Donning a superman-esque shirt on the cover of his new album, Singaporean singer Jing Wong (黄靖伦) aims to be OK Man. The sophomore effort from the winner of the Meritorious Newcomer Award at last year’s Singapore Hit Awards is more than just ok.

The 26-year-old’s claim to fame was his appearance on the third season of Taiwanese reality singing competition One Million Star as a contestant. His easygoing attitude and humorous mannerisms made Jing one of the well-liked contenders of the television programme.

After a successful debut with Jing’s Note (伦语录), which focused on his flair for ballads and downtempo numbers, Ok Man presents more genres of music. “Oh Mother” is one such experimental track with a British rock element. The actor doesn’t disappoint with his vocals in this piece and appears tougher than what we recall him to be. It looks set to be a foot-tapping tune with its catchy accompaniment and repetition of the song title.

Another new endeavour for this recording was his performing a rap segment in “Our Show”. Although Jing had attempted some aspect of rap in “Oh My God” from the previous album, this time it’s more substantial. While a little awkward, overall it was alright, although it’s evident that his gift is really in belting slow pieces.

“Transparent Man”, composed by prolific Singaporean musician and producer Lee Wei Song, has a haunting melody and unique background music. The strumming of a pipa (Chinese instrument with 4 strings resembling a lute) and Jing’s voice create separate sonic experiences but yet work to enhance the melancholy of the track. It’s also with this piece that the Chinese singer invented a new singing technique called “transparent vocals” to hit the treble key. A low-pitched airy tone of a bowed string instrument brings the number to a distinctive close.

Also noteworthy is “Salted Fish”, which is an insert track from the Taiwanese drama Momo Love. Jing’s casting in the show is the first major role that he’s landed since his foray into acting. In the production, he plays Yu Yi (余一: literally translated as extra or redundant one), a character that’s slighted by his 4 elder brothers. This upbeat song describes his role and how he intends to bounce back despite the constant bullying. The infectious chorus will also spur you to get back up and move on when life takes you down.

“Heartbreaking Rain” is a track to look out for in this CD packed with outstanding songs. Written by Malaysian singer-songwriter Wu Jiahui (伍家辉), Jing goes back to his roots, singing a ballad and using his signature falsetto. The talented artiste also brings out the forlorn emotion evoked by the lyrics, “可是寂寞有时太清晰心碎雨将我的心一点一点点 散去” (translated as “But sometimes loneliness is too evident, the rain washes out my broken heart bit by bit”). The riveting composition also draws out the heavy-hearted sentiments with pauses between the touching melody.

The crooner also takes on the challenge of performing a duet with Taiwanese boyband Energy’s Edy Hsiao (阿弟) in “Unrivalled”. The contrast of Hsiao’s baritone voice and Jing’s high-pitched vocals is obvious in this number. A mysterious vibe flows through the track from the start with the mellow pulls of the cello’s strings. It’s a refreshing way to discern Jing’s singing in this musical style and to be amazed by the notes that he hits with his almost flawless falsetto.

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Title: OK Man
Artiste: Jing Wong
Language: Mandarin
Record Label: Warner Music
Release Date: Dec 11, 2009

Track Listing
1. 我的妈 (Oh Mother)
2. Ok Man
3. 透明人 (Transparent Man)
4. 我会一直记得 (I’ll Always Remember)
5. 咸鱼 (Salted Fish)
6. 旧伤 (Old Wounds)
7. 我们的 Show (Our Show)
8. 心碎雨 (Heartbreaking Rain)
9. 怎么爱都不累 (Tireless No Matter How You Love)
10. 敌不过 (Unrivalled)