Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Jay Chou's Bedtime Stories

Jay's 14th studio album aka Bedtime Stories was officially released on 24 June but even before the stroke of midnight, everything was available on iTunes and my chat group was full of comments as we tuned in and gave our two cents' worth.

Once again, sleep was sacrificed for His Royal Diaoness....but as always, no regrets!

As Jay had already released 5 songs over the past few months, there remained only another five to catch up on. There was plenty of his signature rap and ballads but one thing I sorely missed is a zhong guo feng song like Qing Hua Ci or Hong Chen Ke Zhan.
Apparently, the NYSM2 theme is meant as the zhong guo feng song for this album; well, it fit into the movie and has Chinese-style instruments but it cannot hold a candle to his slower numbers from previous albums nor even the ones which were more hard rock like Dragon Fist or Fearless.

Anyway, the track list on Itunes is here:

And here is my playlist of five other new songs:

My overall impression of the album is favourable and I would put it on par with Aiyo Not Bad.
The absence of the 'proper' zhong guo feng song is made up for by the Hathaway-inspired Lover From A Previous Life, which remains my favourite track.

My rating of the songs:

1. Bedtime Stories: 9/10: weird and OTT reinterpretation of what the humble bedtime story can be

2. Stay Away: 8.5/10: catchy  and nice to bop along to but what I really love is the banjo

3. A Little: 8.5/10: typical Chou ballad, emotional and heart-tugging

4. Lover From A Previous Life: 9.5/10: near-perfect mix of rap, strong memorable melody and the fact that Hathaway inspired it makes it stand out for all time

5. Hero: 7.5/10: good song for LOL, with shades of The Era and All In One Breath

6. Shouldn't Be: 9/10: beautiful duet, destined to be a karaoke favourite which will be mangled by well-meaning fans. ;)

7. Turkish Ice Cream: 8.5/10: did not like it initially but after listening a few times, now find it utterly cute! Has shades of Nunchucks. Can't wait to see this MV!

8. Love Confession Balloon: 8.5/10: simple singalong number 

9. Now You See Me: 8/10: the supposed zhong guo feng song; sounded great in the movie, though! 

10. Failure At Love: 8.5/10: another heartrending Chou ballad


Incidentally, sleep will be sacrificed again tonight as another new MV will be released at midnight!

Can't wait!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Updates: MV for Should Not Be; Bedtime Stories Press Conference and Radio Storyteller

The MV for Jay's new song was scheduled to be released on the stroke of midnight, 17 June 2016.
However, JVR Music had to push forward the timing due to a leak of the song online.
Social media was abuzz with a link to an audio version in the late afternoon and fans were elated when they realised it was a duet with none other than A-mei, with whom Jay has frequently collaborated with in concerts but not on an album.
Previous duets on his studio albums had always been with his JVR team mates eg Lara, Cindy and Gary.
This would be a first with a fellow Taiwanese non-JVR artiste!
Have a listen:


I've always been of the opinion that Jay's forte in music is his ballads and this song did not disappoint. Not to mention that it was a duet, which is always a challenge to write.
Memorable melody and a cool MV story combines to make this a sure favourite during future karaoke sessions for fans.

Article from Asian Pop News:


Behind the scenes:



JVR held the press conference for Bedtime Stories on 17 June 2016, with Matilda Tao once again hosting.
From various online news clips which I went through, it is clear that fatherhood has had an effect on Jay, what with the pop-up storybook and owl music box for the new album.
Not to mention his pajamas-like suit which he wore with his signature coolness and nonchalance. ;)

JVR's vid of the press conference:




Music box USB:


More cute vids and reports:






More pics here:



In conjunction with the release of the album, Jay set forth to be a storyteller on radio, with his good friend Darren supporting with voice effects.

For five nights from 13 to 17 June, both of them covered the following well known stories, tweaking each one with a twist of sorts from the original...lol!
And of course each had a lesson or two to impart.
I'm sure everyone is familiar with these famous tales, so I will just indicate the difference from the original below, for the benefit of those who do not understand Chinese.

1. Littel Red Riding Hood: To punish the wolf after he had cut open his tummy to rescue Little Red Riding Hood and her Grandma, they stuffed all fourteen of Jay Chou's albums inside so that it would no longer eat humans and could only listen to Jay Chou's songs.

