S.H.E - SHERO Album Review

12/01/2011 11:50:00 PM

LaurenLCD

Via request by kdiana.

This is honestly my first time paying any attention to this group, since I know that for the most part they're actresses now-a-days. S.H.E consists of Selina (middle), Hebe (right), and Ella (left). Selina handles the soprano lines, Hebe does the high harmonics and mezzo lines, Ella is the alto who contributes the low harmonies which in my opinion are very vital to any girl group where soprano bias runs rampant.



SHERO was the last album they released as of 2011. Unfortunately, due to an on set accident that left 40-50% of her body in 3rd degree burns, Selina will be on an indefinite hiatus as she recovers (and enjoys her new marriage which was on the 31st of October) and Ella and Hebe are in the midst of their solo careers since their 10th anniversary must be postponed. Considering that they are now in their 30's (which is any healthy female's vocal prime), have their vocals aged gracefully with time, or are these girls people you don't want to be their shero?



Album: SHERO (2010)
Album #: 9
Tracklist:
01 SHERO 
02 Ru Guo Ni Shi Nu Hai 
03 Wo Ai Yu Ye Hua 
04 Liang Ge Ren De Huang Dao (Feat Judy Chou)
05 Shao Le Yi Ge Ren 
06 Shou Liu Wo 
07 Chao Ke Neng
08 Ai Shang Ni (Ost. Down With Love)
09 Ni Bu Hui
10 Ai Jiu Dui Le





01 SHERO
Track 1 starts off with a bang with the album's title track. For those of us who are new to the group, it's a relief that they have distinctive voices that don't sound exactly the same with similar timbres. Selina's voice is airy compared to Hebe's whose is fuller, despite being similar in tone. Ella's strong, low timbre is complimentary to Selina and Hebe's as she sings the harmonics and ends each solo.

The instrumental is strong enough to make one listen, especially when it builds from the solos, into the pre chorus, and then peaks with the chorus. SHE sings the chorus in a way where you can definitely tell who's doing what. Thankfully the chorus does change in key towards the end, so it doesn't feel like the song goes nowhere after all that build up.

Rating: 5/5




02 Ru Guo Ni Shi Nu Hai
This song on the other hand... It's direction is somewhat the opposite. It starts off strong with the instrumental that sounds unique in that it sounds traditional with some modern claps and kicks added in. Their vocals are clearly processed (T-Pain'd) by the second verse, though tastefully, but it doesn't escape my notice. The instrumental doesn't change much throughout and it's easy for this song to become background noise. I usually like chord changes, but for this song, I could have done without it. Hebe's voice is not pleasant to listen to when it's been T-Pain'd and thrown in a higher key.

Rating: 3/5






03 Wo Ai Yu Ye Hua
This song eases you in with Chinese recorders, and I believe a pipa (Chinese lute). Very easy on the ears. It's a nice contrast when they start the song off with Ella (In Taiwanese dialect), followed by Selina singing in chest voice (though it's not her strongest area - at least from what I've heard live). The beat is just fast enough for them to have to pseudo-rap, (I'm not sure if rapping is their forte). Selina and Ella are a nice contrast during the bridge. I love the background echos from Ella and especially how polyphonic the end gets with Ella's background, Selina and Hebe's chorus, and the additional background vocals. This is definitely a song where multiple parts work for the best and only serves my point of having at least one alto in a female group. Ella's voice adds depth where this song could have been thin and would have felt lacking. I hope that the following women in Kpop groups: Yubin and Amber get the chance to serve such a purpose in their respective groups.Yea, sure they're rappers, but rapping in Kpop has become dime a dozen and there are few females who have the natural talent and don't come off sounding contrived (I'm looking at you SNSD. What the hell did you think you were doing in The Boys? But that's a whole 'nother review).

Rating: 5/5



If the vocals are coming only from the right speaker, it's not your computer or ear/headphones. It's the video.

