183 Club’s First Album

Old album, but for sentiment’s sake, I’m digging it out and reviewing it anyway. First thing I want to say is: I regretted not getting the other version. ‘Cause I got the simple version so I could take advantage of a certain deal. I swear it was a bad idea. Free stuff isn’t all that. So yes, I wished I had gotten the other version where I could have the MVs as well. But I guess what has passed already passed. Can’t whine about it anymore. Or at least it wouldn’t amount to anything anyway. Maybe except to remind myself to never go for free stuff in the future.

So, moving on to the actual album. Quite a good deal. ‘Cause it was their first album at that time, it was interesting in many ways. Because it sort of veered away from the overly pop theme that many fans were used to while listening to different soundtracks they participated in. However, the pop was still present. It was just taking on a different form.

1. Chess For 2 (兩個人的西洋棋). Strong, powerful song for the opening.

2. One Umbrella (一把傘). The epic song that punned on their band’s name. So sad yet so touching at the same time. Love Jacky and Ehlo’s voices in here. Then the others accompanying. Beautiful ballad.

3. Deceive (欺騙). ‘Til this day, I still don’t get this song. Not regarding the language either. But the way it was written, lol. But still a nice song to listen to.

4. Conquer The Whole World (為你征服全世界). This song surprisingly brings back a lot of memories. Or maybe because the MV had indicated of different appearances and/or events they attended at one point and with fan’s support. Those were the days, right?

5. Anniversary (紀念日). Again, love Jacky and Ehlo’s singing in this one. So sentimental also.

6. Lemon Dream (夢裡). This song made me soooo sleepy. LOL! I swear. I remember it being on my playlist for “sleeping aid” ages back, lol. I guess it still is. I’m not saying it’s not a nice song. But I guess it served its purpose with being a dreamy song, lol.

7. I’m So Hot. Fun yet hilariously silly in many ways as well, lol.

8. Love On Sale (愛情特賣). I used to not like this song as much and also felt annoyed that there was talking in the song, etc. However, when I ended up liking Xiao Qiao, I enjoyed those parts more and felt like it was a nice contribution to the song.

9. Once Again (再一遍). I didn’t come to appreciate this song until later. But it’s a really nice, touching song. Not to mention this song was written by Jacky’s brother, James. (James joked at one point that he had written this song for money, lol.)

10. Hero. This song used to be one of my favorite songs when I listened to the album in the past. I think it still is until this day.

Doing this review had brought back lots of memories. And in a way, it made me feel kind of soapy, lol.

*All images were scanned by DTLCT.

Chess For 2

I promised a post on bonds from last time, right? So here goes.

First off, how close are they really? They’ve known each other for a total of 6-7 years now since their debut in 2002-03 as 183 Yu Le Bu, which was later shortened to 183 Club. (Thank you so much for that–whoever thought of it since it sounds weird before.) They sang for others’ dramas’ soundtracks at first. They have been in three dramas together–Heaven’s Wedding Gown (minus Johnny and Sam), Prince Turned Into Frog, and The Magicians of Love (minus Johnny)–and also brought out soundtracks for those dramas. They finally released their first album in 2006. (There were rumors of the second album coming out but nothing was solid until everything went quiet again.)

Besides their professional career, who actually gets along with whom more? Who’s actually the odd man out? Once in an interview, they were asked to identify their place if they were in the same family. Johnny said that he would be the father figure since he was their leader. Jacky was chosen to be the arrogant older brother while Ming Dao was the whiny little brother. Ehlo was said to be the daughter or the mother. Sam volunteered himself to be their dog. It did show that they knew each other very well to point out different roles that each one would play in a family. (Something actually worked out regarding having to live together for a while when the band first formed.)

From the same interview, they were asked to choose one person they wanted to be with if they were stuck on a desert island. Ehlo immediately chose Ming Dao because of Ming Dao’s vast knowledge while doing the show King of Adventures so that would be an advantage to their survival. (To which Ming Dao proudly admitted of his usefulness.) Jacky chose Sam, which caused Sam to be shocked by the choice. Jacky quickly clarified that if he was going to die anyway, he would want to die in happiness (aka having Sam there to cheer him up). Someone was morbid all right. Sam, of course, chose Johnny–whom he claimed brings security to him. Who did Ming Dao pick then? He didn’t. Ming Dao is probably too knowledgeable already and wouldn’t need anyone to survive (and probably would be able to entertain himself with his own voice or talk the ears off whatever living thing is within range).

