Yes, Yang Yang can indeed sing rock. Listen here.
Wait a minute. Yang Yang, the actor? That Yang Yang from all those idol dramas — he can sing rock? Are you sure? Oh, yes.
Let’s see — so I make the insipid decision to binge-watch some idol drama right before the school year only to fall madly in love with the male lead, beginning the ventures of this so-called “Yang Yang phase”. Let’s be real — it’s not ending anytime soon.
So on September 7 he just nonchalantly drops a single — no big deal. And it actually sounds amazing.
Before one starts pointing fingers — clearly I’m the biased fangirl — let’s musically break down “Love is Crazy”. (Or go full-on crazy with the fangirling. Let’s see.)
Composed by singer-songwriter Li Ronghao, the pop rock track is a lively and refreshing listen amidst the light pop and sorrow ballads so prevalent within the Chinese music scene. Though Li Ronghao is often known for his soothing yet contemplative light R&B and bass compositions, “Love is Crazy” is an evident deviation from the usual calm.
The melody itself incorporates semitones, creating a sense of discord that perfectly melds with the melancholy grunge of the guitar in the arrangement. Yang Yang’s perfectly imperfect delivery of the first few lines evokes a genuine, straightforward statement — something Li Ronghao has done often — as opposed to pure singing. The cleverly added “嗯”s, too, serve as a confirmation and an authentic tone.
(Though really probably the listener’s personal discretion, those 嗯s that nearly melt into the arrangement sound, well, ah, quite alluring . . .)
But my favorite part of the track has to be the syncopated pre-chorus; the nearly tongue-twisting lyrics, combined with the purposely emphasized weak beats, creates the song’s point of interest. With its semitones, it perfectly transitions between the verse and the first chorus.
I often find myself replaying that section over and over — awaiting and looping Yang Yang’s own backup vocals within the pre-chorus. Though light, it flows as a melody of its own, creating a new layer within the track.
In contrast to the stellar pre-chorus, the chorus itself falls flat in comparison. Yet it’s still good — it still has the straightforward yet valiant elements of the track. Personally, my only issue is that it’s too collected. As the chorus, I would hope that it would go a bit more crazy — hence its title “Love is Crazy”.
After the chorus, the rest of the song — if not for some electric guitar instrumental — is a repeat of the initial track (taking out the first verse), accentuated by a more passionate beat. That is, as expected in most C-pop tracks.
Still, the melody, production, and arrangement create a fresh listen.
Penned by 易家扬 (Remember, Practice Love), the lyrics, too, differ from the usual romance. Though 《爱是一个疯字》, literally “Love is a word — crazy”, is about going crazy for love, it’s penned in a much more straightforward light.
Rather than amorous metaphors, the lyrics are mostly based on contradictions. He admits that he’s “fallen in love with your craziness”, yet it’s “as I leave you” and when he stops all notion of reason.
Yang Yang does it quite effortlessly — somehow his not-quite-powerful voice manages to naturally fit the rugged style of rock while still holding out on its own. It’s strange, given his whole “flower boy” image. But then again, he is constantly showing rapid improvement. I just wish that he would create some contrast in his own delivery in the latter parts of the track.
Honestly, though? It definitely exceeded my initial expectations of what a song from Yang Yang — an actor — might sound like. Literally, I would definitely look forward to a debut album or something. Most importantly, he collaborated with the right people.
He’s only in his 20s — who knows where Yang Yang’s career will go?
Overall Rating: 8.6/10 (7)