Laure Shang – Nightmare
Release date: January 20, 2011
Label: Huayi Brothers
- Lonely Lullaby
- Love Warrior
- Nightmare [MV]
- Ms. Lane Crawford [MV]
- S.O.S [MV]
- Live Beautifully
- Je Passe ma Vie à t’Attendre (I Spend my Life Waiting for You)
- We Will Fly
2006 Super Girl winner Laure Shang (Shang Wenjie) releases her fourth album, in which she continues her exploration of electronic pop in English and French, being aptly named the Lady Gaga from China.
The first track, Lonely Lullaby, is an electronic slow jam that fuses Dong-ethnic chants with rather simplistic lyrics about how loneliness takes away all pleasure in life. The second track, Love Warrior, continues with this style of music, but gives much richer rhythms and the lyrics resemble traditional Chinese lyrics a lot more.
In Nightmare, the beats pick up and continue with Dong and Folk-sounding chants, though not as prominent as in the first two tracks. It seems the album loses the traditional sounds and begins focusing a lot more on the synthesized pop. Track 4, Ms. Lane Crawford, is a full-on electronic pop song and it continues with Girl, a much more beat-driven electronic pop that suffers from simple English lyrics, but sounds great and would look amazing on screen with killer choreography.
S.O.S. starts out as very Lady Gaga-esque and is probably the most boring track of the album. Nightmare continues with Live Beautifully, a Mandarin version of Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Outta my Head, which sounds pretty much as if Minogue could sing in Mandarin. It then continues with Je Passe ma Vie à t’Attendre (I Spend my Life Waiting for You) with Belgian musician Jean-Francois Maljean, a song used at the Shanghai Expo to promote ties between China and Belgium. Finally, the album closes with We Will Fly, a piano ballad that’s probably the most “normal” sounding song on all the album.
Nightmare is an ambitious project. Laure Shang wanted to create an album that’s interesting and accessible for international audiences. With songs like Love Warrior, it works — the song is unique and grabs your attention. However, the album lacks direction after that. There are also few radio-friendly tracks, unless you count Live Beautifully, which is the cover of an already radio-friendly track.
Best track: Love Warrior
Preview on Xiami.com
Glad to find a review on Laure Shang’s new album. I am a fan of her and wish she can win more foreign fans as she did in China.
@Daqing, thank you for dropping by. We’ve find that Laure Shang is an interesting music proposal when she manages to find the right production.
Particularly love that she’s got a pretty-perfect-sounding French. Her song Amie is wonderful.
We hope that the YAM Magazine music review archive is as varied as it can be.
I love music from Laure Shang. Her voice is amazing!
@Oliver, thank you for stopping by. Laure Shang’s got an interesting concept, and we hope to see more of her in the future.
Amy, the day you give an album 5 stars, I will listen to it. But I must say that I’m curious about this French with the Chinese so I am gonna listen to this!
@julili, I think the only album that has come close to 5/5 was Jonsi’s Go which I gave 4.5/5. According to my Facebook records, no album has 5/5 xD but the ones that do have 4.5 are (sans OSTs or Best Album collections):
Marit Larsen – Under the Surface (but I should probably re-review this)
La Ley – MTV Unplugged
Alejandro Sanz – MTV Unplugged
Regina Spektor – Soviet Kitsch
Dixie Chicks – Home
Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
Bjork – Medulla
Miyavi – Miyavita Dokuso
Faye Wong – To Love
Bibi Zhou – WOW
Seo Taiji – Issues
Shiina Ringo – Shoso Strip
Shiina Ringo – Singer’s Luck ~Part One~
Michael Jackson – Bad
Regina Spektor – Songs
Faye Wong – Faye Wong (2001)
Olafur Arnalds – Eulogy of Evolution
and… Jonsi’s Go xD
@amy, What does an album need to have for u to give them a 5?
@julili, I take 5/5 as a personal thing. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder (or in this case, the ear), so to me a 5/5 must be a favorite. However, the idea of a favorite is relative. That’s why I find it difficult to give a perfect score.
