No surprises when Jay Chou's (周杰伦, pinyin: Zhōu Jiélún) new album The Era (跨时代, pinyin: Kuà shí dài) went immediately to the number one position on the Taiwan charts. The album has been over 18 months in the making, with music having to share time with Jay Chou's other entertainment ventures like acting, directing and producing. The built-up anticipation amongst his legion of fans meant the album had more than 20 percent of all record sales in Taiwan for the week 14 to 20 May - especially impressive considering the album was only released on the 18th.
The Era is Jay Chou's tenth studio album in a career that began back in the late nineties. He actually began writing songs for others, before releasing his debut album, Jay, in 2000. Since then he has sold over 25 million records and won countless awards (Wikipedia estimates it's around 350), including four times Best Selling Chinese Artist at the World Music Awards.
As is characteristic of Jay's work, The Era mixes up the styles: pop, rap, blues and ballads, electronic rock, he even sings a bit of Peking Opera. The album opens with the title track, which has also been getting a lot of airplay on the music shows with its costly music video. It ends with the single, Superman Can't Fly (超人不会飞), and also includes the controversial Hip-Hop Stewardess (嘻哈空姐) which managed to get banned on the mainland for its risque lyrics. The Urban Wire website has a proper review of the album.