Albums Of The Week: Leo Wang's latest album offers a mixed bag of likeable numbers

On his official Facebook page, Taiwan's Leo Wang lays out his mission of "trying to combine jazz, hip-hop, reggae and scat singing with Mandarin Chinese in a groovy way, and making his people dance".

He lives up to that pursuit of eclecticism on his fourth so-called mixtape, an apt description for this album of diverse genres and influences with music that is fun, irreverent and cheeky.

On the opener Thoughts Of Lee Kuo Hsiu, which is addressed to the late Taiwanese theatre pioneer, he raps smoothly: "You'll slowly get used to my style/And gripe that you get testy on nights without me."

He switches gears, grooving to a laid-back reggae beat, on Soul Truck and Jam All Night, which is about the pure pleasure of making music: "I think everything will be all right/As long as we can jam all night/Use your hands to drum, use your feet to drum/Use your mouth to drum, use your body to drum."

Turning Eighteen is about Wang doggedly pursuing his music dreams and it seems to be his own experience cloaked in the guise of advice: "Child, congrats on turning 18/Want to make a living doing music, you might have to move to Taipei/Child, congrats on turning 18/The excuse for moving, just say you're heading to uni."

At the same time, it is also a no-holds-barred portrayal of slacker, hormonal youth. J***ing Off, Got Caught sets up the scenario of the title and then gets progressively kinkier.

  • HIP-HOP

  • ARTISTS' MOOD

    Leo Wang

    Kao Muziq

    4/5 stars

The mixtape also features collaborations with a few artists.

Weekends With You dissects a mismatched relationship with honesty from his point of view and that of female singer 9m88's. He confesses: "I just wanna head home I don't feel so well/I don't like people."

He might have to get used to people liking his music, though.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2017, with the headline 'Mixed bag of likeable numbers'. Print Edition | Subscribe