Opus 12 (12新作) (12 xin zuo)
Release Date: 28th December 2012
Jay Chou's 12th album, everything about the album is linked to the number 12, from the title to the number of tracks. As promised Jay Chou meets you at the end of the world which never was.
1. Four Seasons Train (四季列車) (si ji lie che)
2. Sign Language (手語) (shou yu)
3. Eunuchs Tend To Have Headaches (公公偏頭痛) (gong gong pian tou tong)
4. Obviously (明明就) (ming ming jiu)
5. Giggle (傻笑) (sha xiao)
6. A Rather Large Cello (比較大的大提琴) (bi jiao da de da ti qin)
7. Love You No Different (愛你沒差) (ai ni mei cha)
8. Worldly Tavern (紅塵客棧) (hong chen ke zhan)
9. Dream Started (夢想啟動) (meng xiang qi dong)
10. Big Ben (大笨鐘) (da ben zhong)
11. You Are Everywhere (哪裡都是你) (na li dou shi ni)
12. Ukulele (烏克麗麗) (wu ke li li)
First and foremost, this album got me the most surprises that Jay Chou done. By the looks, as you can say.. and the preparation that he did just to make this album the best among the rest.
Let's not talk about the looks, because I just didn't like at first. But then again, it is Jay's choice.. so I just respected it :D
Let me talk about this in different terms.
About the cover:
This is really a very fresh and of one a kind cover, we all know that Jay used to have a very naughty ideas regarding his album that the fans would always like. And as for this unicorn and the oil pastel looking look..... hmm.. he didn't disappoint me.. but rather, it made me love his blonde hair look!!!
I think this album cover was one of the best among his album. I'm a fan of Jay's childish ideas when it comes to his covers.. and I want him a very dark looking Jay. What do I mean of dark? I mean the style and the perspective of the photo that it conveyed. Like for example, his The Era album... the vampire thing. And the Ye Hui Mei album.. :)
In general, I think that it surpassed his previews album which is the Exclamation Mark. In my opinion, that any album was better than Exclamation Mark... because it was just like a recycled album to me. But in Opus 12, hmm. the old Jay Chou is finally back.
Bringing the smash hits of his well known "Zhong Guo Feng" songs.. or in other words.. his Chinese music style in his songs.. well I think he really did a massive comeback.
In his first carrier single, "Hong Chen Ke Zhan" (Red Dust Inn) really made another mark of Jay Chou's legendary songs. Like the one's that he did on Fa Rue Xue, Qian Li Zi Wai, Ju Hua Tai and Dong Feng Po.
Now, let's dissect the songs :D
1. "四季列車" (Sì Jì Liè Chē Train Of The Four Seasons)
- Another hit song for me. It given me a freshly Jay Chou "darker songs" What do I mean by dark... hmm.. it is somehow creepy tune or mystery type of song. Like his previews song, Twilight's Chapter, In The Name of the Father, and Nocturnes. The first time I heard this, I was like....hmm!! I love it in an instant. Really Jay never failed to create such nice songs.
2. "手語" (Shǒu Yǔ Sign Language)
- At first heard of this, I actually don't like it.. because of the auto tune thing. I think Jay really was not over with this auto tune.. If only I can say to him directly that HE DOESN'T NEED ONE because his voice is already at his best!! But then again, after many times of listening.. I guess that it was alright for me. Much forgivable than Mine Mine. And it was a romantic song.......so I have no choice but to love it too.
3. "公公偏頭痛" (Gōng Gōng Piān Tóu Tòng Gong Gong with a Headache)
-- I'm not weird, because I actually love this too. I guess it was another song hit. Really it was good to hear the melody because of a mix of classic Chinese style and a modern kind of music. Much like of Zhou Da Xia :) And i think, it is a viral dance already in Taiwan and China!! Much much more better than the Gangnam style! a little trivia of this, Jay choreograph a bit of this dance.. especially the chorus part :D
4. "明明就" (Míng Míng Jiù Obviously)
- another big hurray!!! for Jay's ballad. I nearly cried when I first heard this. Thus, this become my favorite. I can feel his emotions in terms of his music. So.. I don't know.. but it is a sad song for me.. and the meaning of the song too.
5. "傻笑" (Shǎ Xiào Giggle; feat. Cindy Yen)
- this is such a warming song. I love Jay's high register of voice here. It is a good KTV song haha. The meaning of the song make me love it more. Good job that their voice suited very well....... but, when you try listening it a bunch of times, you will somehow say this.."that it feels like Jay was the one who is featured here..not Cindy." Because she somehow overdo the song.. But even she does it, Jay manage to stay the power of his voice.
