Albums Of The Week

JJ Lin's new album Message In A Bottle boasts impressive ballads, heartfelt lyrics

JJ Lin has been on a roll in recent years, with Golden Melody Award wins for Best Male Vocalist for Stories Untold in 2014 and From M.E. To Myself in 2016.
JJ Lin has been on a roll in recent years, with Golden Melody Award wins for Best Male Vocalist for Stories Untold in 2014 and From M.E. To Myself in 2016.PHOTO: WARNER MUSIC

Message In A Bottle boasts impressive ballads and heartfelt lyrics

The lead single, Wei Da De Miao Xiao (Little Big Us), sounds like a sequel to JJ Lin's big hit ballad, Bu Wei Shei Er Zuo De Ge (Twilight), off his previous album, From M.E. To Myself (2015). But not to worry, it is a sequel done right, capturing the moving grandeur of the earlier track without sounding like a retread.

Singapore's Xiaohan wrote the lyrics and, as usual, she has a way with words, piquing one's interest with the opening stanza: "A rose is surrounded by thorns, maybe it wishes for an embrace/Dolphins always have a smile on their face, maybe the ocean has washed their tears away, so no one knows".

It is a song about the universal need for love and finding the courage to pursue it. Lin sings with yearning and a sparkle of hope: "Love is not a coincidence/Let us hold on to each other's hands/Although we are minuscule/Never run away".

He composed all of the album's music and also penned the lyrics in the English version of the track, Until The Day, which is about the circular nature of life ("Lovers straying, seasons changing/Strangers to lovers/What comes around again"). Both work, though I find the Mandarin take more compelling.

The ballads make a greater impression here and Wo Ji Xu (Eagle's Eye) is another standout number, with lyrics from frequent Mandopop king Jay Chou collaborator Vincent Fang. Lin sings about believing in oneself and rejecting so-called destiny: "I want to be carefree like an eagle, fly far away from fate on the ground".

The Taipei-based Singaporean singer-songwriter has been on a roll in recent years, with Golden Melody Award wins for Best Male Vocalist for Stories Untold in 2014 and From M.E. To Myself in 2016. He suggests that his greatest challenge right now is himself as he seeks yet another breakthrough.

He asks in Chuan Yue (Stay): "Who breaks through, overcome who/If I don't, if there's no me/Who would surpass".

  • JJ Lin has been on a roll in recent years, with Golden Melody Award wins for Best Male Vocalist for Stories Untold in 2014 and From M.E. To Myself in 2016.
    POP

    MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

    JJ Lin

    Warner Music Taiwan

    3.5 stars

The message is clear.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2018, with the headline 'JJ Lin out to surpass himself '. Print Edition | Subscribe