Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kelvin Kwan - "Occupation" New + Best Selection Album Review

Kelvin Kwan returns with six new songs on his first "new and best selection" album, his first release after 2010's comeback "Here I Am". These six songs aren't only all solid and great listens, but represents Kelvin's maturation into a true artist with creativity, direction, and experimental nature.

A more in-depth look...

The album opens with "Occupation/佔領", featuring rapper MastaMic. To sum it up, "Occupation" is a fantastic track that combines hard rock and rap. The theme is refreshing, as it is the first time Kelvin has dealt with political themes in his music (in this case, last year's Occupy Wall Street). It is a song with meaning as well as musical style.  Read my more detailed song review for it here.

"People of My Generation/我這一代人"
stays consistent with the hard rock driven sound and political theme of "Occupation". However, the feel is very different. It boosts a whole new level of intensity. His vocals and the music are very powerful and full of angst. It ends with a slow piano closing filled with sadness. This amount of angst is something I rarely see in mainstream Cantonese music, making it an outstanding song. Listening to it makes me feel full of conflicted emotion. It is such a raw song that gives me chills.

The (unofficial) music video is simple yet so powerful, and it was a pleasant surprise to see that Kelvin directed it himself. It is great to see he is getting so involved in his music!

"Don't Hide/別再躲" takes a much more relaxed feel and tone. However, it is yet another powerful and memorable song. It starts off with a laid back feel with just Kelvin's vocals and the simple strumming of an acoustic guitar. Gradually, it works up and becomes a great blend of electric guitar and drums. The sound is amazing and there is so much emotion in his voice.

"Me or What/我還是什麼" is a mid-tempo ballad also full of emotion. The song, like "Don't Ask" also makes great use of drums and the electric guitar as well as the piano, especially at its climax. The heartfelt ballad is something very familiar to the Cantopop music industry, but it's use of instruments and subtle rock influence makes it stand out.  On the other hand, the music video does not do its job of complimenting the song at all.

"Violations/情事" is an upbeat and uplifting song that boosts a feeling of sweetness and even slight melancholy. It's hard to describe. Perhaps it's because it's used as the theme song of his currently airing ATV sitcom "Heart's Beat for Love" (about a group of young friend's love lives and careers), but it makes me reminiscence about good times. Something about it is motivating, whether it's his vocals or the superb instrumental. It even slightly reminds me of a Zac Kao song, who ironically is his costar in the sitcom.

"Back Wave/回頭是浪" is the last track on the new part of his album (CD1), as well as the only Mandarin one. It serves as a proper closing as the song is soothing and calming. The orchestra featured is beautiful as well. A very lovely song that is a relaxing listen.

Following the 6 new tracks on the first CD are 12 of Kelvin's "best tracks" on the second CD. The selection of songs is good as it is a mixture of his hit singles like his duet "Distress Everywhere/四面楚歌" with Kay Tse as well as notable non-single tracks like the R&B and hip hop influenced "Avalo Kites/千手觀音".


"Occupation" is a superb compilation of his great music of the past and his great music of today. The album marks the continued development of the new and improved Kelvin, as a man and as a musician. He and his music has matured so much since his comeback.

His experimentation here with different musical styles isn't extraordinary or history making by any means, but comes with great effort and execution. Some of the musical styles exhibited and incorporated here are not something that isn't often seen in Cantonese music in general, but is more uncommon in mainstream Cantopop. With his music, he is helping broaden the scope of mainstream Cantopop.

There is notably a lot more creativity and direction in the six new songs than in Kelvin's past material. Kelvin is constantly growing as an artist, especially with his increased participation in taking part in making the music himself. I look forward to seeing what else he has in store theirs year. In the meantime, his new music is constantly on repeat on my iPod.

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Author's Note: I have been really into Kelvin's music lately, and as a result feel the want to post about him a lot.  This is my second Kelvin post this week, and I still have a two part spotlight (part 1: biography and artist critique, part 2: song recommendations/reviews) lined up.  This gives me an outlet to give my thoughts on him and his music, as I know I've been excessively praising and spamming poor Niki about it.  After this, I will also be blogging about a variety of things again.  Until then, I hope everyone enjoys my Kelvin posts.