6. "比較大的大提琴" (Bǐ Jiào Dà de Dà Tí Qín A Larger Cello feat. Lara and Gary)
- this is what I'm talking about! This definitely one of the naughty melody that Jay has to offer in this album. It is like a musical feeling to me. Much more in the preparation of his upcoming movie which is rooftop :) I find Jay and Lara's voice to be very sexy... all through out the song. I will not comment about Gary.
7. "愛你沒差" (Ài Nǐ Méi Chà No Difference In Loving You)
- if I were to give the highest rating of songs in this album, I will surely give it to this one. A perfect combo ballad Jay Chou!! You definitely nailed this one. Nice voice + nice song = Ultimate song for this album.
8. "紅塵客棧" (Hóng Chén Kè Zhàn Red Dust Inn)
- another zhong guo feng song. Thus.. a good one. I'll not elaborate on this one.. because every zhong guo feng songs of Jay is definitely a sure hit.
9."夢想啟動" (Mèng Xiǎng Qǐ Dòng Dream Initiated)
- this is a very relaxing one. Good thing he didn't use auto tune in it. You will get to realize that his voice are enough for this one. And also, i love the translation of this.. it is about encouragement. Good thing Jay didn't missed out writing songs about the inner aspect. Yes, this one gotten it. Like the Fragrance of rice :) not to mention the intro of the song.. is so.DIAO!! a very Jay Chou style!
10. "大笨鐘" (Dà Bèn Zhōng Big Ben)
- a very cute and nice song. Jay also wrote the lyrics of this song. I loveeeee his voice here.
11. "哪裡都是你" (Nǎ Lǐ Dōu Shì Nǐ You Are Everywhere)
- he also wrote the lyrics of this song.. and this is the chosen one for his Rooftop movie. Hmm.. at first, i find this very pitchy.. like his Feng song. Even though i love Jay's vocals.....sometimes.. i find his voice very pitchy.. how i wisheh he somehow loosened up a little for this one. But the brighter side of it was.......the meaning of the song. It is so beautiful... but sad.
12."烏克麗麗" (Wū Kè Lì Lì Ukulele)
- the final song for this awesome album :) This is a very refreshing song! I love the intro as well.. because of the ukelele sound haha. I can feel the good vibes in this song. A very cheerful one.
Alas, every song in the album is perfect. And Jay really proved that once again..he is the King of Mandopop.
Four Seasons Train: Evokes the dark side of the Opus 12 album and Jay’s originality. It has a haunting feel like what Janl has indicated. The repetitive melody in its minor key reminds me of his song that he wrote for Jolin, “Qi Shi Jing Sheng”. His epic rapping voice is back. 9/10
You Are Everywhere: A beautiful orchestral intro, with a soulful piano accompaniment that gives it a longing feel. It has a touch of “White Windmill”. Even though it's in a high range, I still love the soulful feel. 9/10
No Difference Loving You. Again with the slow orchestral feel. His intro comes in a minor key, with a repetitive melody, quickly moving to major. The pick up of pace was sudden. Has a bit of “Rainbow” guitar chords after the first verse. 7/10
Gong Gong Headache: An excellent fuse of Zhong guo feng, in a fast song. The beat is very catchy and the rapping stays in a consistent voice and it has good energy. There was a repetitive “Gong Gong” in the middle, which made it a tad bit annoying. The music video is really fun to watch, especially when he spun the necklace around his neck while wearing sunglasses. 8/10
Giggle: Back to Chouism in style. The song itself is excellent, if only it wasn’t a duet. Others may like the collaboration between Jay and Cindy, but for me, the harmony amongst them just doesn’t work out. It`s as if Cindy killed the song. :P 7/10
Rather Large Cello: A nice 20’s jazz feel. It’s a fun song to listen to, like his other fun songs “Cowboy is very busy” and “Hydrophobic sailor”. The music video corresponds nicely to the song with the “rather large cello” and I love the cello door. Lara’s voice always makes a great duet. The Giggle duet should be done with her instead. Lara does not gasp like Cindy, making the listener feel exhausted, and she does not suddenly go up in a high octave that clashes with the harmony of the music. 7.5/10
Big Ben: A lovely blues and country mix. Light in character with a touch of humour. If it was in English, I can totally imagine Taylor Swift singing to it.
