Album Review: Rainie Yang – “Wishing for Happiness (想幸福的人)”


This is Rainie Yang’s seventh full-length studio album. It was released August 17, 2012 by Sony Music Taiwan.

There are a few different covers for this album, but I chose the “Smile Once Again” edition because I really liked the color and Rainie looks lovely. The “No More Tears” edition is a nice pink color, though.

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The album begins with 忘了 (Wàngle; Forgot), a soft yet upbeat song. The instrumental is outfitted with electric guitars, lively drums and keyboards, all of which compliment Rainie’s pixielike voice. In addition to being the main single from the album, I thought this song was a great choice for the opening track, due to the fact that it’s not super downbeat, but mellow enough to reflect most of what the rest of the album will sound like. Not an in-your-face pop song or a weepy ballad, but a happy balance.

想幸福的人 (Xiǎng xìngfú de rén; Wishing For Happiness) is a totally different story. This stunningly melancholy acoustic ballad is one of the prettiest songs I’ve heard in a while, and I’ve no doubt it has a lot to do with the simple melody along with the fragile beauty of Rainie’s voice. The buildup in the song is also remarkable, progressing from just piano to a full band sound, with Rainie following right along with a gradually bolder vocal performance. Definitely a beautiful song and highly recommend. (Rainie also released a mini-series of short films to promote the song, which deals with love and sexuality – I’d check that out too, if you’re interested.)

I’m not so sure about 離開動物園 (Líkāi dòngwùyuán; Leaving the Zoo). I was pleased to hear the unexpected electronic elements of the instrumental, but I could have sworn I’d heard the melody before. It seemed like the typical  “happy acoustic pop song” tune and so I didn’t think it was all that fresh. Not exactly my favorite track, but it was cute so I guess it has that going for it.

Luckily, 未來哈囉 (Wèilái hāluō; Hello Future) ended up being a lot more fun. A simple but cheerful rock song, Rainie’s voice is full of energy here, and even when she shouts, it’s endearing rather than grating. The contrast between the softness of the verses and the bold chorus was also nice.

不要對自己說謊 (Bùyào duì zìjǐ shuōhuǎng; Don’t Lie to Yourself) brings us back into ballad territory, with lukewarm results. Although I thought the melody of the chorus was lovely, the verses were somewhat bland, to the point where I had a hard time remembering what they sounded like after the song had ended. In addition, Rainie’s voice sounded weaker on this song that on previous songs, so overall the sound of this track was just weak.

I would go so far as to name 愛, 啟程 (Ài, qǐchéng; Love’s Journey) a standout track. Although it starts a bit muted, the song rapidly becomes very dramatic, with driving strings and piano. Rainie’s vocal performance is also, thankfully, much stronger on this song than the previous. I love me a dramatic mid-tempo ballad and this song definitely fits the bill.

自作自受 (Zìzuò zìshuò; My Own Fault) is another soft ballad and at this point I’m not really sure I’m feeling it anymore. I like the song’s gradual buildup and gentle melody, but this song is really too long for its own good in my opinion. And it’s not even entirely Rainie’s fault because her vocals are fine, it’s just that the song is too much of what we’ve already heard.

一萬零一種可能 (Yī wàn líng yī zhǒng kěnéng; Ten Thousand and One Kinds of Maybe) is much more like it. This upbeat pop-rock number introduces bouncy guitars, an interesting melody and a refreshingly bold vocal performance from Rainie. Not only is this song fun, it’s interesting – switches from acoustic to electric guitar and a poppy melody with rock dimensions keep me on my toes while listening. I really love this song and it didn’t come a moment too soon.

I was about to say OH GOD ANOTHER BALLAD when 不敢說的懷念 (Bù gǎn shuō de huáiniàn; Can’t Say I Miss You), and sadly I was mostly right. Although this song is really pretty, I found it incredibly difficult to get into it considering how many similar ballads are on the album already. And it’s pretty long (4 minutes 44 seconds), too. I thought the instrumental was really nice, though – it kind of reminded me of a Joe Hisaishi piece from a Hayao Miyazaki film. So that was nice.

I’m not sure I get the title of 少年維特的煩惱 (Shàonián wéi tè de fánnǎo; Sorrows of Young Werther). In any case, this is another ballad, and I really wish they could have put a more upbeat song at the end of the album so that I could have fond memories of it. But then, if they put one of the more lively tracks at the end, where would they put this song? With all the other ballads? I’m not sure. I don’t hate the song or anything, but I wish it weren’t at this specific point in the album.

Summary: I wanted to love this album because I love Rainie Yang. She’s so cute, she’s a great actress and her music is really nice. However, this album has a major flaw: it’s too slow. There are so many ballads that it’s hard to differentiate the good from the bad, and the album is bogged down as a result. However, this in turn actually helps the good tracks stand out even more – go figure. Overall, a decent album, but not nearly fun or lively enough for a summer release.

Album Grade: B-
Recommended Tracks:
 忘了想幸福的人未來哈囉愛, 啟程一萬零一種可能

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