Jacky Cheung's "Private Corner" Album Review

Jacky Cheung's "Private Corner": Album Review
The "non-professional" version written by llwy12

Jacky's long-awaited new Cantonese album "Private Corner" was released worldwide on January 29th. It has been more than 6 years since Jacky released his last Cantonese album "Life is Like a Dream" in 2004, so this new album of his has been highly anticipated.

Of course, as a devoted fan, whenever my idol releases an album, I always support him by buying the album and this time was no exception. I pre-ordered the album from Yesasia as soon as it was available on the website, and starting on the date of release, I fervently checked my mailbox everyday, hoping that the package would be there when I opened the mailbox door. As luck would have it, the package took 15 days to get here (yes, I was keeping track on my calendar) -- at one point, I grew so impatient at waiting that I started to suspect that perhaps the package got lost in the "snail mail" system somehow.

Needless to say, I was jumping for joy when the package containing the CD finally arrived. After receiving the package, ripping it open, pulling out the CD, and putting it into my CD player, I knew instantly that, again, my "wait" was worthwhile. The songs on the CD were awesome and hearing Jacky's voice blend so perfectly with the music was enough to make me forget how long it took for the package to get here.

Upon observing the album cover nd the contents inside (the lyric booklet and CD), my first reaction was that the design is very simple, yet elegant! There was obviously a color theme to the album as it was almost entirely in black and gold inside and out -- everything blended together nicely and was easy on the eyes -- the overall design of the album was extremely fitting to its "jazz" theme. I especially liked the lyrics booklet inside, which contained some deep thoughts from Jacky and a few pictures in addition to the lyrics for each song.

As a side note, inside the CD cover was an order form for the special limited edition "glass CD" version of Jacky's album (I was actually wondering about this when I heard about it on the news earlier). As much as I love Jacky and this particular album, I decided that I was not going to waste money on buying the special edition (I'm perfectly happy with my $20 version, thank you very much!). The primary reason is because the price is exorbitant (it costs HKD$15000, which is almost $2000 USD); but the other reason is because I strongly feel that NOT buying the special version does NOT make me any less of a Jacky fan, since true "fan-dom" (if that's a word) is not dictated by how much money someone is willing to spend on some material thing (also since I already have the CD, why spend so much money on a duplicate copy?). Besides, Jacky's awesome singing comes through just as perfectly on the regular version -- no need for an expensive one....in fact, if I were to get the "glass" one, I would be so afraid to break it that I probably would not listen to it as much, which would defeat the purpose of listening to the album over and over again and enjoying Jacky's singing. Plus, to be honest, I would much rather save up and spend that amount of money to go watch Jacky sing live at his concert in Vegas (crossing my fingers that it will happen end of this year/early next year)....

Anyways, back to the album...

All of the songs on the album definitely have the "jazz" feel -- from the music right down to the lyrics. During his promotional interviews for the album, Jacky had said that the goal for this album is to give his fans a high quality musical experience in a "light-hearted, feel-good" way -- which is what this album definitely does. In keeping with this goal, Jacky made sure that none of the songs were too "heavy" or "serious" because he doesn't want listeners to get bogged down with a whole spectrum of emotions -- he wanted this to be "easy listening," which is exactly what it delivers.

I liked all 10 songs on the album, however to save everyone from having to read so much (lol -- like this review isn't long enough already?), I only picked out a few songs to talk about. Note that this in no way means that the other songs weren't good, it's just that these were the ones that stuck out most for me.

So here they are (in no particular order):

>> Everyday is Christmas -- I must say that I've listened to this song at least 5 or 6 times since I got the album. One of the reasons why I like this song so much is because it has that "love ballad" feel that is Jacky's trademark, yet with a lighter feel. It's a fun song that is still able to deliver the message of how truly loving someone makes everyday feel like Christmas. The lyrics are very moving and really conveys the sentiments of the lovers. And not to mention, I really admire Jacky's proficiency with the English language....true, his pronunciation is not perfect, but it's better than most non-native speakers -- and most importantly it doesn't distract attention from the song so the listener is able to enjoy the song itself (this is a stark contrast from other artists with less experience and less command with the language where you can actually hear the disparity in the songs)....you can tell that Jacky is comfortable with the language.

Interesting note -- Jacky originally received lyrics for this song in Cantonese as well as English, but after putting the lyrics to music, he felt that the English lyrics were a better fit and would better convey the message of the song. So he kept the English lyrics instead....Very wise decision indeed!!!

>> 月巴女且(Fei Jie) -- This song is Jacky's tribute to his beloved god-mother, Lydia Shum. At first, when I saw the title of the song, I didn't realize that it was the 2 characters for Lydia's nickname ("Fei Jie") -- I actually read each character separately (as 4 characters instead of 2) and was wondering to myself what the significance of the title was (if you read the characters separately, it does sound a little weird). After staring at the title for some amount of time, it finally dawned on me that the characters should be put together to form "Fei Jie" -- plus this was confirmed when I watched Jacky's interview on UMG's website and he talked about the significance of the title.

The first time I listened to this song, I wasn't really paying alot of attention to the lyrics -- I focused mainly on the flow of the music and Jacky's presentation of the song. The second time around was when I really listened to the lyrics. I feel that Jacky did a great job conveying his feelings about Lydia in this song....he wanted this song to be reflective of Lydia's personality -- happy, joyful, strong, courageous -- and also show the impact she had on the entertainment industry. He didn't want the song to be sad because his memories of Lydia have always been filled with joy. He definitely accomplishes this with the song.

I also agree with Jacky's decision not to include Lydia's trademark laughter in the song (it was part of the original song, but after Jacky listened to the song, he re-recorded it w/out the laughter), as it definitely would have detracted from the song and would not have "flowed" so nicely. Plus it would have been too "overboard" in my opinion...

>> 迷你 (Stuck on You) -- This song is the "first plug" ( 主打歌) of the album. I feel that this song is the most classically “jazz” one of the entire album. It sets the tone for the album and gets listeners into the “jazz” mood – very simple, very easy to listen to, very comfortable.

>> Double Trouble -- This is a cute song -- it's the only "fast song" on the album. To be honest, it sort of reminds me of one of those 70s ballroom songs. Jacky says that his daughters like this song because it’s fast and they can dance to it (so cute).

>> 十二個音 (12 Notes) – All I can say is WOW! The vocal range on this song is amazing! On the surface, this is a simple, slow love song (all it has is guitar in the background – no complicated music at all), yet if you listen carefully, you can hear the different levels of the notes and the range of voice that Jacky uses. This is an extremely difficult song to sing – only someone with his skills and experience would be able to sing this type of song and still make it sound good. Anyone else with less skill probably wouldn’t be able to sing it without going off key.

Just some parting words….
This album is definitely very easy to listen to – all the songs are very catchy and very classical. The album is also VERY different from his previous albums. All the songs are very soft (even the “fast” one) and relaxing -- you can truly hear the range of Jacky’s vocals. I would have to honestly say that this is NOT a mainstream album, meaning that most likely the songs won’t become popular in the mainstream pop market, but that’s okay because it wasn’t meant for that – rather, the album is an ARTISTIC work whose purpose is for the listener to enjoy high quality jazz music. Only someone of Jacky’s caliber is able to produce such a great album – absolutely 5 star!!!

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