Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kelvin Kwan and Hins Cheung Perform "四面楚歌/Distress Everywhere" on RTHK's "Music on the Move"

On May 19th, HK singers Kelvin Kwan and Hins Cheung appeared on RTHK's musical variety show "Music on the Move".  The two were interviewed, and performed their latest singles (Hin's "
壯舉/Strong Move" and Kelvins "我這一代人/People of My Generation".  Most notably, they sang hit single "四面楚歌/Distress Everywhere" for the first time together.  The song was originally recorded by Kelvin and Cantopop princess Kay Tse in 2008, and written by Hins.

Author's Note: Awesome performance by Kelvin and Hins!  Although I think this song will always be best sung with Kay's serene vocals, it was a fun and energetic performance.  Their voices blended well.  Hin's vocals were superb, and pulled off Kay's verses with a deep register.  It's also always a treat to hear Kelvin rap!  The song also sounded great with a live band.  One of my favorite Cantopop songs!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Staff Song Review: Sistar's "Alone"

K-Pop girl groups' images are usually categorized as girly like Girl's Generation, sexy like Brown Eyed Girls, or edgy and empowering like Miss A.  In Sistar's latest comeback, the talented girls don an image that is more rarely seen: Classy.

Iris: "Alone" has a very distinct and dream-like sound, making it probably the most unique single released by a girl group this year.  The production on it is extremely sleek, stylish, and quite sultry.  Despite being neither a fast song or a ballad, "Alone" manages to be a very intriguing song.  I didn't love the song at first, but it didn't take long for it to grow on me.  It embodies a lot of femininity and style.

As usual, the MV for the song is very easy on the eyes and a great visual.  The girls look gorgeous, as do the shots of Las Vegas.  Whoever decided to shoot the MV in Las Vegas, you were right on.  The city definitely fits the image "Alone" is going for.
Sistar shows in their latest comeback that they are far from being a bunch of rookies anymore.  They have their own unique style, and they own it.  "Alone" may take some time to grow on you, but one can not deny the fantastic musical production on it.

Niki: Sistar has really managed to impress me during their comeback this time. I was used to their upbeat pop sound but was pleasantly surprised when I first saw "Alone". At first, I wasn't too fond of the song, but after the second listen I found myself listening to it again and again.

While I loved the overall feel of the MV, but there was one thing that bugged me, the club scenes. I thought gave it the appropriate nostalgic feel with Sistar lounging alone in the club. However, it was rather unrealistic that they would have the club to themselves, especially if it was a club in L.A. But it is an MV so whether it's realistic or not isn't such an important factor, besides people know that you can't go to a club and lie on the dance floor (without getting trampled anyways) when you're heartbroken ;D.

The dance for the song was simple and fit very well with the image. It was different from Sistar's usual strong dances and flaunted Sisitar's soft feminine side without hiding their seductiveness. What I really loved was the girl's style and the color scheme. The use of blue and purple lighting gave the MV a sorrowful feeling while the red reflected Sistar's strong personalities. Sistar looked fantastic in the long sparkling dresses (which is another rare thing to see in K-pop), simple hairstyles, and bold makeup.

Overall, "Alone" is a well composed and produced song that matches well with Sisitar's strong vocals and style. The rarely seen sultry and classy image has been a refreshing change for Sistar; it really shows how much they have matured in their music.

Author's Note (Iris): Sorry this song review didn't get posted until a month after the song's release!  Glad we managed to get it in before the goodbye stage though.  It's been sitting in our drafts since....since the song first released.  We've been a little busy here, and a bit lazy to get started on posts.

Author's note (Niki): Yea, sorry guys, I was supposed to start this post but kept delaying it.  I also feel really bad because I always disappear after a while. Hopefully during the summer I'll write more.

Song Review: Fiona Sit's "Better Me"

Fiona Sit continues to impress and improve with her latest single "Better Me".  It is her best work yet, and will blow you away.  "Better Me" is a meaningful and touching song executed beautifully.  

