” a celebrity, much less a queen. Or perhaps the contrast is intentional?
Therefore, the album title Queen’s Way — I refuse to comment on the pun — is, too, just strange. The Chinese title,【所谓如昀】, or loosely “So-Called 如昀” (如昀 as Queen Wei’s Chinese name) serves as a milder, more appropriate statement. Yet what does it all mean?
Queen Wei is a cute, down-to-earth girl, but otherwise, most of us know next to nothing about her. Musically, we learn of the so-called “如昀”‘s true colors, perhaps?
To get started, here’s the album track list:
A mystical aura — the light overlay of the wind — surrounds the free-flowing notes of the arrangement so representative of nature. Queen Wei’s singing enters naturally and confidently, further breathing life into the forest of the track.
There’s just something so precious about how pleasantly her voice relays the introduction:
Choose a piece of wood and create the fire
Once it burns away, it becomes wind
风想说 我原本 是没人要的木头
The wind longs to say, “I was once wood that nobody wanted”
Through the subtle change to the light falsetto, Queen Wei creates a beautiful transition to the next verse. Accentuated by some electronic effects, the song ultimately builds up to a power ballad.
When Queen Wei starts belting the chorus, her voice, although thin, manages to hold through with minimal straining. The emotion in her voice relays encouragement and hope as she sings of understanding the aspirations of something as simple as wood.
The lyrics, though short and simple, reflect on the concepts of dreams and loneliness — something the pride of humanity often fails to understand.
“O” –【偶】, an exclamation, seems strangely out of place from the slow and melancholy, grunge-filled arrangement that begins the track.
From the somber minor melody, Queen Wei’s voice is like that of a child’s — one that slowly but surely drags the song towards hope and positivity. As lighter bass joins the track, she sings the second verse with greater conviction. More fun elements are gradually incorporated into the song — the loudspeaker effect, the electric guitar — until it ultimately becomes just exclamations of “偶!”
Yet at the same time, something about the track almost made me teary-eyed. Perhaps it was the slow but constant tempo that kept the song from being overkill with happiness.
With the soft accompaniment of the piano and flowing strings, “Everyday” is a gorgeous, inspirational ballad about facing love. Queen Wei is especially effusive in her vocal delivery, further breathing life into the simple ballad.
Perhaps akin to that of a Disney song sung by the main heroine or princess, the song highlights the kind innocence of the singer, emulating the goodness and beauty of the voice and heart. In between the two repeating segments of melody, the instrumentals play around themselves, representing the wonderful parts of the world.
As heard in earlier tracks, Queen Wei’s transitions between her power belting and her light falsetto are nearly seamless, and the freedom of her voice makes the track come further alive.
“Bubble Dream” is just a weird ass song.
Oh, my bubble dream
All the bubblies have been washed away
Like, literally — that same English line has been replaying I don’t know how many times now. It’s creepy and obsessive about how a girl will stare at bubbles — oh, what am I talking about?
Of all things, the track commences with creepy laughs, only to transition to the light strums of a guitar. Some bass helps pick up the pace, and then suddenly these obnoxious 80s electronic effects blare into the mix. The track is supposed to be a fun song — except I have this nagging feeling that all of it is just so creepy.
And then there was that bad opera singing near the end . . .
All in all, Queen Wei did pretty good, but could improve her lower register.
“Autumn Story” isn’t necessarily a heart-breaking song; the lyrics are sung and written in a positive light.
Oh, who am I kidding? Let us all die of sadness and nostalgia. 😭
It’s difficult to characterize “Unscientific Argument” — ambient jazz, perhaps? But it’s so much more than that — never mind the obnoxious 80s and 90s electronic beat, echoes, and synthesizers.
Given that “不科学”, aside from the standard definition of “unscientific”, means “impossible!” or “unbelievable”, the strange sound of the track does somewhat make sense.
Queen Wei’s voice echoes, seemingly bouncing off each sound effect, yet retains its special quality throughout. It creates a sort of fantastical, illusionary effect. Oh, and of course I don’t recall the lyrics at all.
Still, not bad at all — it’s just that her lower register is a bit weak and could use some improvement.
The soft, repeating piano chords exude a sense of serenity. Queen Wei’s voice is like a young child’s that makes a wish to the stars at night — full of pureness and hope. “Forever” escalates into a power ballad as her voice literally soars and leaps.
A bit plain, but otherwise a beautiful track.
It’s definitely surprising to hear Queen Wei’s voice sound so different in the pop rock track “So?”. Instead of the beautiful quality exuded in most of the other tracks, her delivery takes on a tone of mild annoyance, like “whatever”.
She actually handles rock quite naturally, without trying too hard. The track itself, however, might get a bit annoying.
It’s basically an unwritten rule that a C-pop album (that gets decent hype and sales, anyway) must include a break-up ballad of sorts — the sad and mature-sounding “We Don’t Say Goodbye”. Somehow Queen Wei’s voice doesn’t stand out so much in this love ballad — leaving this forever stuck in the realm of genericism. It’s not bad, though.
“First Love” is yet another ballad — with the piano, flowing strings, and bass. Oh yeah, and the guitar solo at the end. Basically, it follows the regular template and expected arrangement of any Mandopop track. It’s a nice-sounding melody, and there are no flaws to be picked out.
Though Queen Wei looks to be an unassuming little girl, she holds a lot of power within her. While her voice may sound thin, it still shines brightly when belted while impeccable when maneuvering through a song’s various subtleties.
Overall, the album explores the world from a young, innocent girl’s viewpoint — give or take a few wacky and WTF moments. In general, the album sounded great, its main fallacy genericism that affected the final tracks of the album, creating a disappointing conclusion.
Still, through Queen Wei’s often underestimated vocal abilities, life flowed throughout most of, if not all the tracks.
Recommended Tracks: Wood, Everyday, Autumn Story, Unscientific Argument
Overall Rating: 8.5/10