Asian pop review: The Key by Eason Chen

Cover of The Key,Eason Chan (left) and ½ Century Tour ,Jacky Cheung (right).

THE KEY

Eason Chan

EAS Music

Rating: 3.5/5

½ CENTURY TOUR (3CD)

Jacky Cheung

ioi Limited

Rating: 3.5/5

You never quite know what you are going to get with Hong Kong singer Eason Chan and that is part of the fun.

On his last Cantonese release ...3mm (2012), he went for electro-pop and took swipes at consumerist culture.

The material on his new album is more varied, starting with the musical drama of The Main Theme. It starts out almost like a gothic ballad and then takes unexpected turns along the way, morphing into an electric rock number: "Now, you have your pace, I have mine/We meet again, pity the time isn't right."

On the lovely ballad The Wanderer, he sings about going your own way: "The urchin grows up, don't ask any more, just let me go/Why does one end up following the crowd/Men are like sheep."

When it comes to music, or outrageous fashion choices, or chastising inconsiderate fans, you can always count on Chan to be himself and not hold anything back.

The album comes with a bonus CD single which holds the duet of two gods of song - Chan and Jacky Cheung.

The single is far sunnier than the songs on the album, as the two sing a motivational ballad about the people of Hong Kong being in the same boat: "There's still a road for us ahead/There's still life shimmering, soaring over the city and ports."

Their voices blend together nicely and soar in the chorus.

The single is also bundled together with Cheung's live concert album. To mark his 50th birthday, he embarked on an ambitious world tour which comprised 146 concerts in 77 cities from 2010 to last year.

This recording is of the final leg held in Hong Kong last May and it feels like the complete audio track of the gig. Musical interludes and banter are all included; the only thing missing is the visual component.

In this case, the DVD or Blu-ray would serve up the total package.

The meat though is the songs themselves. Fans will have a feast as he covers plenty of ground.

From Cantonese classics such as Only Want To Be With You to a rock version of Mandarin monster hit Farewell Kiss to dipping into his jazz album Private Corner (2010), there is something for everyone.

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