Saturday, November 2, 2013

Album Review: Kelvin Kwan's "Breakout"

Kelvin Kwan's star continues to shine with "Breakout", his latest and best album yet.

The singer has matured significantly over the years and found the different musical styles that fit him, and "Breakout" shows this. The 8-song album provides a mix of the angst-ridden pop rock Kelvin successfully experimented with in "Occupation", emotion-filled mid tempo numbers, and slower, sweeter songs. Kelvin shows great range in his voice and musical style without including a traditional slow ballad already so often seen in Cantopop.

A closer look...

"Breakout" opens with "手刃情人/Busting My Lover", which bears a similar feel to "People of My Generation" musically wise, but speaks of pain towards a lover. Kelvin's voice and emotions are very raw here and present a different level of intensity than his previous songs.

My personal favorite from the album though is easily second track "你永遠是對的/You Are Forever Right." The mid tempo and melancholic song shows off Kelvin's range and emotion along with a great and moving musical composition. The MV elevates the power and message of the song, but suffers a setback due to Chrissie Chau's mediocre acting.

"一體兩面/Integrated Both Sides" has a slight space-like trance from its beats and arrangement. Although slower than the other songs on the album, it boosts a very serene vibe with a hint of mystery.

"孱弱/Fragile" is a song that takes what Kelvin experimented with from "Occupation" and "People of My Generation" and makes it even better. The song starts off slow with a gentle sadness before going into an angst-ridden and emotional number. This is arguably his best single to date. A more in-depth song review can be found here.

Kelvin once again goes rock with "偉大領袖/The Great Leader", only this time sheds the excessive angst for an upbeat and catchier tune.

"隻字不提/Not Mentioning a Word" is the only song that comes closed to being a ballad on the album, but also one of the less impressive. The arrangement is still very nice and Kelvin never fails to show his range in slow songs like this.

Coming in as another personal favorite of mine is "空氣公園/Air Park," a sweet, relaxing and dreamy song. Kelvin's vocals sound very warm here, putting a smile on your face. It has a very strong calming effect with its thoughtful feel.

The album closes with "舊好/The Old Good," another slower track with a very relaxing and serene vibe. It is an uplifting song with a lovely orchestral and band arrangement, which serves as a nice and sweet way to end the album.

Overall, the album shows great strides in Kelvin Kwan as an artist. "Breakout" reaffirms my confidence in Kelvin as a mainstay in today's Cantopop industry, which is in need of someone with edge and a flair for experimentation like him. He has surpassed everyone's previous low expectations of him as little more than a washed up idol and blown everyone out of the water with his genuine talent. "Breakout" is his most mature and best work yet as well as one of the most consistent and enjoyable albums of the year. I know I will continue to be impressed by him.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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