2. Hansel and Gretel: The witch suffered a less morbid fate.

3. The Ugly Duckling: The hunter whipped out his cellphone and took a wefie with the Ugly-Duckling-turned-Beautful- Swan.

4. The Emperor's New Clothes: no twist here

5. Snow White: Listen for Jay's 'singing'




Thursday, 16 June 2016

Jay Chou in Now You See Me 2

Now You See Me was a sleeper hit and a breath of fresh air when it was released in 2013.
Amidst superhero movies and films based on books, it stood out for being an original story with a stellar ensemble cast featuring the likes of Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and veteran actors Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.
Like many other movie-goers, I was quite enthralled by the special effects and 'magic' on display and when a sequel was announced with an Asian-American director (Jon M. Chu) plus the inclusion of our Jay Chou in the cast, excitement ran high among the fans.

In the run-up to the movie's release, Jay had been quick to clarify that his role amounted to only a cameo. As such, I had to tell myself not to expect too much but was still keen as this would now be an original franchise, a rarity in today's cinematic climate.

As fortune would have had it, Shaw Theatres organised a movie marathon consisting of NYSM and NYSM2 which coincided with...my birthday! I lost no time booking the tickets and sped through the busy work day on 14 June with anticipation of the treat afterwards.

Shaw was also screening a special preview for media, sponsors and other contest winners that same evening so the lobby at Lido was a hive of activity, with an emcee on stage playing games with the crowd and people taking pictures with the gigantic billboard.
Of course, yours truly was right up there to pose with Mr Chou and was extremely happy to receive an instant print, courtesy of the organisers....who were really kind to accomodate everyone, and not just invited guests. :)

It was certainly a treat to catch the first movie again and refresh my memory about how it all began.
And when it was time for NYSM2, I was all ready to savour some movie magic and keep a close watch for our Jay.

I had already written in earlier blog posts about his appearances in the movie and true to what he said, his role was not that huge and did only amount to at most 20 minutes in all. Not at all like in The Green Hornet, where he practically stole the show from Seth Rogen. As such, I felt he was severely under-utilised in NYSM2.
His spoken English was pretty good; I would describe it as endearingly enunciated with a Taiwanese twang. :)
However, his presence on the posters, the open ending of the movie and some interesting information from director Jon M. Chu in various interviews hint at a more developed story for his character in NYSM3.
Keeping my fingers and toes crossed!
I did enjoy NYSM2 very much too, for its bigger scope and further development of Mark Ruffalo's character. Lizzy Caplan was a delight to watch and Morgan Freeman is just Morgan Freeman...'nuff said.

Some good articles to read:




This is the article which mentions the NYSM3 and Jay's character:

So....have you seen them yet??

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Jay Chou's MV for Bedtime Stories: Famous European Paintings

After I had shared my post about the MV for Bedtime Stories on the Facebook Page, I got a most enlightening comment from a fellow Jay Chou fan, who is also an art lover and creator, Alex Marsolais.

Alex said:
"I also love how he incorporates those famous paintings and interacts with them."

Truth to tell, I knew those were famous paintings but not being an art afficionado and being somewhat lazy to do research, I did not dare to mention too much in my first post apart from the fact that they were definitely of European origin...lol!
So I was immensely grateful for Alex's art education and decided to write about these works in a separate post.

This is Alex's website and when you click on Art, you can look for Diao and see what I mean about his Jay fandom:


According to Alex, there are three clear-cut references.

1. The Scream (1893) by Edvard Munch, a Norweigian born painter and printer.

More about Munch here:


And about The Scream:



2. The Persistence of Memory (1931) by Salvador Dali, a Spanish surrealist painter and this is one of his most recognizable works (except to art-ignorant people like yours truly).

More about Dali:


About The Persistence of Memory:



3. The Birth of Venus (1486) by Sandro Botticelli, an Italian painter in the Early Renaissance.

About Botticelli:


About The Birth of Venus:



4. Another indirect reference was the appearance and mention of apples, likely related to Rene Magritte, a Belgian surrealist artist who had quite a few works centred around that familiar fruit, most notably The Son of Man (1964).

About Rene Magritte:


About The Son of Man:


Only one thing to say about Jay:


Jay Chou's MV for Bedtime Stories

JVR released the MV for Bedtime Stories and....wow! 

