Instead of talking about the good albums that have been released, I’m going to talk about one that was a disappointment, because it was one of the ones I was most looking forward to this summer. I love Red Songs. It doesn’t really matter in my opinion that they were “Red” propaganda, nor is it fair to the people who worked on them to ignore them as such. Especially those pre-Cultural Revolution, because I think some of China’s finest composers came out during that time, including my favorite Chinese composer of all time, Lei Zhenbang who was just genius.
Then eeMedia began releasing songs from this album one by one on Sohu’s website. And one by one my excited died. This album just sucked, largely due to poor song choice and bad producing by Zhang Yadong. That’s right, Zhang Yadong produced this album and he sucked at it.
As you all may or may not know, or might not care about, this year is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC…and 60 is an important landmark number in Chinese culture, so there’s been a lot more of this type of stuff released than usual. The first one was Anson Hu’s EP, Red Songs, which I thought sounded great. And now eeMedia just released this 2 CD set with some of their favorite company members singing a variety of Red Songs, with Zhang Yadong producing. And since most eeMedia people can really sing, there should have been no reason for it to turn bad.
But everything was so boring, so flat. With none of the passion that the songs should have been sung by. It seemed everytime the song was to reach a high point, it got pushed down. And I blame it on Zhang Yadong since he was the producer and this style is evident in the songs of others he’s worked with, such as Ma Tianyu, Tian Yuan, SuperVC etc…whose sounds are more soothing in nature. It worked well for them, but not for this album.
Let’s look at Wei Chen for an example:
Wei Chen (CD version)
Compare to his spontaneous performance when Sohu interviewed him, An Youqi and Yu Haoming about the album. So much better. In fact, since Red Songs can show off someone’s voice well, they’re popular songs to sing. There’s been much much better performances from Zhang Jie, Wei Chen, Tan Weiwei, etc.
The song choices with the album weren’t the best, but I don’t think I can blame that completely on Zhang Yadong because some of the singers got to pick the songs they wanted to sing. But all the same it is disappointing. A famous producer, good songs, and good singers, and none of it worked well together. I’ll just go back to listening to Anson’s EP.
That being said, the album artwork is kind of cool: