Tiana Xiao – desTiny [Debut Studio Album]

June 1, 2008 at 12:50 am (Tiana Xiao) (, )

Tiana Xiao’s debut album, entitled desTiny, was released on 05.21.08. Two singles were released before the release of the album: Sweet Obsession and KIZUNA.

The album opens with Sweet Obsession, Tiana’s debut song. The verses sound nice as her vocals work with the music. The hook is particularly grabbing as the instrumentation sounds so mellow and enjoyable and serves as a strong bride into the chorus. The chorus however is pretty boring and she sings in too high of a register to really bring it to life. Overall the track isn’t that strong and definitely shouldn’t have been used as the album’s opening track.

The second single released before the album, KIZUNA, is also the second track. After a few moments of silence, the nice beat comes in and is actually pretty cool. Unfortunately, the vocals are just okay and don’t really hold as much interest as they should so a really strong instrumentation is sort of wasted. The third verse is capturing when she sings almost robotically, which usually would be bad, but works here. Overall the song is nice but nothing spectacular.

The third song is aquarium. The song opens up quickly with vocals that are in the higher range and have a certain etherial feel to them. Her delivery of the lyrics in the first verse really show off a certain slickness that she is good with. The chorus is enjoyable as the vocals progressively become higher and the lyrics are said in a certain way to put emphasis on them. The hook, which is sung in the higher range, is kind of annoying actually. The third verse features a certain rapidity that makes it enjoyable. Following that, she sings in an even higher register. Overall the song is nice but too much of it is sung in a high register and going into a lower tone would have made it stronger.

3, 2, 1… is the fourth track. The song begins with a cool dance beat that begins to feature some interesting sounds and soon the first verse starts. She delivers the lyrics so slickly that it sounds great and it goes perfectly with the instrumentation. The chorus is very enjoyable as it follows the same feeling as the verses while keeping the consistency. The third verse sounds very cool as the instrumentation is put lower so the spotlight is on her voice and slowly it comes back into the picture.  

PARADOX appears as the next song. The song begins with a very lighthearted pop instrumentation that gives a summer vibe. When the first verse starts, her vocals sound nice and work well with the music and the overall happy atmosphere is established from the very beginning. The chorus is kind of weak though and the ending line “it’s a paradox” sounds a bit off. The English third verse sounds really strange and doesn’t really fit with the song. Overall, PARADOX is one of the weaker tracks just for not being particularly interesting.

The sixth song on the album is Happy Tears. Opening with a soft instrumentation, a certain element of sorrow is established from the very beginning. Her vocals during the verses are lower but go higher as she enters the chorus. The transition from the verse into the chorus is quite abrupt and unfortunately the chorus doesn’t stand out as much as anticipated. Her delivery on the verses however is impressive. The third verse really is like a climax as the instrumentation creates a “build-up” and her vocals follow the signal. Overall Happy Tears is actually a nice track and had the chorus been a little stronger, it would have been a great track.

Painting is the B-side to the KIZUNA single and it is also the album’s seventh track. A cool and mysterious instrumentation opens the song up. Her vocals on the first verse sound great as they are sung too high but they work perfectly with the music. The chorus is actually pretty forgettable and finishes off with the line “it’s a painting of my heart” and although it may sound a little cliche, it’s actually very pretty. The overall mysterious vibe set from the music really sparks an intersting track in Painting and its inclusion was a smart move.

Destiny, the title track, is the next song on the album. A beautiful fantasy-like instrumentation opens up the song before the poppy element of the song truly comes in as she sings “destiny” repeatedly in a cute voice. The first verse finds a return to the beautiful instrumentation while still mainting the cuteness element well. Despite the chorus being pretty simplistic, it’s definitely fun and enjoyable. Soon the song changes gear as Tiana begins singing the chorus in a higher octave and surprisingly, it doesn’t sound strained or off with the music. Overall Destiny is a fun pop song with an absolutely gorgeous instrumentation to make one of the album’s best songs.

Echo appears as the ninth track and is one of the most interesting songs. The song opens up with her saying”once upon a time” before a hot dance beat comes in. The vocals are interesting as there is some distortion on the higher sung vocals along with her regular vocals. The chorus is interesting as she holds her notes well and her vocals sound good. The echoing repeat of “echo” sounds really cool and is an interesting feature. The little English phrases definitely spice up the song [once she says “you like?” in a sexy voice]. The instrumentation really works with her vocals and the slight distortions really combine to make an enjoyable track. The song’s ending ties back to the beginning as she says “and we lived happily ever after.” Echo is definitely one of the best songs that the album has to offer and shouldn’t be forgotten.

TEMPTATION, the B-side to her first single, comes as the tenth track. The song opens up with a pop sound covered by cool techno-like beats. She opens up with lyrics in all English before going into the first verse. Her vocals are controlled and work well with the music. The chorus opens with “temptation in your eyes,” which begins a spicy beginning but it doesn’t really come through as strongly as hoped. The third verse shows a little more growth as the instrumentation realizes a small variation that puts emphasis on her vocals but it’s so short, there isn’t really time to enjoy it. Overall, TEMPTATION is a nice uptempo track but it isn’t as strong as it could have been.

The penultimate song on the album is Undo Hurt. The song begins with a uptempo instrumentation before the first verse begins. She sings this song in all English and some of the lines are kind of strange such as when she sings “get lost” because it is somewhat unexpected. Her vocals are nice but there isn’t a particularly strong flow so that she comes off as sounding robotic and awkward at some points. The lyrics are just a bit strange coming from her so the whole song is just strange and isn’t really very enjoyable. The choice to include this on the album wasn’t very smart.

Milestone serves as the final track on the album. The song begins somewhat abruptly with strong vocals over a smooth instrumentation. As the first verse comes in, Tiana uses a lower vocal approach to capture the emotion of the music well but once the chorus comes in, her vocals show her true power as she hits the nots strongly and holds them out well. The pure instrumental section sounds great as the guitar really adds flavor to the more relaxing instrumentation and she finishes that verse by singing “milestone” beautifully.

Album Ranking: B +

Tiana’s debut album features its ups and downs. Songs such as, Sweet Obesession PARADOX are some of the album’s weakest efforts simply because they don’t hold interest as well as the other tracks. Undo Hurt is without a doubt the worst song on the album and it shouldn’t even have been included. Although the album starts off a bit slow, it gains steam with songs such as Destiny and Echo. Tiana really excels at uptempo tracks but can deliver on ballads as well. She definitely has a powerful voice but sometimes she needs to not use it to its full extent to really work with the song and the use of English can definitely be lowered next time around.

1 Comment

  1. alina said,

    hmm… actually, the correct album order is (and i have the cd)
    1. aquarium
    2. Destiny
    3. KIZUNA
    4. 3.2.1.
    5. Painting
    6. Echo
    7. PARADOX
    9. Sweet Obsession
    10. Happy Tears
    11. Undo Hurt
    12. Milestone

    I don’t like Undo Hurt either… it was definitely my least favorite song in this album. She sounded like she’s afraid to sing the song with enough emotion, maybe because the lyrics are so angry and so different from her normal image (lol).

    I think I read in a magazine or somewhere that the recording for this album was done over a span of over half a year, from last summer to this spring, and the recording was divided into three times. I think perhaps some of the songs that are better and less strained were recorded later… and it’s great that she’s showing improvement. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more songs from her, especially because she shows a tremendous amount of potential.

    And on the English…
    When her Japanese improves (as it is improving and will continue to improve), maybe she will use less English, LOL.

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