For me a perfect album would be filled with music that is specific to an artist. For example, in the case of Bjork, I know immediately it’s her with her voice. It’s unmistakable. Another layer of a perfect album is having something to tell me, not only in the songs, but the album must have a story arc… whether in themes or musically. Perfect example would be Eulogy of Evolution.
The most important bit for a perfect album is… skip-ability. You must like all the tracks, maybe not love… but even if a song is not your cup of tea, that song means something within the album. If you skip it, the album loses a layer.
Marit Larsen put it perfectly for me:
“To me, one of the biggest challenges and thrills of being a recording artist is not just writing songs, but making albums. A good album is to me one where you can listen from beginning to end, experience highs and lows – and at last feel equally satisfied and hungry for more. An album really should not resemble a random playlist or a “best of what I wrote the past couple of years”. My favorite albums of all time have these qualities (and they are something I will be trying to match for the rest of my life).”
I think a 4/5 is a perfectly good album. Well produced, developed, written, sung, etc. It just doesn’t reach the level of instant favorite (which is rare). It usually takes some time for an album to develop from 4 to 5 stars.
Just as it is probably impossible for me to rate an album 1/5 unless you are a horrible single and horrible songwriter with lousy production that believes is the $hit. The attitude with the crappy product would lead me there… however poor an album may be, it grants even a little more than 1/5.
That’s my view on music rating. It’s almost similar in films, keyword ‘almost’ – I seem to be a lot more flexible when it comes to films.
@julili, also… it’s probably a good time to start listening to Laure Shang. I think she will be riding a wave of Chinese market openness, considering she speaks English and French quite perfect… and speaks Mandarin naturally (duh!), so she is way ahead many singers already LOL. And according to what she said… she’s taught herself Spanish. I think that if she keeps absorbing music from other cultures, she’s got great chances for making it out of the mainland Chinese market.
She is basically what YAM is about LOL. We should grovel so she turns into our ambassador. xD
If you want to check out Laure Shang’s music because of the French fusion English Chinese thing, she showcases her language talents since her EP debut À la Claire Fontaine… then her 2nd album Time Lady has a really good song, you wouldn’t believe it’s sung by a Chinese-speaker. She sounds perfect in her French song, Amis 阿蜜.
@amy, I listened to the album, listened to it 3 times already. She does sing the French really well. I was a bit amazed. I hate to sound prejudiced but she didn’t sound Chinese at all.
I can hear that she is the kind of person that likes different kinds of music. I can ttly hear the influence from different sounds. It’s an interesting album. I most say that I was surprised by the Kyle cover. It was cute and refreshing.
The lyrics struck me, simple yet powerful, she seems like a very interesting artist
@julili, her French is perfect because she was a French interpreter before she won the Super Girl contest in 2006. (you know, the one that BiBi Zhou placed in 2nd).
So in the concept of idols… Laure Shang is an idol in control of her image. This is why a lot of people say the Cpop industry has better idols… because many aren’t carbon copies of each other.
I’m kind of liking the fact that she is her own, it’s so fucking fresh! Guuh. I really need to listen to some more Cpop
This album is perfect. I think it should be rated at least 4 star
@Kenneth, would be 3.5 tops. It’s good, not amazing. If it had followed the style of the first two songs better, I could have been a 3 3/4 or maybe even a 4.
What was your favorite song in it?
@yam magazine, I agree with you hear, as good as the album was, it was the later half of the album that rocked. The first half was very meh. I would give this album a 3
@Julili, actually, saying the complete opposite of you. The best track is #2 (checks review), then it sort of evens it all out.
Love Warrior is my favorite song. and then it is Je Passe ma Vie à t’Attendre
@Kenneth, Love Warrior is the best song, and I think Laure should explore that sound in future works. Is there a video to that song, do you know?
I agree. Love Warrior is the only song that has her unique flair while showing off her gorgeous, fluid voice. She has a beautiful voice, and I really hope she never uses autotone again because it makes her sound worse, not better.
Here is a demo version of “Love Warrior”. http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjM4NjU0MzI0.html
@Daqing, thanks for the link.
Have you listened to Sa Dingding? I think she’s pretty amazing.
@amy, I have not listened to Sa Dingding. Today, the MV for “Nightmare” is out. You can watch it here: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/64bktAnvfTw/