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David Tao -- Too Beautiful
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Taiwan singer Tao Zhe, or David Tao, is widely considered one of China's most talented musicians. So anticipation was running high when he released his fifth album Too beautiful two months ago. But his latest release takes a different tack to all his previous works, leaving his fans sharply divided. Some claim Too Beautiful contains some of David's best love ballads, others say it's bland and unimpressive. But you can form your own opinion after sampling some of his tracks.

Too Beautiful
is much softer and more sentimental than David Tao's previous albums, especially the dark, rock sound featured in Black Tangerine and 2005's The Great Leap.

There's much more room for creative and romantic lyrics to shine through on the new album, but many fans have derided it for mainly consisting of pop music. They say it lacks musical variety and falls short of the quality that led many to hail David Tao as the godfather of Chinese R&B.

Faced with such criticism, David Tao says his work has become softer as he's entered another stage of musical composition. He also believes Too Beautiful has the most unified style of all his albums.

Can't Get You Out of My Mind is a remake of the classic oldie with the same name. David Tao puts a lot of hip hop and R&B into the mix, turning it into a fresh tune a thousand miles removed from the old versions. He delivers his vocals well and the original slow melody blends well with the new mix.

The title track Too Beautiful is a slow ballad with a typical canto-pop melody. This is Tao's specialty and he pulls it off brilliantly. The violin intro, piano and especially the chorus make it very catchy.

Forever is one of the best slow ballads on the album. The slow, waltzy, yet blues-like beat and piano style is sublime. Simple and no frills, this song is one of the less complicated on the album. It allows David Tao to display his vocal range, which can be both very powerful and emotional. The song conveys the sorrow and anger felt by someone who's loved and lost.

Overall, Too beautiful still represents David Tao's style of love ballads, though maybe it lacks some of the inspiration and excitement of his previous releases.

Hong Kong pop queen Jolin Tsai joined David for Marry Me Today, the only duet on the album. The melody's sweet, quiet in a way that suits the content, and both singers sing their parts perfectly, though the lyrics are a little clichéd.

( November 29, 2006)

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