Okay...after all that Chinese style rock, let's go on to another favourite style (and something a lot more soothing to listen to!) viz Jay's renowned piano ballads, of which there would be at least one in every album.
These are the love songs which start off with a typical Jay piano intro and build up into a soaring melody; always tuneful to the max and singable...but almost always sad.
After all, songs about love (gained or lost) are always popular with the public and any songwriter/singer worth his salt would be smart to build up this genre in his repertoire...and Jay is no exception.
I have chosen to recommend my favourites for this post but I'm sure some readers will disagree or insist that I have left out other deserving ones. Feel free to give your two cents' worth in Comments!
Warning: Be prepared to shed some tears as you listen to the ballads and watch the MVs. Tissue box at the ready!
From the first album, JAY, this is a beautiful and timeless song which made him famous viz Tornado aka Long Juan Feng 龍捲風 . With fantastic lyrics by Vivian Hsu and Jay's trademark voice, the opening piano intro is pure genius! The same motif of ten notes is repeated over a commonly-used chord progression and it sounds amazing!! I love the "Ooo ooo......" ending too and my only complaint is that it could be a little longer. :P
Love this live performance from The One concert:
Also from JAY album is Black Humour aka Hei Se You Mo 黑色幽默, a very classic piano ballad which Jay also wrote the lyrics for and renders wonderfully.
From the second album, Fantasy comes Silence aka An Jing 安靜, with lyrics by Jay himself and is also a favourite classic Jay ballad. The words are sad and heartrending...I can cry listening to this song.
Live from The One concert where he plays the piano...listen to the audience!
From the third album, The Eight Dimensions, we have Split aka Fen Lie 分裂 . Kelvin from Jay Chou Studio's take:
"The sound inside my heart strokes across. Cuts open the two kinds of Jay's consciousness. This is Jay's deepest monologue. I think this has a really good tune and I could listen to this for ages. The song is about a person with a split personality. In his reality he leads a boring and ordinary life and so he wants to escape this meaningless existance. He wants his other self to take him away. Because of the song's sensitive title it was renamed "Leave" for Mainland China audience."
From the fourth album, Ye Hui Mei, there are two songs which I love. The first is You Can Hear It aka Ni Ting De Dao 妳聽得到 , a very sweet and simple song about a couple seeing the good in each other. The MV is nicely done in a combination of Mandarin and spoken Cantonese....and Jay speaks a teeny bit of English at the end...really cute!
The second one is Cliff of Love aka Ai Qing Xuan Ya 愛情懸崖, with a MV showing Jay playing piano (which always pleases me!) and going all awesomely emo!
Here is Jay Chou Studio's Kelvin's review of this track:
"Vivian Hsu once again writes lyrics, explaining that love is just like a cliff, the deeper you love the deeper you fall, always cannot be controlled by people. I think this was probably one of the most anticipated songs in the album. I think Vivian has done quite well again, the words fit very well into the song and are simple like in the past. I especially like the last bit at the end talking about how he is buried by time. A very sad song indeed!"
The fifth album has two ballads but I like this one more...viz Run Aground aka Ge Qian 擱淺, with lyrics by Jay's good friend, Devon Soong. The MV is another tear-jerker.
The next song, Maple aka Feng 枫 is from his sixth album, November's Chopin. Also with lyrics by Devon Soong, I love this track for the melody and the seamless way it modulates up one semitone in the second half of the song. And omg...this is yet another very touching MV... *sniff*
How does Jay look and sound sooo darn emo??? It's practically an art with him!
From his seventh album, Still Fantasy, this is Step Back aka Tui Hou 退后, again with lyrics by Devon, and an interesting MV which features Hebe Tien from S.H.E.
From his eighth album, On The Run, I like The Longest Movie aka Zui Chang De Dian Ying 最長的電影, a sad song about memories from childhood.
Another lovely song from this album is Dandelion's Promise aka Pu Gong Ying De Yue Ding 蒲公英的約定, which is an extension of a track from his movie, Secret. Jay added in verses and voila!
I shall show a live performance of this song here as there is no official MV for it. Also, Jay plays the piano here....and I'm a sucker for watching him tickle those ivories!
From Album #9, Capricorn, here is another classic piano ballad viz Where Is The Promised Happiness aka Shuo Hao De Xing Fu Ne 說好的幸福呢.
From The Era, his tenth album comes Said Goodbye aka Shuo Le Zai Jian 說了再見, which was also used for Jet Li's Ocean Heaven, about a father and his autistic son. Very touching movie. *sniff* and very lyrical song.
And finally, from his latest album, Exclamation Mark, this is How Are You aka Ni Hao Ma 你好吗， with lyrics by two of his staff members. It is mainly piano and orchestra, minus drums and is another very heartfelt song about lost love....*sniff*
Done crying yet?
Tissue box empty??
Don't worry, the next post should be less tear-jerking...hmm, maybe I should not have grouped all these sad songs together.
But they are all beautifully done, ya?
And if they moved the listener, that is a successful song already. :)
I want to end with a vid of Jay performing at his The One Singapore concert in 2003, where he plays piano and performs The End Of The World aka Shi Jie Mo Ri 世界末日 (which, incidentally is another beautiful piano ballad which he wrote for SBDW in 1998) and Black Humour. Awesomeness!!