Eric Chou's listenable new album has some surprises

Taiwan's Eric Chou, who impressed on his 2014 debut album My Way To Love with his smooth vocals and songwriting skills, is back with a new album.
Taiwan's Eric Chou, who impressed on his 2014 debut album My Way To Love with his smooth vocals and songwriting skills, is back with a new album. PHOTO: SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT TAIWAN

Taiwan's Eric Chou, who impressed on his 2014 debut album My Way To Love with his smooth vocals and songwriting skills, has since shown that there is more to him than just crowd-pleasing love ballads such as the hit Let's Not Be Friends Anymore.

Now 21, he is an in-demand songwriter for others, including Eve Ai, whose sultry R&B number Talk is an indication of Chou's versatility.

The new album's opener is a slinky electronica number -1 Minute, where he sings: "Let another me completely change me."

Let It Go shimmies into dance territory as he cajoles: "Follow me, fling your troubles away/So we let it go, go, go, go, go, go."

It takes a certain amount of confidence to name a track Let It Go, given the popularity of the song of the same name from the huge animated hit Frozen (2013), yet Chou pulls it off - you will probably be too busy moving your feet to dwell on the association.

  • ASIAN POP

  • WHAT LOVE HAS TAUGHT US

    Eric Chou

    Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan

    4/5 stars

Unlike Singaporean singer-songwriter Tanya Chua on Aphasia (2015), however, he has not gone full-tilt into electronic territory.

The ballads are still here and his lovely vibrato and warm tone make How Are You and Wish To Return To That Day come across as deeply felt. He lingers over a past relationship in How Are You and pleads: "Can you continue to cry at me, laugh at me, be good to me/Continue to let me think of you, be crazy for you, grow old with you."

Even the English-language number No One Like You manages to charm with its breeziness, despite cliched lines such as: "Baby, baby, in my eyes/Oh, you are paradise." Given that he spent his formative years between 12 and 18 studying in the United States, one expects better lyrics from him.

Still, this is a consistently listenable album with some surprises along the way.

It is a worthy follow-up to My Way To Love, one that suggests Chou will not be easily pegged - and that he has lots more up his sleeve.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2016, with the headline 'Listenable album with surprises'. Print Edition | Subscribe