Jay Chou’s Ju Hua Tai

When I lived in Taiwan locals would tell me about this hugely popular and talented RnB artist who wrote his own music and songs for others. In fact he had a reputation as a “pop genius”, but I wasn’t really into the Taiwanese “plastic” pop scene at the time, preferring great rock songwriters like Wubai and underground bands like The Chairman. It wasn’t until years after I left Taiwan, and I was in Sydney’s Chinatown that I decided to buy a CD from Jay Chou, and I really got into it. He is a great songwriter, though he often teams up with Vincent Fang for the lyrics (Chinese surname, no reference to sharp teeth)

One song I greatly admire is called “Ju Hua Tai” (Chrysanthemum Terrace) and I really admired the way it’s mixed. Firstly, it has great contrast between the rich chorus with strings and traditional Chinese instruments providing counter melodies while the verse is stripped bare to acoustic guitar and vocals. And it has just a great, sweet, balanced melody that makes you want to pick up an acoustic and learn it yourself. I also love the way it’s introduced with an instrumental chorus, then the first verse comes in with a kind of intimacy.


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