Jay Chou: Greatest Works of Art is Star’s most ambitious project

Jay Chou likes to think big. His latest music release, Greatest Works of Art, isn’t just the mando-pop king’s first full-length album after a six-year hiatus. The lavish, international production of the album’s eponymous first single and accompanying music video features the “cameos” of some of the biggest names in art history.

It prepares Chou well for his next creative chapter: an art film.

“This music video has received a lot of good feedback, including from the French Tourist Office, so I will consider preparing a film project that tells a story revolving around an artist. I could direct, too,” Chou told Variety. Despite appearing as Kato in Hollywood films like The Green Hornet, superhero blockbusters no longer have any appeal.

“If I were making a film, I would create my own art film style. Of course, the commercial market must also be considered,” he said.

The newfound ambition of the mega pop star – also a music composer, producer, actor, and film and music video director – shouldn’t come as a surprise. Chou demonstrated his potential as a storyteller and film director with his acclaimed 2007 debut Secret, and most recently curated a contemporary art auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.

The 12-track Mandarin album “Greatest Works of Art” has been a hit since its release in mid-July. It sold 5 million copies in its first week in China, beating Adele’s “25” sales record, which sold 3.38 million copies in the US in 2015.

The single’s music video has amassed more than 17 million views on YouTube in three weeks, while the second single, “Still Wandering,” racked up a total of more than 9.8 million views in two weeks. The latest single “You Are The Firework I Missed” has racked up nearly 3.2 million views just two days after its release on July 27th. According to media forecasts, the album’s sales could challenge the annual sales record of 10 million copies and put it on track to become the world’s best-selling album this year.

The production of this new album also demonstrates Chou’s ambition to continue his creative career on the global stage. Chou sings in Mandarin in his signature soulful R&B groove that often incorporates classical music, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, contemporary pop and Chinese sensibilities, as has been his style since 2000’s sensational debut album Jay. But the production of the new album and its videos involved more international collaboration. Some were shot in the US

Chou has teamed up with internationally acclaimed Chinese pianist Lang Lang and award-winning Taiwanese-American violinist Ray Chen for the theme song “Greatest Works of Art,” which aims to pay tribute to some of the most important artists in history. Chen plays the violin solo composed by Chou. “I hope to make classical listeners feel like pop and classical can be a perfect combination,” said the star.

“When I first heard about this piece, I found it really interesting because it combines elements of classical music with the pop world,” Chen said in a video interview. “It’s a fun project to be a part of.”

Chou directed the Greatest Works of Art time travel music video, which is essentially a short film with a full storyline and may have given Chou the confidence to now apply for a feature film about art.

Filmed in Paris at the Samaritaine department store, the mando-pop king disguises himself as a security guard to sneak into the historic building and play a magic piano that has taken him and his accomplices from the present to the French capital 1920s displaced. There he meets some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, including the surrealists Salvador Dalí and René Magritte, Claude Monet, the Sino-French painter Sanyu and the Chinese poet Xu Zhimo.

In Chou’s imagination, these artists were enchanted by his magic tricks and inspired to create the classic works that have left their mark on art history – from Dali’s melting clocks in The Persistence of Memory (1931) to Magritte’s The Son of Man ( 1964) and Monet’s water lily paintings.

“In these wild times, as the king of music, I don’t need a picture frame,” he sings. “My sheet music is the future of art.” He also encounters a mysterious pianist, played by Lang, who challenges Chou in a musical battle.

The music video’s storyline involves extensive research into the history of art, artists, Paris and magic, the star noted. He also fills in the gaps in the story with pieces of his own imagination and invents connections between the artists. “You can imagine if the literati and artists got together at that time, how would they be and draw something for each other?” he asked.

Before he embeds himself in the film, Chou is ready to take his music to the streets as the post-pandemic world opens up. He will take his Carnival World Tour to Singapore in December, followed by a show in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which has been rescheduled to January 2023 due to COVID delays.

https://variety.com/2022/music/artists/jay-chou-album-greatest-works-of-art-1235330408/ Jay Chou: Greatest Works of Art is Star’s most ambitious project

Charles Jones

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