Greatest Works of Art

Jay Chou

Greatest Works of Art

Press the “MORE” button for an exclusive Q&A with Jay Chou about the making of this album. Jay Chou established his reputation as a Mandopop superstar through heart-wrenching ballads, kinetic raps, insouciant delivery and compositions applying his training in classical music to a wide range of musical styles. Greatest Works of Art, his first full-length album release in six years, returns to those foundational ingredients on a grand yet comfortable scale. The title track combines a plethora of sounds and influences, from Western hip-hop and R&B vibes to classical piano, reminiscent of Chopin. You’ll also hear elements of 1920s-style composition too, alongside nods to Chinese poet Xu Zhimo and painter Sanyu.“Mojito” is a light-hearted excursion to the tropics built around Cuban rhythms, while “Waiting For You”, a collab with Gary Yang, and the humorous “Pink Ocean” showcase the wordplay and emotional resonance of Chou’s long-time partnership with lyricist Vincent Fang. Below, Chou shares some of his thoughts about making Greatest Works of Art: Which songs best represent your current creative mood? “I have beautiful childhood memories of playing the piano while my mother painted. I remember my mom telling me stories of artists, so it was actually way back then that my mother began influencing me artistically. The combination of painting, drawing, literature, and music has been a recent theme for me. ‘Greatest Works of Art’ and its music video were things I thought about around five years ago. It’s like traveling through time to encounter artists of the past.” Talk about your collaboration with Ashin Chen on ‘Won’t Cry’ and possibly future collab plan. “I like to give my fans surprises. For my collaboration with Ashin, the backup vocals, production and video shoot in Japan were all kept secret. I remember when I announced on Instagram that I’d be releasing a song, he acted surprised and encouraged me online as if he didn’t know—and that really surprised everybody. Anyway, it was fun.” Have your ideas about marrying traditional Chinese music with Western elements like R&B and rap changed? “‘Cold Hearted’ is a Chinese style song that I wrote with Vincent Fang. I still remember years ago when I was about to release November’s Chopin, lots of artists were writing Chinese-style songs, too, so I didn’t want any Eastern elements on the album. But Fang strongly suggested otherwise, and even finished the lyrics to ‘髮如雪’ (‘Hair Like Snow’). Then I thought to myself, I should just stick to my own style and hope that I can influence others instead of being influenced by them. So I’ve just always made the music I want to make.” What inspires the stories behind your songs and Fang’s lyrics? “Creativity is not necessarily about the artist’s own stories and experiences. Sometimes I draw inspirations from people around me. For example, the song‘If You Don’t Love Me, It’s Fine’ that I wrote with Devon Song [of Nan Quan Mama], expresses the emotional difficulty of a man who feels that their relationship has hit a wall, but he still manages to confront their problems/issues with strength and charisma. Vincent Fang wrote the lyrics to ‘Won’t Cry’, which is a love song about sacrifice. For the sake of a man’s dream, she lets him go with a smile. So each song can have a very different story.” How would you describe Jay Chou’s music style in the 2020s? “I’ve never thought about it that way. I don’t categorize my works like that. I just continue to make music in my own style. Of course, I try to add new elements and ideas over the years, and share everything with my fans through my music and music videos.” How do you feel about fans comparing your new album to older work? “Lots of people like old songs. There’s a certain nostalgic charm to them. You can feel emotions of the past. It’s like traveling back in time. So no matter what new songs are written, they are no match for the old ones. I have this idea that I’m writing songs for the children of today. From generation to generation, whether my old songs are better or the new songs are better, all the songs I write are good.” What was it like to record your son Romeo’s voice for “Pink Ocean”? “I thought it would be fun to have his voice as an intro, so I asked him to talk a little and then edited it. His laugh is so natural.”

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