It has been 16 months since Jay Chou released his latest single, “If You Don't Love Me, It's Fine - 不愛我就拉倒”. It is too long, a way tooooo long, right? So, last week when I saw Jay’s instagram post that he was going to release newest song on Sept 16th, I felt:
- Finally a new song to listen to
- Seriously? Only a new single? Not an album?
I was preparing myself to pay for every details on this MV, yet still I missed some familiar things on the first watch. My first impressions about this MV were wah, shooting Jay playing piano on wide angle is perfect; wahhh the girl is kawaii; aaaaa, the story is quite touching; aaaa I like the festival in the background; waahhhh so the boy will go to school leaving the girl?; waaaaa, their acting on this MV is so real; and Waaahhhhhhhh MAYDAY is THERE!!!!!
About Shin Mayday, I should have noticed earlier that there was something familiar on the opening melody which was so Mayday and it should be a hint that Mayday is involved in this song. Look at min 0:11 – 0:20, the sound of single piano, six hours after the song was launched, I just realize that it is the same touch that we can find in many of Mayday’s songs. I should have known that Jay Chou would be accompanied by another musician and it was Mayday! Having Mayday in Jay Chou’s MV was never crossed my mind as lately I only saw JJ Lin in Jay’s posts. I thought JJ and Jay will be on one project. Oh, but actually I was once sure that duet between Jay Chou and Shin Mayday would be great. It was in Mayday’s concert last year, I guess, when Jay appeared as guest star and they sang “Rhythm of the Rain 聽見下雨的聲音.” (PS: JJ’s version of Rhythm of the Rain is also great!!!!)
Having Shin Mayday on this MV is the “it-factor” that makes this “Won’t Cry” outstanding. Strong Shin’s character, showed from min 2:05 to end, totally enriches this easy-listening ballad track and more importantly, delivers soul to this song. Jay’s voice that is light and much more on yearning, regret and restrained emotion, well presents this song’s message and Shin, with his heavier tone, sets emotion from this song to the level that the listeners get the feeling that the boy on this MV owes the girl so much.
Another note is hmmm I think Jay always needs an emphasize for his ballad songs, either by having duet partner who has vocal range one level above or below his or by accentuating fast and dramatic piano note for back sound. In this song, Jay well uses both methods. Besides having Shin started on min 2:05, Jay also puts dramatic piano melody, the same dramatic as in the “If You Don’t Love Me It’s Fine”, on min 2:53, in a right proportion.
Moving to the lyric. As always, Vincent Fang and his style of poetry should never be questioned. My observation here is of course only based on its English translation provided by JVR at the bottom of the video. In general, this translation presents main message of the song, but in my limited Chinese vocabulary and grammar point of view, there are parts that should have been translated more intensely. One phrase that I think loses its intended tone is “bu gu rang wo zou” since it is only translated as “will not cry.” I think (again, in my very limited Chinese-English translation capability) this phrase would be more touching if it was translated as “will not cry when (you) let me go.” Never mind, I can still catch the main message by looking at the subtitle, actually. The Chinese listeners will not care either as they are listening to the song, not looking at the translation haha. Moreover, I believe that this problem is a common one, as most sentences in Chinese are formed in passive voice, while English prefers active voice more and yeah I guess this transformation affects translation for this song (and many other Chinese texts).
There are two parts of the lyric that I like the most. This part:
Then you started to ignore my calls,
Never mentioning how hard it is to be alone
You decided to leave so that I can move on and live the way I want
At first, I think these rows are partly silly, partly yeah I can understand because I don’t think people, or at least me, can ignore calls and leave while there is no problem at all. However, maybe these should not be interpreted literally. “Ignoring calls”, when it is combined with “never mentioning how hard to be alone”, can also be seen as pretending that everything is alright. The “calls” is not a phone call per se, but a “concern” whether this girl is okay or not. Therefore, part “you decided to leave” does not always mean that they stop seeing each other, but stop talking about any worries of being left alone. This girl does not want to place any burden to this boy.
And this is my favorite and accompanied by dramatic piano melody as the backsound:
You don’t have much
But you’re still there to support my dreams
After such a long time, you’re still there waiting for me
I can totally relate to the first two rows!!! Classic love story, right, when we save most of our money to buy costly present for the one whom we love or…only have a crush :D (yet, they still ignore us hahahaha). This part is totally sweet, highlighting “you’re still there”, which I think it is the main message of this song. This song is dedicated to all people who have sacrificed much for their significant other!! Indeed, illustrating this lyric with story on temporary parting for school is also relatable for most people these days, including me.
I am glad that Jay Chou finally comes back with a new song. I am still looking forward to his new album, though. It is interesting to realize that in these three years Jay has changed quite much. His latest album was in 2016, the Bedtime Story. I don’t know about revenue he earned from this last album, nor its comparison with previous albums. I mean, I can look for the data online, but not now. The thing is, what happened after 2016’s album that stops Jay from producing new album?
Jay does not stop from music industry, I know. In fact, from 2016 to date, he conducted more concerts than previous period and the area was also expansive. Australia, London, Paris, Vegas. I don’t know whether conducting concerts in those new areas brings more fame to Jay Chou because it will need a thorough research and analysis which I will not do it now, but I think it is debatable as we know there are number of Chinese who live there. Maybe it is not expansive in a sense that Jay expands his markets to non-Chinese listeners, rather it is part of making himself reachable to Chinese listeners abroad. With this in mind, it is not a new album that is important, but presenting memory back in China to Chinese listeners abroad by listing Jay’s legendary songs in his series of concert. Having one or two single(s) in a year is still important to keep his market alive and as a gimmick for his concerts and recurring song list.
I don’t know whether this thought is correct or not, nor I think that it is a bad practice. I just miss the old Jay that I’ve known since 2001 who used to produce new album annually. Glad that today Jay releases his new single and few months ago he said he was being serious to produce a new album in a near future. But, ya, when is the future that Jay talked about?
Jay Chou, please one new album for us!
(Ark. Sept 19)