Show You Colour
This long-mooted return is the next evolution for the man who couldn't care less about his godfatherly status.
Rather than looking back, he's looking ahead. 'Lao Cui' hasn't stopped evolving, much to the chagrin of his older fans screaming for his early hits.
Here, he lands solidly in electronic territory, proving himself an adept hand in the producer's chair.
Although fans of the old Cui Jian could be disappointed, there are some moments of brilliance here, especially the opening track, featuring a chant from the eponymous boatman over electro tweaking verging on dub a la Wang Lei (the 'Cui Jian of the South'). Mr Red will please his oldest fans with its old-school rock sound and staples of sax riffs and traditional Chinese flute.
But, overall, this is a confused set: ballads, rock songs, drum'n'bass, electro-rock ... Cui seems to be all over the map. His samples are rarely used in moderation, and although that makes for a multi-layered piece, the listener gets slightly overwhelmed by it all. A long-time fan of hip-hop, his rapping style has never been smooth - he's the first to admit it - but he's done nothing to soften it up.
He remains at the height of his linguistic powers, revisiting a Deng Lijun classic (Little Town Story), reinterpreting Lu Xun (Mr Red) and reinventing Cultural Revolution slogans (Blue Bone).
You wouldn't know this was made by 'The Godfather', because Cui is still ahead of the game.