This post was written in March 2011 and previously posted on my personal site – 25thday.com.
**I started writing this a month ago and finally finished! Lots of things happened in between which diverted my attention…lol**
Description from YesAsia
A year and a half after 007, Will Pan has come up with his highly anticipated new album, intriguingly titled 808. Named after a model of drum machines popular among hip-hop artists since the 1980s, the album carries other meanings for the Taiwan pop star, as he was born in August 1980, and this being his eighth album. Boasting a new retro-futuristic sound and image for Will, the very personal album features the dance floor-burning first single “Totally Wanted”, as well as “We are all afraid of pain”, the theme song for Will’s latest idol drama Endless Love co-starring Sandrine Pinna.
01. 全面通緝 (Totally Wanted)
02. 未來愛情 (Future Love)
03. 觸動 (Touch)
04. U U U
05. 電腦 (Computer)
06. 次世代 (Second Generation)
07. 我們都怕痛 (We’re all afraid of pain)
08. 小小螞蟻 (Tiny little ant)
09. 我的電話 (My phone)
10. 肩膀 (Shoulder)
11. 最終 (Finally)
My interest in his music has only really begun since his 6th album “Play it cool” – where I think he had more control over his music and became more of a singer/song writer. Born and studied in the USA, some might still think of him as this “hip hop ABC rap cool dude wannabe”, but I think he’s gone past that now and capable of releasing some great pop music – trendy as well as putting cpop on the world map.
In an interview with Xiao Zhu & Xiao Gui on the TV show “100% Entertainment”, Will said he wanted to create an album which the audience will enjoy – something easy going and will create “memory points”. I think he has certainly done it quite successfully. These “memory points” no doubt came from the lyricists – don’t expect anything ground breaking, it’s just POP. Nothing that will strain your mind. I have nothing against this since pop music has its place in the world, so I am very happy to play this album in the car and sing along with it while driving. These “memory points” include:
我就是 Killa killa killa killa 別想抗拒 no no no
No no no no (killa killa) Baby you’re my No.1
— from 全面通緝 Totally Wanted
Baby girl let’s go go go 慢慢的靠近我
Know know know I know you love me so
— 觸動 (Touch)
I’m crazy over U U U U U
如此瘋狂的中了 Do Do Do Do Do
— U U U
Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na
Hey Hey Hey Goodbye
— 次世代 (Second Generation)
我的電話 不得不響 就算再忙 ok ok
我的電話 為你而響 現在就打 da da da da
— 我的電話 (My Phone)
The side effect though – is that I’ve been singing “I’ve crazy over U U U U U” in my head for a few days now, cannot get it out of my head! This is how addictive the album is.
About each song…
01. Totally Wanted – The album begins with a blast with this futuristic track. Its MV is also very cool with Will playing the role of an assassin on the run. It has a “different” sound (electro) and pretty horrible to sing live – but on the album, it’s appropriate and sets the tone.
02. Future Love – Continuing on the futuristic theme this is a mid-tempo track. I’m not sure how I feel about it, first impressions is that it did get boring because it kind of stays on one level for the whole song. Might need to listen to it more….
03. Touch – A remix/part 2 to “Shuang Ren Wu / Dance For Two” from his last album, have to say I LOVE IT! Especially after seeing the MV, a collaboration with Nichkhun (better known in the kpop world, but I think he looks a lot like Jimmy Lin!). You will just want to dance to it! Plus it does retain some elements from “Shuang Ren Wu” so you can instantly recognise its origins. Will had said in a radio interview that he wrote this song for a girl he liked at the time. WHO IS SHE? Of course he won’t tell! But his lyrics does show how a guy is struggling with being in love with a girl, his heart beating for her but don’t know how to tell her….
我無法說出 最真實的感受 說出了口 會換來什麼結果
I don’t know how to express my truest feeling, if I say it – what consequences will it bring?
04. U U U – “Touch” was catchy, but U U U is by far the most addictive song on this album. It was pretty much stuck in my head after listening to it twice because the same two lines gets repeated over and over! But it’s such a cute, unassuming song you just fall in love with it. The MV is cute too – it helps when Will looks really good in it.
05. Computer – Another song with an electro/futuristic sound. It’s also rather repetitive, but compared to say, “u u u” – it’s the borderline annoying kind of repetition. I don’t really like this track.
06. Second Generation – The intro to this song is gradual, it slowly builds up to its chorus so I think it would work well if it was the first song on the album. But nevertheless, this track also has a lot of repetition! I can totally imagine him singing this in a concert, where the audience would sing along the English lines with him. Can’t get anymore easier than “na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye”? Overall though, this is also an enjoyable track, works well with the future theme but I can’t remember much from it except the line above!
07. We’re all afraid of pain – The album splits into two parts, the first six tracks are fast/upbeat songs, while from track 7 onwards we move onto to the ballads. Surprisingly, there’s only two “real” ballads on the album and this track is one of them. Taiwan drama viewers will remember it as it is the theme song to “Endless Love / Ai Wu Xian”. I’m a bit disappointed with this song actually. Having already listened to it many times while watching the series, the full version just seemed flat in the beginning. It’s like they cut out the best bit and used it the theme in the series… so everything else seemed dull in comparison. Not that I’m saying it’s a bad song, it’s a sad ballad and Will sings it beautifully. Maybe I’ve been overexposed to it through the series.
08. Tiny little ant – A sweet song composed by Khalil Fong. When I first heard it I thought it had a distinct ‘Khalil’ feel to it. But Will can also pull off this type of song, you will just want to tap along to it. The MV is also rather cute. An unassuming number worth repeating again and again.
09. My phone – After listening to this song a few times, I actually didn’t like it too much. The chorus seem too much like a children’s song. So I was rather surprised to find the lyrics co-written by Vincent Fang, who wrote some of Jay Chou’s best songs. Whilst I also mentioned before some of the tracks can be repetitive, this one just seem to be repetition gone wrong.
10. Shoulder – The second ‘real’ ballad from the album, I still prefer “We’re all afraid of pain” over this one, maybe because of the tie-in to the TV series. It’s not particularly spectacular but worth a listen. There is still lots of room for improvement in terms of reaching the high notes. However, his vocals seem a bit soft throughout the whole song, maybe he could push the emotions a bit further towards the end it might be better.
11. Finally – So is this an appropriate track to end the album? I’m indifferent towards it though – not quite a ballad, not quite a dance number. Not something I would repeat over and over.
I bought the Limited Edition of 808 just recently so you can say I LOVED it so much I had to add it to my collection. Tracks 3 & 4 are my absolute favourites but others like 1, 6, 7 & 8 are also highly recommended. The year and a half was well worth the wait and hopefully the next one will even be better!