alan – Xin De Dong Fang

September 6, 2012 at 8:39 PM | Posted in alan | Leave a comment

alan – Xin De Dong Fang

1. Tian Nu
2. Ai Kan De Jian
3. Fei Xing Zhi
4. Xi Jie
5. Jia You! Ni You ME! (feat. Wei Chen)
6. San Sheng Shi San Sheng Lu
7. Ming Ri Zan Ge
8. Xin•Zhang ~RED CLIFF~
9. Chi Bi〜Da Jiang Dong Qu〜
10. sign
11. Ai Jiu Shi Shou

♦ ♦ ♦

Xin De Dong Fang is the second Chinese album by Tibetan singer alan and her first Chinese non-indie studio album, released on July 22, 2009. The album features Mandarin Chinese sung versions of her previously released Japanese songs.

Tian Nu is the exact same introduction song that was featured on the album ‘Voice of EARTH’, but I don’t really mind it since it was so damn epic and it really gives the idea of this album being a tie-in to said album. This one never gets old, alan’s wailing to the erhu music was so pretty I can’t be negative about this.

Ai Kan De Jian is the Chinese equivalent to ‘Gunjou no Tani’, one of alan’s more agressive and uptempo songs that sounds more like contemporary pop than her usual traditional music. alan sings very well in her own language, it was kinda strange at first (I prefer Japanese tbh), but it turned out fine. I can’t really if her singing in Chinese is better or worse than in Japanese, all I know is that she nailed this track and it’s a good first full vocal track.

Fei Xing Zhi : the Chinese equivalent to ‘Sora Uta’, another one of alan’s non-ballad tracks. Isn’t it crazy how she all uses them to open this album when she does ballads most of the time? Anyway, the language fits the ambience of the song even better now, complementing the Asian strings and bringing forward her Tibetan roots. It’s pretty energetic too, with some additional English lines which she pronounced even better this time.

I was so surprised to find Xi Jie here, since the Japanese version was a B-side on the ‘Hitotsu’ single and it remains one of my favorite alan songs, it’s so unique in her discography. It’s fun, it’s bouncy, it reminds me a bit of Irish folk music and that flute part was just amazing. The guitar in the bridge made it a little funkier, so there’s a little genre crossover here which I love.

Jia You! Ni You ME! (feat. Wei Chen) is the only original track on the album and another one of my favorites, although I don’t really know why since it’s so cute and bubbly for alan. It features an acoustic guitar, percussion and some kind of high unnatural sounding instrument that makes up the cute part, while it sounds a little R&B as well (in which Wen’s rapping doesn’t sound very much out of place). I guess I like it because it’s so uplifting!

Another B-side here, the equivalent to ‘Sakura Modern’ from the ‘Ashita e no Sanka’ single: San Sheng Shi San Sheng Lu. It’s playful and yet quite toned down and serious at the same time, so that makes up for an interesting sound. The arrangement features an erhu, a xylophone, strings and percussion, another interesting combination. Overall I think it’s not her best track, but still appealing and original enough for me to really like it.

We had the B-side, now we get the A-side from that single and the one that started it all: Ming Ri Zan Ge. It’s such a shame she ruins the entire song with that wail in the chorus, it was so terrible I couldn’t believe my ears. I mean, I love the song, the original that is, but I should just skip this Chinese version because it ruins everything.

Ofcourse she had to include a Chinese version for the next one. Xin•Zhang ~RED CLIFF~ is ofcourse alan’s big epic song that has become her signature song in some ways. It’s not only epic, but extremely tense and haunting as well as it builds up towards a dramatic strings section. This is the first equivalent that shows more natural vocals from alan than in the Japanese version.

‘Kuon no Kawa’ has its own Chinese version as well, Chi Bi ~Da Jiang Dong Qu~, but then a lot higher pitched than the original Japanese version and alan sounds like she’s singing some kind of operette. Musically, this is RED CLIFF part II, just as epic and dramatic, but with a little less tension and more highlights throughout the song. This just doesn’t sound all that natural, the lower pitched Japanese version has more character.

Even though it’s more of an instrumental interlude track, I always loved sign. It’s not entirely instrumental ofcourse, alan is singing in Tibetan in the background with either very ethereal or altered vocals, but her vocals are more sensible this time. The focus is on the synths and the very deep bass that surprised me so much. But that’s why I love this song: alan’s vocals and the amazing beat!

Surprising how ‘Shiawase no Kane’ gets its own Chinese version here with Ai Jiu Shi Shou, I never seem to be able to remember it and it was just a B-side on the ‘BALLAD ~Namonaki Koi no Uta~’ single. Now please don’t think I’m saying this song isn’t pretty or that it’s nothing special, I like it and it has its share of beautiful vocals and moving piano melodies, it’s just that there are better songs, more memorable ones.

When I compare this album to ‘Voice of EARTH’, said album is the winner for sure, by FAR. Everything about that album was perfect, everything was right about it. This album had some issues, especially when it comes to the fact that it’s a lot shorter and has only one original track. That’s not bad, but please make all the translated versions so that they’re pure perfection. With some tracks, like Min Ri Zan Ge, that wasn’t the case. That was just a big epic failure, I can’t even.
As for the rest of the album, it wasn’t that bad. If I stop comparing and start listening to the individual album there are definitely some gems on this one.

Favorite tracks: Tian Nu | Ai Kan De Jian | Fei Xing Zhi | Xi Jie | Jia You! Ni You ME! (feat. Wei Chen) | Xin•Zhang ~RED CLIFF~ | sign


4 stars

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