  1. Great review Iris! ^_^ 回頭是浪 is apparently the sub theme for the sitcom now~ So confusing because they said before this song was supposed to be the themesong? Haha but anyway I do like this song a lot!! I'm so glad the CD version is out now, I don't have to listen to the live version anymore haha.

    If I remember correctly, 別再躲 was one of the first songs they released before the album was out .. I think it was last year? XD Then it was 回頭是浪, "Occupation" so on~ Haha

    The album is great and I'm still waiting for the album to be on iTunes (looks like they are quick uploading the newest albums) but I don't know what's taking them so long T_T. Meanwhile I am listening to the songs online lol. I wish they put "Big Cry Baby" in the second CD. I mean, that song was a HIT! And it was a duet with Alan Tam!! I luv that song lol.

    I wonder when they'll release 我這一代人 mv?

    I enjoy reading your Kelvin posts haha ..

  2. Thanks sugar! It seems ATV is not very good at organizing their series then, lol. I can't even get the English title of it straight. I like the song as well, but 情事 is definitely more fitting as the theme. :) Especially considering 回頭是浪 is in Mandarin.

    Yeah, 別再躲 was released as a single last year I believe.

    I'm surprised they didn't put that song on the album considering it was such a hit and featured Alan Tam. Do you know if they are on good terms now? I know Alan was very disappointed with him following his arrest.

    Hopefully soon. :) I'm already getting annoyed waiting for G.E.M.'s MV for "Someday I'll Fly" to release, grr. Been meaning to write a song review for that too, but want to wait for the MV, which is taking forever to come out.

    Thanks! There's another Kelvin post coming soon. :)

    1. There's another post coming soon?! Hahahah can't wait!!! And omg I know! I asked my friend who is a fan of Kelvin too if it is Heart Beats For Love or Heart's Beat For Love OR Heart Beat's For Love?! Lol so confusing!! Yeah I was wondering why it was in mandarin too ._.

      I don't know for sure but it seems like them two are on good terms now .. Alan invited Kelvin as a guest to his concert in the year of his comeback which was 2010 and they sang a song together and the song was about making mistakes (similar to Kelvin's situation) but being able to turn over a new leaf now. I am really bad at explaining it looks like Alan Tam was supporting his comeback!! They chat to each other a lot on weibo too so I think they are! ^_^

      And if I remember correctly Kelvin invited Alan Tam onto his Nowtv cooking show as a guest recently (have you heard about the show? It's quite funny.. There's a new ep and Kelvin invited MR. members as the guests!).

      Lol I can't even be bothered to check iTunes now because I know I'll be disappointed >_< still waiting .. But at least their songs are on iTunes .. Some HK singers aren't on iTunes .. Actually A LOT aren't .. Which is sad~

    2. Haha, yes, another Kelvin post coming soon. I'm doing an artist spotlight on him. My spotlights have been getting pretty long lately though, so for this one I might split it into two, as I said in my author's note above. That'll probably wrap up the Kelvin related posts for now tho. :) I may also write a thoughts post on Heart's Beat for Love.

      Yeah, they probably are on good terms now then, haha.

      Does Kelvin host the cooking show? I love how he's good friends with so many artists. He's friends with Mr., Kay Tse, and one of my other favorites, Eric Suen. :)

      Sadly, yes, a lot of artists aren't on iTunes, if not most.

    3. Lol, Iris I just loaded Youtube and it looks like there's another Someday I'll Fy teaser uploaded by G.E.M.

      Oh I see! That's exciting!! Are you gonna review all his songs? o.O Or just a couple that you like? Hahaha.

      How many eps have you seen of Heart Beats For Love? Hahaha it's a light hearted series isn't it? Yes, he does host the show!! In chinese it is 關人煮事. MR.'s episode is on Youtube if you wanna watch! The others eps are harder to find though ._.

      Hahaha, yeah you're right and there's Hacken Lee and Hins Cheung : ) The first episode of the cooking show Hins was the guest ^_^ I'm gonna stop spamming you now!!! XD