With Eric Suen's latest album "Never Said Goodbye", the singer finally returns to Taiwan and releases his first Mandarin album in 9 years. While not as creative and fresh as 2010's critical and commercial success "Man in the Mirror", "Never Said Goodbye" is a great collection of the emotional ballads he's come to be known for as well as some fun and experimental tracks.
A more in-depth look...
The album opens with the upbeat and fun "Count On Me", where Eric is rocking out with a soft rock sound. It's refreshing to see this youthful side of him and experimenting with different styles. The song shows his vocal range while being catchy. In the music video, Eric looks very cute with the "rocker" look despite being nearly 40 years old. He looks like he's having so much fun!
The title track "沒有說再見/Never Said Goodbye" starts off on a lighter tone, and is representative of the overall feel of the entire album. The verses sound sweet and gentle. As it moves into the chorus, it speeds up and becomes more emotional and feels rather bittersweet. It develops into a fast ballad. I'm very fond of the music in the verses as it possesses a serene and sweet feel. It is a moving track and I love how it builds up.
"You and I" finds a wonderful balance between the emotional ballads Eric is most known and fitted for and the fast paced songs he likes to record every now and then. The song is about love and how he's found that special person. It is sweet, uplifting, and mellow, and unlike any song he's released before. The atmosphere the song creates is so light and airy, resulting in a very relaxing and serene song. (Side note: I wonder if Eric wrote this song about girlfriend Macy Chan?)
In my opinion, "不屬於我的淚/Not Part of My Tears" is the most touching song on the album. Eric always sings with so much emotion, but it is most evident here and you can feel the pain in his voice as he sings the lyrics. The music and emotions here are just beautiful and full of sadness.
With the presence of an electric guitar and just a hint of angst, "When I See Your Face" is the rock ballad of the album. Eric hits several high notes through out the chorus well, creating a pleasant vocal sound. Out of the non-singles of the album, "When I See Your Face" is my favorite.
"最好的安排/The Best Arrangement" is another ballad gushing with emotion, but does not feel as sad as "Not Part of My Tears". As a result, it's not as "heavy" but still retains Eric's trademark emotional vocals.
After "Not Part of My Tears" and "The Best Arrangement", the album transitions into "真的真的/Really, Really", the fastest and most upbeat song on the album. This gives listeners a nice break from the slow song and ballad dominated record. The intro with the main speaking is whimsical and amusing. The production behind the song with the upbeat piano and drums and Eric's happy vocals creates such a playful and fun sound! Eric's best music is still definitely his emotional ballads, but this is one of his much better upbeat songs and a whole lot of fun to listen to.
"你變了沒有/Have You Changed" is another slower song that transitions into more of a mid tempo and uplifting feel. The chorus flows very nicely, and boots a hint of optimism.
With a mid tempo, "失落的輝煌/Loss of Glory" is more upbeat and instrument heavy. The song is a good break from the slow ballads of the album and brings something a bit different to the table without becoming too fast.
"Never Said Goodbye" closes with "愛的下一頁 /Under a Page of Treasures", which sets itself apart from the other slow songs beautifully. It starts off with a soft and comforting piano intro before flowing into the first verse with Eric's soothing vocals. With its musical composition, the closing track achieves a stunning sound. This is shown most at the end of the chorus, where he gently sings a long high note. It gradually speeds up, then slows down with a repeat of the verse. It then quietly drifts away with the piano, closing the album nicely.
This is yet another superb album from Eric. It is a bit too heavy on the ballads, and to be honest they do start to blend together. The slow pace of the majority of the songs makes them harder to distinguish them from each other. Yet, each song is still wonderfully produced, lovely, and brings something a bit different. The few more upbeat songs also divide the ballads nicely. As his comeback to Taiwan, the album shows his vocal range and emotion in a collection of 10 beautifully produced, composed, and sung songs. My personal favorites from the album are "You and I", "Never Said Goodbye", "Not Part of My Tears", "When I See Your Face", and "Under a Page of Treasures". "Never Said Goodbye" though, is one of those rare instances where I love each of the tracks. There are the tracks that stand out more, but none of them come close to being a "filler". "Never Said Goodbye" is a beautiful and consistent album. Not that I ever doubted it, but this album once again proves to me how talented of a singer, musician, and artist Eric is and justifies why he is my favorite singer.