Loved the bells in the beginning and the cute music video, featuring Lara. The accompaniment of Notting Hill enhances the feel of England, which at the same time, is one of my favorite movies. Hugh Grant is such a great actor. :) 7/10
Ukelele: It’s a light and happy song. Jay incorporated the chipmunk voice and a sudden octave drop. Not really my style. 6/10
Ming Ming Jiu: It's pretty bland at first, but the more you listen to it, the more you fall in love with it. The way his voice goes up the octave for like a few seconds makes you crave for more. 9/10
I really liked the Zhong Guo Feng in Hong Cheng Ke Zhan but the melody doesn't work for me. There's a chord progression that sounds exactly like a part in Ju Hua Tai. It's like you can fuse the two songs at that part. 8.5/10
Sign Language is pretty light and happy. His voice is so high pitched at first, making him sound chipmunk-like and suddenly, he drops the octave. When he dropped the octave, it made him sound like he's trying to mimic some old dude...
The auto tune that comes after was too much. I couldn't hear the lyrics, and it just killed the song. :P 8.5/10
Dreams Start: LOVED LOVED LOVED the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto in C minor, Opus 18, Moderato. The way it was played sounded like waves crashing on the shoreline... SO PRETTAYYYYY. ABSOLUTELY LOVED the fuse of Classical music and pop after his Piano Injury attempt.
When the repetitive piano notes came in, it sounded so lonely and it gave a longing feel as well. The "go, go, go" part in the beginning sounded a little too much like Jessie Chiang's "My Theme Song". But still, absolutely loved it. ^^
I love OPUS 12!!
Very satisfying album, when compared with Exclamation Mark.
For starters, Four Seasons Train 四季列车 (si ji lie che) is THE best Track 1 of all, amongst the last three albums (or which the title tracks did not really engage me). It's classic Jay with the sound of the train and the haunting background music, coupled with his awesome rapping. I have the same grouse that it's too short but there's nothing we can do about that.
I can't stop going "Wu wu" and "Du du"...lol! 9/10
Jay promised more piano ballads and he delivered!
Three to be exact!
You Are Everywhere, Obviously and No Difference Loving You.
Each is incredibly romantic and tears at my heart when I listen.
You Are Everything 哪里都是你 (na li dou shi ni)is very heartfelt and I can so see myself crying when it's played during The Rooftop.
True, Jay's high notes can get a little pitchy but it's raw and emotional and the melody is beautiful, not to mention the lyrics. 9/10
Obviously 明明就 (ming ming jiu) is the best of the three, for me.
Strong yet simple melody, marvellous rendition and I just love the ending where he goes into "ming ming jiu, ming ming jiu, ming ming jiu"...gives me goosebumps! 9.5/10
No Difference Loving You 爱你没差 (ai ni mei cha) is just classic Jay; reminds me a little of I Weep, My Emotions are In Bits and Pieces from The Era. 9/10
He also gave us a beautiful zhong guo feng song in Worldly Tavern 红尘客栈 hong chen ke zhan), which I love but it still cannot surpass Ju Hua Tai (Chrysanthemum Flower Bed), Qing Hua Ci (Blue and White Posrcelain) and Fa Ru Xue (Hair Like Snow) for me. 8/10
As for Gong Gong Has Headache 公公偏头痛 (gong gong pian tou tong)..haha...hilarious song with funny steps which Jay choreographed and I've been mimicking...lol! Thumbs up for a cheeky irreverent take on ancient China! 8.5/10
Uniquely Jay song for this album is of course, A Bigger Cello 比较大的大提琴 (bi jiao da de da ti qin) in which he puts his own inimitable stamp on 1920s big band music and the MV is AMAZING! The melody is infectious and gets me moving without a doubt.
It's on par with Free Instructional Video for me, amongst his quirky songs. :) 9.5/10
Lively, breezy and uplifting songs form the rest of the album.
Giggle 傻笑 (sha xiao),with Cindy is a nice duet, which works for me. 8.5/10
Ukelele 乌克丽丽 (wu ke li li) is really cute and kawai, yet not too childish. I can't wait for this MV. :) 8/10
Big Ben 大笨钟 (da ben zhong) is a catchy, jaunty number which is very enjoyable and Jay looks really impish in the MV. :) 8/10
Dreams Start 梦想启动 (meng xiang qi dong), is an uplifting song and with that Rachmaninoff piano intro (played by Lang Lang, no less!) definitely makes me "Go go go!" ;) 8/10
Trivia: The piano excerpt is from Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto in C minor, Opus 18, Moderato.
Sign Language手语 (shou yu) with its totally romantic and Jay-ish lyrics just makes me smile and this is another one which the MV should be interesting to watch. I think he managed the autotune nicely without overdoing it. This song reminds me of Mine Mine and Love Is Sweet (which he wrote for Super Junior) but it still stands well on its own. 8.5/10
Come to think of it, I love every single song on this album, unlike most of his other albums where there would be one or more tracks which I would fast forward if listening to the album as a whole.
There should be a Golden Melody Award in there somewhere. :)