When Taiwanese singer/songwriter Jay Chou (周杰伦 Zhōu Jiélún), arguably the largest Mandopop star of the 21st century, unleashed his newest single “Gained’t Cry” (说好不哭 shuō hǎo bú kū) on September 16, it captured each headline and acquired the complete web speaking. The track has already change into the all-time top-selling single on QQ Music, China’s dominant music streaming service, racking up gross sales of greater than 7 million digital copies to the tune of greater than 20 million yuan ($2.eight million).

Regardless of Chou’s sporadic album releases in recent times, the track’s record-breaking gross sales is simply one other proof of his super recognition and unparalleled cultural significance. Whereas he’s been unfairly dismissed as a sell-out by a small cluster of listeners, it’s evident that the pop nice continues to be within the prime of his profession.

That stated, “Gained’t Cry” is way from Chou’s finest work. As somebody who regards Chou’s discography because the soundtrack to my adolescence, the perfect factor I can say about this underwhelming love track, which sounds quite a bit just like the mediocre filler in his early albums, is that it has efficiently triggered a way of sentimental nostalgia for Chou’s earlier groundbreaking and generation-defining work.

Should you’re among the many uninitiated, please don’t use “Gained’t Cry” as your entry level to the world of Jay Chou. Now we have a greater thought. Lately, I blissfully sank into Jay Chou-induced musical euphoria by listening to each track the pop king has ever put out over his 19-year profession. I’ve narrowed them all the way down to my absolute favourite 5, which I current to you right here:

5. Dong-Feng-Po (东风破 dōng fēng pò)

Most Chinese language musicians have their favourite lyricists to work with, however Jay Chou and Fāng Wénshān 方文山 bond on one other degree. They honestly are a match made in heaven: Fang has a knack for crafting charming tales in his lyrics, and Chou completely is aware of methods to carry Fang’s concepts into fruition with musical components. On “Dong Feng Po,” Fang tells a love story set in historical China. The lyrics, half-written within the model of an historical poem, are each time-specific and universally relatable, which is a tricky steadiness to strike. Chou, on his finish, makes use of a variety of devices — together with piano, erhu, and pipa — to fuse Chinese language and Western components.

4. Grandma (外婆 wàipó)

2002 was a milestone 12 months for Chou. With the discharge of his third studio album The Eight Dimensions (八度空间 bā dù kōngjiān), Chou was basking within the glow of chart-topping singles and media consideration. For the primary time in his profession, he grew to become a darling on the Golden Melody Awards, China’s equal of the Grammy Awards, main the sector with 5 nominations.

With excessive hopes, Chou introduced his beloved grandmother to the ceremony. However the night time turned out to be a nightmare. Chou was significantly snubbed, profitable nothing. Afterwards, Chou’s grandma was bombarded by reporters, who pressed the previous woman to present a touch upon her grandson getting shut out.

Deeply annoyed, Chou goes out of his method on this heartfelt track to debate private topics. “Grandma’s anticipation has slowly morphed into disappointment. Adults simply don’t perceive,” Chou sings within the refrain.

At one level, Chou takes a shot on the awards. And I’m satisfied that this half is the place Chou delivers his most trustworthy and intimate lyrics thus far. The road goes: “Denying my work and making choices relying on the moods. I need to follow my model however they continue to be unimpressed. No shock. No change. I’ve been listening to this for 3 years. I informed grandma I didn’t lose and I don’t want to alter.”

3. Starry Temper (星晴 xīng qíng)

The beautiful, deeply touching “Starry Temper,” from Chou’s debut album Jay in 2000, is a complicated track highlighting the joy that comes with adolescent romance, the form of infatuation that makes first-time lovers see their crushes in actually the whole lot. Chou sings, “Carrying you, as if carrying sunshine / Irrespective of the place we go, it’s at all times a sunny day.”

Listening again to that line, it boggles my thoughts that Chou has developed into some alpha-type corny male who asks his love pursuits to lie on his “massive chest” (which he sings in “If You Don’t Love Me, It’s Effective,” a track launched final 12 months).

2. Qi-Li-Xiang (七里香 qī lǐ xiāng)

As catchy as his different love songs, “Qi Li Xiang” provides a mesmerizing poetic contact. The road “Rain falls for the entire night time, my love overflows just like the rain / Leaves fall within the courtyard, with my ideas in a single thick pile” is presumably probably the most romantic lyric in Chou’s discography. Anybody who’s ever had a sun-kissed summer season fling that extends past the pool season can most likely recall the exact second when their ardour reaches such a fever pitch that they need to, as Chou places it, “write ‘I’ll at all times love you’ on the finish of the poem.”

1. Nunchucks (雙截棍 shuāng jié gùn)

Full disclosure: This was the primary Jay Chou track I ever heard, and I discovered it irritatingly jarring on the time. Who’s this average-looking boy sing-talking about his fondness for nunchucks, and doesn’t he know what a correct track ought to sound like? What I’d quickly be taught was: No, Chou was not right here to play by the principles. He’s a straight-up music genius who for a very long time stayed forward of the curve by writing songs like this, which, given a second probability, I’ve discovered to be insanely catchy.

What are your favourite Jay Chou songs? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

Friday Tune is SupChina’s weekly sign-off.

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