Super love the song AND the MV!

Check out His Royal Diaoness' outfits! 

What can I say but that His Royal Diaoness has once again broken boundaries by setting this MV in the context of what looks like a Victorian era orphanage, with Jay taking on the role of the storyteller scaring his young charges with tales of the unexpected and channelling scenes from horror movies like The Exorcist.

Jay has never been one to shy away from themes based on the fantastical and supernatural, so this MV actually comes as no surprise.
Think vampires in The Era; graveyards in William's Castle; weird creatures and beasts in The Orcs or Dragon Rider; time travel in Piano Sorrow.
He also has a fascination for old-world European culture (perhaps due to his classical music background), clearly shown in his choice of wedding venue and numerous MVs shot in Italy, Prague and England, just to name a few.

The song is catchy with typical Jay Chou rap, hip hop and two sudden classical bridges thrown in for good measure. I probably would not be able to sing it during K sessions but move along with it I certainly will!

Haha...I like one of the comments by a certain Alan Smith on the youtube vid:

"This song should have been called Bedtime Horror Stories"

Couldn't agree more!

NB: I'm attempting to translate the lyrics.
Not easy at all!
Will update when done.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Updates: Now You See Me 2; Bedtime Stories; Fubon; Sony Xperia X; Family

1. Now You See Me 2

Now You See Me 2, featuring our Jay in a supporting role opens this month worldwide; 16 June in Singapore. There have been some early reviews in and clips and teasers online.

Jay mentioned in review:

NYSM2 Light Show with Jay being utterly cool and cute!

NYSM2 MV 120s, featuring a new song by Jay and Vincent Fang, incorporating Chinese-style, rap and hip hop. It has shades of Long Quan, Yang Ming Shan and Luan Wu Chun Qiu, coupled with Chinese and English lyrics. Interspersing scenes from the movie with casino antics and dancing, it is, once again, a more conventional MV, which after the surreal and artistic Lover From A Past Life felt a little of a downer for me. But enjoy it I did nonetheless.
NB: This song will also be on Jay's new album.


Audio clip of Jay speaking English in the movie:


Yes, that is the extent the fans will go to...haha!
Love his spoken English!
Wish the director had given him more screen time. :(

And this just cracks me up....lol!

2. Jay Chou's Bedtime Stories aka Album #14

I had gotten a hint a couple of months back from a reliable source that Jay's new album would have something to do with bedtime stories. With his new fatherhood status, this did not sound at all surprising to me then and of course, sweet images of Jay reading stories to kids started floating through my mind's eye.
Until JVR released the following photos....which, in true Jay Chou fashion, are NOTHING at all like what one would traditionally associate with the simple bedtime story.


First up, was this with Victorian era beds and Jay wearing pajamas and the strangest looking black top hat with bunny ears!
My friends' reactions ranged from 'so eerie' to 'Halloween feel' to 'Harry Potter' to 'weird'.
There was some explanation in the post, referencing the movie, The Exorcist from the 1970s and after some thought, perhaps Jay is channelling a character which helps to get rid of one's demons and nightmares using bedtime stories?
The album will be available for preorder on 8 June and released on 24 June.
As with any Jay Chou product, fans can expect different versions in CD and USB format.
The storybook packaging and accompanying merchandise have already gotten the fans all excited and lamenting that their wallets are once again, going to have a huge hole. ;)

Check out Jay's all-pink ensemble....the shoes just kill me!

What a get-up, complete with the 'bony' glove! Only Jay can do this and still look cool.

Hello Asia has a write-up on the album:


Listen to a sneak hint of the title track in this promo clip from JVR ("Before you go to bed, listen to Jay Chou"):


Shades of Twilight Chapter Seven and that owl hooting reminds me of Harry Potter. ;)
Can't wait!

And there he is in skirt-pants again!

3. Fubon community service


3. SonyXperia X

Oh... the Diaoness!

Sony Xperia X 40s commercial:


Sony Xperia X Behind the scenes:


4. Miscellaneous articles which show Jay's commitment to his wife and daughter.

Jay stop performing?

Hannah on motherhood and love

More from Hannah:

"Put your hands up!"

NB: Tonight's big event is the Hito FM awards.
Watch out for updates tomorrow and thereafter on the Page, followed by this blog!