Album Review: Leehom Wang’s The 18 Martial Arts (2010)

王力宏 - 十八般武藝

王力宏 – 十八般武藝

Tracklist:

  1. Dragon Dance
  2. 杜 U ♥ Me
  3. 十八般武藝
  4. 你不知道的事
  5. 伯牙絕弦
  6. 柴米油鹽醬醋茶
  7. 需要人陪
  8. 天涯海角
  9. 你不知道的事(宋曉青 版本)
  10. 自己人

1. Dragon Dance
Not exactly what I had imagined a “dragon dance” would sound like. But this is one of the longest album intro I’ve heard so far. Most of it were excerpts of his latest movie, Love in Disguise. As for the actual lyrics part, he’s introducing his new Wushu of Music that’s fresh to our eyes and ears and remind ’em why ’til the end he don’t quit. Great way to start another volume of his Chinked-out style.

2. 杜 U ♥ Me [Do You Love Me]
The melody starts of similarly as with several k-pop releases lately. This song is also part of his movie. 杜 was used as a play on words as this was the last name of his character, Du Ming Han, and also used as “do” in this song. He’s asking the female protagonist if she loves him. Very catchy yet too repetitive. It’s not his common style either so this is one of his new sounds as he mentioned in Dragon Dance.

3. 十八般武藝 [The 18 Martial Arts]
This song now starts with the Chinked-out style as traditional instruments were used for the intro. He’s saying he’s been away but now he’s back with more. Yes, this is CHINKED-OUT symphony, sent out to the entire world and I hope it does reach new ears this time around. Here’s to hoping people around the world will recognize the 十八般武藝 (idiom: versatility) of Leehom.

4. 你不知道的事 [All The Things You Never Knew]
Another song from the movie, this is the main ballad in the album. The piano melody is what you can always expect from Leehom’s ballads. Along with his powerful emotional vocals, this is the main ballad in the album.

5. 伯牙絕弦 [BoYa Cuts The Strings]
This song is based on a story about BoYa, a man who played a guqin. I had an opportunity to try and translate this song with a friend and I think the lyrics by Mayday’s Ashin and 831’s Ah Pu is just plain genius. They got to incorporate the story and the visuals well into the song. Part of the message says that knowing someone is to know someone’s music. The guzheng instrumental at the end still gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it.

6. 柴米油鹽醬醋茶 [Firewood, Rice, Oil, Salt, Soy Sauce, Vinegar, Tea]
The first single off the album. This simple song, along with simple lyrics, written by Vivian Hsu, demonstrated well, the artist’s desire for a simple and normal life. He used the idiom 柴米油鹽醬醋茶, the seven things you need to have each morning (to open the door), which is basically just having the essentials for living. This is one easy song for KTV. :)

7. [Beauty]
Warning: this song is extremely repetitive. But once you’ve seen the lyrics, you’ll realize that the repetitive “mei” is three different characters. 美 – beauty/beautiful, 媚 – charming, and 妹 – little sister. As with the earlier songs, he used a bit of ancient Chinese legends, The Four Beauties, of which two were mentioned in the song as an example of the beauty he was describing.

8. 需要人陪 [Need Someone By Your Side]
Another emotional ballad with a piano melody. Just by listening to his voice, you’ll know this is such a sad and lonely song. At his age, he might be starting to think that he’ll need to settle down soon so he feels the need to have someone just by his side. (Not too far off with track 6, about wanting a normal life)

9. 天涯海角 [Ends Of The Earth]
From the melody and vocals, this seems a little more hopeful. From being alone, now he has someone he wanted to be with that he’ll travel the Ends Of The Earth for them to be together. I found this song a little more sweet and lighter the the other ballads.

10. 你不知道的事(宋曉青 版本) [All The Things You Never Knew (Song Xiao Qing Version)]
A shorter version of the original song. It sounds more raw and unplugged which makes it sound more emotional. I prefer something as plain/unedited as this song over the more played original.

11. 自己人 [One Of Us]
Leehom ends his album with a special message with the help of some kids from Sierra Leone. Singing glory alleluia amen… African beats add a twist to his usual Chinked-out along with a little violin melody in the background. It makes the song more internationally tuned.

Summary:
Before the album came out, I was actually expecting a more acoustic album but I wasn’t disappointed in knowing that most of the songs were more upbeat that I’ve expected. He came back with a new style of Chinked-out that’s truly new and refreshing even for long-time fans. As I had an opportunity to translate a few songs with a friend, I’ve discovered a new side of his music, lyrics and more of the legends of ancient China. His dream of having people more exposed to Chinese culture with his music will be easy to realize with this latest album that shows his versatility in the arts.

5 thoughts on “Album Review: Leehom Wang’s The 18 Martial Arts (2010)

    1. Clarissa Post author

      Thanks! and you’re welcome. I will be sharing more about Boya and some of the songs in my next entry.

      Reply
  1. Diyana

    I agree that #2 sounds like a K-pop song at the beginning. I also find that the chorus and the other parts of the song don’t flow together but it makes it even more catchy.

    Overall, I like the distinct sounds of Chinked-Out in the album.

    Reply
  2. Gracie

    Thanks! honestly I love the entire album. But my favorites are 十八般武藝 and 美. And I agree with you that this album is great because the Chinked-out sounds. LH never fails to reinvent his music styles and thats why we love him so much! he is unpredictable :)

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Stellar Shadow » “To know one’s music”

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