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18 Martial Arts - Album Review

Unlike other fans who think Leehom’s new album "18 Martial Arts" is not that good, I, on the contrary love it so much. I mean, I love all the tracks of the album. So, I’m giving it 9 out of 10. And this is my first album writing ever since I become Leehom’s fan 4 years ago. I’m not someone who is expert on music let alone review it. It’s just from a personal point and for a sharing purpose only.

From some source that I found and limitedly understand, coz mostly in Chinese translated using Google translation, I read that Leehom continues his Chinked-Out Style with different approach. His “Shangrila” was using Tibet traditional music instrument. “Heroes of Earth” was using Peking Opera music. And this time, Leehom tried “Chinese classical music” and coined them with some modern sounds. And it’s a super well done!

01. Dragon Dance
It's a genius track. I dont know how many surprises he put into one song. Several different vocals from singing, talking, rapping, whispering, there's a female voice too, even one that sounds like somebody who's annoyingly sobbing. I don’t think all voices in this track is Leehom's only voice, but if it is... wow! his skill of impersonating others voice is really great. The music is awesome, sounds modern but mixed with traditional Chinese music instrument. The only thing's lacking is that it's too short. ENCORE! ENCORE!

02. 杜 U ♥ Me (Du U Love Me)
It's a very catchy song, very easy to like. This track shocked me the most, because I never thought I would like this song so much. I have always preferred Leehom's ballad, but for this one... it definitely wins over his beautiful ballad "Firewood, Rice...." It reminds me of his "Doll" in "Heartbeat", a playful song that sticks in your head. “Do you love me? Do you want me? Do do do do do, do do do do .... you love me??” YES I DO, LEEHOM!! I LOVE YOU, SO MUCH.

03. 十八般武艺 Shi Ba Ban Wu Yi (18 Martial Arts)
OMG! He did it again. Leehom proves himself once again as the master of chinked-out. I dont know what kind of traditional Chinese music instrument Leehom used in this track, but it sounds like I was watching a classical kung fu movie, just like watching Jacky Chan doing his drunken kungfu style. Although personally I think Heroes of Earth is better, but I love this song too. I love how he blends that classical sound with modern beat of an electric drum. A small note: the way Leehom sings "heeeeiy...." aarrghh... I’m just melting.

04. 你不知道的事 Ni Bu Zhi Dao De Shi (All the Things You Never Knew)
What can say? The first time Leehom shared the first 48 second of the song thru his FB, I'm already in love with it. It's like magic. The more I listen, the more I'm drawn to it. I'm so thankful to God who has let Leehom created such a beautiful beautiful song. it's just too perfect, the piano, the guitar, the background orchestra, the voice. Everything is perfect. Ok Ok... I will say no more. It's so easy to understand that everybody will love this song too.

The official MV, with English sub by Leehom

05. 伯牙绝弦 Bai Ya Jue Xian
It's the fifth tracks.. and so far I don’t have any complain yet. Not with this song too. I love it! It sounds like an easy listening song, but actually it has rich unique musical instrument that is composed and played beautifully. Leehom is just genius, and his voice is the best compliment to this song. Toward the end, at first I thought it's a bit annoying with that harpa (it's called "qin"), but as I listened more and more... again, it is actually beautifully arranged, composed and played.

06. 柴米油盐酱醋茶 Chai Mi You Yan Jiang Cu Cha (Daily Necessities in Life)
I notice a lot of people think that this song is too simple. But when there are so many others who are touched by and cried because of it... is it still too simple? Leehom has successfully conveyed an important message thru this song. Simple thing can really touch your heart. At first, I didn't really like it, I even complained about the way he sings "Wei wo men xian zai bu zai jia" on the second verse. But when I understand the meaning.. I agree with Leehom, it can be sang that way. He's genius. And after a few listening, it really grew on me.. On his youtube channel I commented that Leehom has transformed words "Firewood, Rice, Vinegar, Oil and tea" into a very beautiful song... Plus, the MV is also very good. So, yeah... it's great job!

The Official MV with English Sub by Leehom

07. 美 Mei
I don’t understand why this can be least fave track for some fans. To me, it's another catchy track that's been haunting my head and never fails to make my body and head move along with the melody. When they say it's too simple, is it because the lyric? I mean, almost the whole song Leehom just goes "ni ce me mei, ni ce me mei..." again and again. I'm sure the spelling is wrong (Lol) and I dont know the meaning either. But it's a nice song, it's a super nice song.

08. 需要人陪 Xu Yao Ren Pei
Another nice ballad, but I have to say that this song probably is not my fave ballad of the album. To me it's just too ordinary, nothing too special about it. I think, Leehom can produce song like this easily, like 10 songs in a day.. maybe. Lol. But I read many fans love it.. so I guess I've missed something here. Could it be the meaning? Any rough translation, please?

09. 天涯海角 Tian Ya Hai Jiao
I'm totally blown away .... I dont think I have ever felt like this with any of his latest ballad songs, except with “Trust and Losing You”. It’s his voice that makes this song so beautiful. It’s so soulful, so deep with emotion, an emotion I don’t understand.. but I believe it’s a sad feeling. I love this song so very very much. It’s a song that makes me fall in love with Leehom each and every single time I listen to it. I wish I can get the English translation soon.

10. 你不知道的事 (宋晓青版本) Ni Bu Zhi Dao De Shi (Song Xiao Qing Ban Ben)
Short version of All the things You Never Knew. I personally think this version is much more sadder than the previous one. Leehom always knows how to sing sad song so good. I think that is one of his dozens specialties.

11. 自己人 Zi Ji Ren
Wohooo! The first line is something I never expected coming from Leehom’s song. Is it a religious song? I dont know. But the violin part is so good and the whole song is also nice to listen to. A bit like reggee, a bit like an an African country music too, I think. However, I have to admit that this my least fave track from the album.  REVISED : after hearing to this song more, I really love it. It's not my least fave track anymore. And, aaaarghh... I can't choose which one that I dont like. I love all the tracks!

Just a note, please try to listen to Leehom songs using a headphone. We will appreciate the so many eclectic and unique sounds he put into one. And we can also enjoy his flawless voice, including a better sound of his soft sighs and other adlibs words like “oooh, yeah, hooo, heiiy, hmmm, uuuuh....., owoowoo...” that have been his trademark in all of his songs.

Let's visit some websites that show us the so many types of Chinese Instrument:
String Instrument
26 Traditional Chinese Instruments


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Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your review. I went out & got his album & found that it's worth every single cent. I just wish there's English translation for all of the songs 'coz they sound so beautiful, yet I don't understand a single thing! Oh well... keep up the good work!

onleehom 王力宏 | TNB