Talking about Ming Dao, he is known as the most annoying with not letting things drop at times. (Though the guys might be joking about it more than saying it in a mean way.) The other guys recounted once when they went to this restaurant to eat and the guys ordered their dishes. However, Ming Dao’s order was mixed up. He kept talking on and on about it for several days. Even the other guys took turns mimicking him telling them how can the two items be mixed up since it was so different. Jacky, being the most straightforward among them all, told Ming Dao that he did not want to hear about it anymore. Sam, on the other hand, wanted to be polite so he listened to Ming Dao or actually seemed like he listened but ended up practicing his dance steps in his head at the same time.

Another thing with being in the same band is they know their strengths and weaknesses, therefore, knowing how to take advantage of it for the best with their singing as well as dancing to complement one another during performances. For example, everyone in the group knows that Jacky’s the most knowledgeable about music so they would go to him for help or advice in those circumstances. With general decisions, Johnny would be the one leading. The others all admit that Ming Dao and Johnny can’t dance–or usually are the ones having trouble learning the steps. (They eventually will get it but it takes them longer to catch on.) This is also the reason why Jacky, Ehlo, and Sam are the ones in front when they perform songs that required dancing–whether at live performances or in MVs. I think I already mentioned this in one of the other posts.

It’s very hard at times to identify who is closer to whom. However, it is fair to say that each of them does have a special bond with one another–on a different level.

I once stumbled upon a hilarious story about these two when they first moved into dorms together (at the formation of 183 Club). Everyone was a bit scared of Jacky because of his tough-looking exterior. Ehlo was the one who had to share a room with Jacky. (It could have been a bunk bed since I don’t really remember the exact details of that.) Ehlo was scared of Jacky so he let Jacky choose first which bed Jacky wanted. However, Jacky, being his polite self, asked Ehlo to choose first. That was a bit funny all right. Later when the group got to know each other more, the others understand Jacky and realized that he was not as threatening as his presence let on.

Jacky and Ehlo worked together with the rest of the band members very well. However, since they were first and second lead singers of the band, they had to work a lot with each other for singing the solo parts and complementing each other in different songs. They managed to complement each other very well in various songs, such as the unforgettable song “Affective Line” from The Magicians of Love and also its main theme song “Perfect Lover.” Other hits of their collaboration contained “One Umbrella”, “Anniversary“,  “Conquer The Whole World“, “Once Again“, and “Hero“–which were all from their first album.

Jacky once said about Ehlo that Ehlo’s so nice that he could be easily taken advantage of by others.

Although Jacky seemed hard to control at times, however, he admitted his respect for Johnny because of Johnny’s patience with all of them.

There was one time when they were having a concert and Jacky was upset because of a fan’s reaction. (Possibly because of the arrangement from the organizers that caused fans’ different reactions also, not totally any parties’ fault.) Johnny was actually the one who cheered Jacky up.

Another incident where Johnny was very supportive of Jacky was during their first album’s concert, Jacky was so touched that his father was there to see him performed that he sort of broke down after saying words of gratitude. Johnny immediately walked over to Jacky and comforted him by putting a hand around his shoulders. (Sam also reached over to grab a hold of Jacky’s hand to show some support as well.)

I once read that Jacky and Sam knew each other the longest–even the days before 183 Club but I could not be totally sure since I could not find that article again or remember accurately. There are some signs of their continued friendship after Jacky left 183 Club (and J-Star), like how Sam was so sad when Jacky left. Not to mention that the others (Ehlo, Johnny, and Ming Dao) told the interviewers and/or fans not to ask about Jacky anymore during their concert in Vietnam (because it would make Sam sad again). When Sam opened his bakery, he did invite Jacky (as well as other friends) to attend the opening and continued to interact with Jacky while they were on The Million Star (百萬大歌星) at the beginning of this year.

