Let’s take a trip to the early 2000s, shall we…
Iain Mew: Nu-metal is apparently alive and well in Taiwan, at least in highlights reel form. Crunchy guitar, verses teased out like Linkin Park, chorus which pulls off the contrasting groan and soar of “Bring Me to Life” without ripping it off too directly. If only the same condensing applied to the song structure as well, since it runs on past the point of any return.
Alfred Soto: Nu-metal of no distinction. Why couldn’t the boy have sung the sweet parts and the girl the harsh ones?
Thomas Inskeep: “Bring Me to Life” for the EDM generation, and that ain’t a compliment.
Moses Kim: Good posturing and emoting from R-chord (whose deft maneuvering between his rapping and singing voices suggests a sort of professionalism, an awareness of what his job is within the song and a full willingness to do it); good snatches of melodic dissonance (those deliciously demented strings in the verses are a highlight, and props to the chorus’ off-kilter chord progression for resisting the temptation to go explosive); good Evanescence-lite performance from Diana; good culmination of all of these elements in a strong final chorus. I gave up on Chinese in my junior year of high school, so the lyrics are out of my scope, but this is a great example of how good song construction can be just as effective and evocative as any powerful couplet might be: language barrier aside, this doesn’t need to pretend.
Maxwell Cavaseno: Nah man, I survived the rap-rock with pop aspirations era. I still rate the Mr. Hahn interludes on the first two Linkin Park LPs, I still consider Evanescence’s Fallen a Carpenters level mastery of craft, I am waiting for Machine Gun Kelly to get his shit together and coerce Hayley Williams into doing the stupid rap-ballad she deserves (and not with corny ass Bobby Ray). This does not meet the standard set decades ago. R-chord is just far too diminutive a vocal presence and Diana here is just too eager to sweep away her host. On a scale of Coal Chamber to Deftones, this song comes in at the Powerman 5000 level. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go hit up Mistress Juliya so we can interview In Flames for FUSE.
Crystal Leww: “Love Doesn’t Need to Pretend” is a Chinese Linkin Park/Evanescence right down to the heavy-handed lyrical content. Diana Wang’s chorus, in particular, is so dramatic, describing herself as “so cute but so bad” and declaring “If you don’t love it, then say goodbye!” It’s fitting; her voice certainly sounds more girly than Amy Lee’s but she still fits in pretty well with this sound. Nu-metal may have fallen out of fashion here in the US, and maybe “Love Doesn’t Need to Pretend” is a blip, but Wang is so laughably good at this that I hope she produces a whole album of this.
Patrick St. Michel: It’s an Evanescence song with the drama turned down just a little bit, but not too low as this song still sells its central melodrama loud and clear. Still, this feels way longer than it actually is.
Josh Langhoff: But Evanescence may need to litigate. Look, we’ve all been in that headspace where coffee cups fall in slow motion and the black goo on the walls threatens to overtake us (the frathouse shower? anyone?), and the cause is always obsession, and the cause of the obsession is usually love, and this pair offers a refreshingly unsentimental solution: “if the tone’s not right then just split up,” reads one translation. Very well.