Earlier, Fiona revealed she had suffered from depression and attempted to commit suicide.  I was shocked to hear that behind her sweet and seemingly upbeat and happy go lucky face and personality laid someone so unhappy and tormented.  Thankfully, she has gone past that dark stage in life and found happiness again, which is shown in the song.
The lyrics of the song are simple yet meaningful.  They tell of how a special someone makes her a better person, and as a result, a happier one.  The English lyrics are incorporated into the song seamlessly and sweetly.  I especially love the worlds "Laugh a little more/Love myself a little more".  The words state how she has learned to cherish her life and accept herself.  

I was pleasantly surprised at the MV.  It has an extremely simple concept, but its simplicity is what makes it beautiful.  A busy or exciting video would've ruined its beauty.  The MV shows two different Fiona's, one who is heartily singing along to the song, and one who is next to her showing expressions of sadness and depression.  By the bridge, she is shown coming to accept herself and starts singing along as well.  It is raw and very emotional.  It makes the song even more memorable, leaving an impact on you.  Fiona looked stunning, and did a good job of emoting.

"Better Me" is a representation of how far Fiona has come and how she's come to embrace what she has and accept herself.  It is such a meaningful and beautiful song, and I love it to pieces.   I can't wait to see her perform this live!  One of my favorite songs of 2012.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Song Review: G.E.M.'s "What Have U Done"

Like a chameleon, G.E.M. completely transforms her image and style to follow up her inspiring smash hit single "Someday I'll Fly"!

G.E.M. finally experiments with the rock sound I've been waiting for her to try.  With her powerhouse vocals and energy, she pulls it off fantastically.  The song "What Have U Done" shows the edgy, rebellious, and diva like side of her.

The lyrics seem to talk about people in general, and how some people think they're better than others, when they're really not.  With my developing knowledge of Cantonese, I was able to catch the lines "Some think that when they put on heels, they will be taller/higher than others". 

In the MV, G.E.M. seems to channel Lady Gaga with the unconventional and over the top costumes.  I can't say I like the MV, and it is a bit too much, but surprisingly didn't make me cringe or hate it.  I just don't love it, and the image is a bit too far off from G.E.M.  On a side note...what is up with G.E.M. and never spelling out the word "You" in her singles?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Song Review - Dear Jane's "Yellow Fever"

Cantonese rock/punk band Dear Jane continues their growing success with "Yellow Fever", their most successful single yet.

"Yellow Fever" consists of ridiculously catchy lyrics and familiar pop elements, while combining it with their signature rock and punk sound.  Making a surprise appearance is even a wicked dub step breakdown.  The theme and music video of the song is quite whimsical, making it more quirky.  As usual, Dear Jane doesn't disappoint by retaining their heavier rock style.  The song is fun, catchy, and infectious while being edgy and rebellious sounding.  "Yellow Fever" manages to satisfy fans of rock and the band itself, while possibly introducing themselves to listeners of more mainstream music.

The more I listen to their music, the more Dear Jane grows on me.  With talent and the support of a great label like Warner, I definitely see them becoming more and more successful.  I'm psyched that the song has reached #1 on the 903 and Metroinfo charts!  It makes me very happy that a rock band is gaining significant mainstream and commercial success in Hong Kong.  Congratulations guys! This means a lot for the return of rock and bands to the Hong Kong music industry!

Dear Jane, keep being the awesome rockers you are!

Song Review: Van Ness Wu & 2PM's Junho's "Undefeated/不敗"

The worlds of C-Pop and K-Pop collide!  Real life friends Taiwanese King Van Ness Wu and K-Pop boy band 2PM's Junho have come together to make a great collaboration and song.

"Undefeated" is a upbeat and fresh track with very sweet and positive lyrics.  The song says that people will get hurt in love, but that doesn't mean one should give up on it.  It opens with a gentle piano before flowing into a techno influenced beat.  I love how while it contains techno elements, it keeps a light and airy feel that makes the song feel so sweet and pleasant to the ears.  

Both of the guys vocals are solid and sweet.  Their verses sound especially romantic and dreamy, before flowing into the upbeat chorus.  Junho's Mandarin sounds great!

The music video is simple, playful, and cute.  The song, along with the MV, is sure to make you smile! It fits the fresh and idol-driven music industries of Taiwan and Korea, but is still a solid song with great musical production and style at the same time.  

Overall, a superb collaboration between Taiwan and Korea.  Hope to see more artists from different regions collaborate.  Perhaps a Korean and Hong Kong artist can team up in the future?