One thing that Sam would admit about Jacky was that Jacky tends to be overly excited at times, causing the others needing to step in and control him since he would say or behave in ways that are inappropriate for airing. (Those who tune in to recent shows would know that Jacky is better at controlling himself now.) Another thing that Sam pointed out was Jacky’s overconfidence. (That was kind of obvious without Sam pointing it out since we could all see Jacky’s confidence vibe every time he appeared.)

There was another incident during their appearance where they were on Zong Yi Da Ge Da (綜藝大哥大) that showed their closeness. When they were participating in the game “passing on the dance steps,” they took turns being the first person to pass it on to the rest of the members since the other guys had to have their backs turned when the dance instructor taught the first person. When it was Sam’s turn to be the first person, one of the hosts actually called out Johnny’s name to follow suit, however, Sam–being Sam–immediately grabbed hold of Jacky’s hand and pulled him into the spotlight instead.

Interestingly, it was also in that same show that Jacky voiced out his reaction when he realized Ming Dao was the second person in passing the steps to them in the first round–which Ehlo was leading. Jacky’s reaction was actually ‘Wan le’ (完了), knowing too well of Ming Dao’s abilities. Even after Ming Dao finished with the steps and it was his turn to pass it on to Sam, Jacky was still unsure of the steps being accurate or not. And sadly, Jacky was right, it was Ming Dao who messed up on that one.

Jacky and Ming Dao are both spoiled by their mothers so it could be imagined how they would behave sometimes or get along with one another. Jacky said that Ming Dao once stepped on his shoes and he did not talk to Ming Dao for a full day. It was during the time when Ming Dao did not know of Jacky’s thing with shoes yet. That was not all since they would get along fairly well at times too, especially that one time when Ming Dao was having stage fright during one of their live performances and Jacky was there to comfort Ming Dao the whole while the concert was carrying on. Jacky was also the one who taught Ming Dao some Cantonese phrases so Ming Dao could say it to the audience and/or fans that one time they were in Hong Kong. Considering how they still keep in contact with each other and how Ming Dao was there for the opening of Jacky’s bar, Pause, actually proves some support.

Ming Dao disclosed during one of the interviews that Johnny’s a person who’s a stickler for details. He would rule out all possibilities of a question or how best to ask them. Moreover, he would make sure they have everything in place–with preparations of their performances or appearances. However, Ming Dao did say that Johnny’s very patient and tolerant of their behaviors since they, themselves, could not stand each other half of the time either.

If you put Ming Dao and Sam in the same room, the rest of the members will never get to speak up. Okay, maybe Jacky and Johnny could get some words in, but don’t expect Ehlo to speak up anytime soon since he could not get a word in unless the host specifically addresses him. Yes, Ming Dao and Sam are the most talkative among the group, especially Sam. Anyway, they get along just fine. However, during the times when their fame rose after Prince Turned Into Frog and then The Magicians of Love, there were rumors flying around, which was typical, that they were fighting over who was the best.

What both guys have in common is that they’re overly friendly at times and have the habit of putting their hands around other members when talking or other similar gestures. Jacky, Ehlo, and Johnny actually demonstrated what would be like with Ming Dao and Sam talking. The three guys even mimicked the habits and/or typical gestures of Ming Dao and Sam.

So after all that rant, who is actually the odd one out? Since they all get along, it’s hard to tell. But it could be said that out of all the guys, Ming Dao’s the one that could be out. This is because when they have free time or want to do some activity together, the other guys would end up trying to come up with an activity that does not involve spending time outside.

Long article so I’ll stop here and probably come back to discuss something else next time.

*Sources (of story recounts): Teens Magazine (Sept. 2006 Issue), various interviews, talk shows, and game shows

*Special thanks to Vanadia for some stories also

NOTE: Although I tried my best with some recounts of events but might not be the most accurate due to memory failure or various sources that might have gotten lost. Please feel free to correct me and sort everything out since I do not want to confuse fans with different events regarding 183 Club, especially those that happened before and in the early days of the band forming.

*All images were captured or scanned by DTLCT