The Queen of Blues

Eve Ai flits easily between balladry and other genres in Talk About Eve.
Eve Ai flits easily between balladry and other genres in Talk About Eve.PHOTO: SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

Whenever The Sum Of Us plays on the radio, I feel like I should stop what I am doing to give it my full attention.

The ballad is written by Eve Ai and features a spare guitar arrangement. It does not scream for attention, yet is utterly compelling in its quietness. The lyrics beautifully sustain a metaphor about love and mathematics that is both unusual and poignant.

"No one has ever been able to perfectly expound on this and come to a conclusion/But to me, it's still beautiful/Don't dream of discovering the evidence/Of who loves who, published as a proof."

You can cherish a relationship even when things do not add up.

The third album from the season five winner of Taiwanese television singing competition Super Idol in 2011 is Ai's most beguiling yet. It lives up to the sobriquet of "Queen of Blues", conferred by music producer Wang Chi-ping.

  • ASIAN POP

  • TALK ABOUT EVE

    Eve Ai

    Sony Music Entertainment

    4/5 stars

There is a soulfulness to her singing that lifts even more conventional material such as Harmless Loneliness, turning it into another highlight on the album.

She is also a versatile artist who can flit easily between balladry and other genres.

Talk, composed by talented newcomer singersongwriter Eric Chou, is a sultry R&B number tailormade for her lightly husky pipes. She promises: "When the crowd stops swaying/When the music starts getting softer/I say, I say, I say/Will be with you till the end?"

She rocks out on Escape Plan, chills on reggae-tinged Take Me To A Sunny Island and swings effortlessly on Dependence.

When she sings the refrain of "Then you come along" in English on the Mandarin track of the same name, packing a range of emotions into that repeated phrase, you can understand why she was once hailed as Taiwan's Adele.

The comparison to the British star is meant to be flattering but, really, there is no question that Ai is her own woman.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'The Queen of Blues'. Print Edition | Subscribe