Thursday, August 17, 2006

Inilah Jac!

Ok , I have to confess. I am biased when it comes to reviewing this CD. That’s because I have been a fan of the first (and most deserving) Malaysian Idol ever since she completely wowed everybody with her rendition of “Gemilang” two years ago. More urgently, I am also a fan of one of the producers in her new CD, Kieran Kuek. A personal friend of mine, I have been privy to some of his earlier works as a producer and songwriter and I have to say that he shows a lot of potential and vision – the shot in the arm that the local music scene needs.

Now, back to the task at hand - "Inilah Jac".

This is Jac’s second studio album after her award winning but overhyped first CD "Gemilang". On first listen, this new CD sounds pleasant enough, and already I have picked my favourite tracks. The production was plush, but without drowning out her strong vocals. There is something for everyone, from the Malay torchsong ballad that’s guaranteed to burn up the radio charts (“Cinta Tiada Akhirnya”) to the interestingly hip “Cepat Cepat” which incidentally is the first radio single from this CD.

Then, there is track 4, “Ceritera Cinta”. As I listen to it, I am reminded of those Disney movie songs that will eventually get played to death on Light And Easy. Its cutesy lyrics borders on being too clichéd and the melody is tad bit too ‘drama’ for my taste. However what saves this song from being another "A Whole New World" knock-off is the way Indonesia’s Roy Farbian’s restrained and soothing tenor complements and even supports Jac’s soaring vocal acrobatics.

Another standout track for me has to be “Star (Old Skool Mix)”. At first I couldn’t quite place where I had heard this song before and it took my sister only a few seconds to figure out that it was the theme to the “One In A Million” talent show. It’s a good composition on its own and with all the publicity surrounding OIAM, this is one track that will go far.

If there is one gripe I have about this CD, it has to be the closing track which is supposed to be an update of the 80’s classic “Superwoman”. In the words of Paul Moss, “If you’re going to do a cover version, you have to make sure that you, one, sing it differently from the original, or two, do it better… preferably both.” In this case, while Jac's performance is competent, the song still sounds the same. I’m sure that as a live performance, it would have been quite impressive but on the CD, that energy doesn’t quite come through and ultimately, she is let down by an unimaginative arrangement.

Other notable tracks include the opener, “Inilah Masanya” - an energetic and joyous celebration; “Kasih Sayang” – a simple Malay song that I can’t decide if it is a remake of an old song or a new song that sounds dated.; and another English track “Jealous” – with its Chinese opera opener and Reefa’s manic rap bit, this is yet another song that makes this CD slightly schizophrenic, but in a good way of course. ☺

Overall, “Inilah Jac” comes across more polished and less rushed than its predecessor. In addition, the three Kieran Kuek tracks give it a welcome urban flavour that hopefully signals more progressive and adventurous work from Jac in the future.


sbanboy said...

I bought it already !!!! :D

sbanboy said...

I managed to see Jac performing life in Ikano on 30 August 2006 and all I can say is that SHE IS AWESOME .... I utterly enjoyed the 3 songs she sang :D