04 Liang Ge Ren De Huang Dao (Feat Judy Chou)
Once again, it's another ballad. This time with a guy (with a feminine name...). All compliment each other beautifully, with Selina's harmonies (which sound kind of Rainie Yang-ish), Ella and Judy's vocals, as well as Hebe's. If the last song was vocally busy, this one is even more so. It's an easy listener for when you feel like dozing off - in a good way. I imagine it would be a real pain to cover though.

Rating: 5/5




05 Shao Le Yi Ge Ren 
By now I'm starting to get drowsy. Mental note: don't try to listen to this album in one sitting. I love ballads as much as the next person, but Jiminy Cricket on a Pogo stick! This is one too many in a row. They sound nice, but due to the constant bombardment of ballads so far, it's easily background noise if you try to listen to it after listening to the previous tracks.


Rating: 2/5




06 Shou Liu Wo 
Finally, something a bit faster! It's still rather mellow, but at least I'm not falling asleep. They're heavy on harmonics which I love. However... It's still a bit too slow for my taste - at least in the context of this album. By itself, I like it, but when combined with the rest of the album, it's just a step above the other slow sleep inducers.

Rating: 3.5/5




07 Chao Ke Neng
Dear God another ballad.

At least until the first 35 seconds has passed!

To be honest, it sounds like something that would be done in Korean by f(x) or Wonder Girls. This is more upbeat and fun compared to all the soft ballads from earlier and can give this album a much needed boost. I love layers of course, and this has plenty of them. I can actually hear this being done for a drama, actually. I like.

Rating: 5/5




08 Ai Shang Ni (Ost. Down With Love)
This time we get another OST track from a drama, as well as another feature. This time it's J.Wu (thank you youtube comments!)  Luckily this is another mid to dance track. Hebe and Selina really shine in this track, it's just too bad that Ella got the short end of the stick. Only a couple of lines as lead in the chorus and a few lines during the middle 8.

Rating: 4/5




09 Ni Bu Hui
Once again, the album brings things down a few notches with yet another ballad-y song. It's nice that Ella got a lead part after being shunted in the last song, but it feels out of left field in the context of the album. *spoiler* the last song is rock infused *spoiler* 

Rating: 3.5/5




10 Ai Jiu Dui Le
 This is actually a cover of  Kate Voegele's Angel. Ella's voice, while certainly wonderful, was a bit strong to start with. I felt that Selina could have started the song with Ella coming in second as opposed to the reverse. Their voices alone (except Selina who's tied with her) are stronger than Kate's. Together, they blow her out the water I'm afraid. Sorry Kate. I wish their were more tracks like this on the album (that are original of course).

Rating: 5/5

Overall Score: 41/50 = 82%
Most Recommended: SHERO, Wo Ai Yu Ye Hua

Rock may not be their primary genre, but they pull it off really well and it's [SHERO] a good track to get your feet wet with. I had this song on constant repeat before listening to the rest of the album. Wo Ai Yu Ye Hua really gives a good impression on their cultural roots with everything from the instrumental to their use of dialect. It's perfect if you're looking for something that doesn't sound like it was ripped off from Kpop, the US, etc.


Least Recommended: Shao Le Yi Ge Ren, Ni Bu Hui, Ru Guo Ni Shi Nu Hai


Because they're bad? No, but because Shao Le Yi Ge Ren comes after being subjected to 2 other slow tracks that its addition makes the album feel more lethargic than it needs to be. Ni Bu Hui suffers the same problem. Its timing and placement in the album (after 3 slower tracks and a couple of 'waker uppers' and right before a song that infuses rock) is jarring. The third song lost love from me with the autotune on Hebe which just sounded atrocious.

Final Thoughts
The album's points were really brought down with how many slower tracks? 4? 5? If this were a group that only did ballads as their genre, I could understand the prevalence, but because they proved that they can do rock and other up tempo tracks, the constant barrage of slow songs in a row made the album feel that it dragged for longer than it needed to.

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