Monday, September 3, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Dear Jane


Dear Jane is a Hong Kong band formed back in 2003 that is known for their signature pop punk/rock sound.  The band's name "Dear Jane" references a Dear John letter, and signifies how their songs are from a male's point of view. They released their debut record "100" in 2006 under See Music Ltd, whose name originates from how they played 100 shows prior to releasing the album.  After contract disputes with See Music Ltd, the band was signed to Music Nation in 2009 and released their album "XOXO", which scored their first #1 hit "Do Not Speak".  In 2011, Dear Jane was signed by WarnerHK, one of the top music labels in Hong Kong.  They released their "Gamma" EP the same year.  Since then, they have increased in popularity and recognition, becoming one of the bands in Hong Kong's small but steady "band movement".  Their latest EP "Yellow Fever" is now out!

A little more about the members...

The original line up of Dear Jane was Tim Wong as the vocalist, Adam Diaz as the guitarist, Howie Yung as the bassist, and Jackal Ng as the drummer.  Following the departure of Adam, the line up changed and Howie became the guitarist while Jackal the bassist.  Nice Lai later joined the band as the drummer.

Tim Wong - Lead Vocalist Tim was born in Hong Kong on May 6, 1981 and raised in the US.  He studied music at the University of Hawaii.  He previously worked as a model, and had joined TVB in 2003.  He has appeared in several Cantopop music videos as well as TVB series.  His full English name is Timothy Christopher Wong.

Howie Yung - Guitarist Howie was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and majored in economics in university.  He is well versed in writing, composing, arranging, producing, and recording, making him a truly well rounded and talented musician.  Howie writes and composes a majority of the band's songs.

Jackal Ng - Bassist Jackal was born and raised in Hong Kong.  He graduated from University of Hong Kong's School of Design.  He is very skilled at playing the drums.

Nice Lai - Drummer Nice was born and raised in Hong Kong.  He joined Dear Jane as their new drummer shortly after the band signed to Warner.

Artist Critique
There are many great bands in Hong Kong right now, but Dear Jane is my favorite by far.  Their music is catchy yet of quality and substance.  Although I have limited knowledge of Cantonese, I feel like their music is so personal and powerful, whether they're performing an upbeat punk rock song or a soft rock ballad.  There's energy, meaning, passion, and honesty in their music.  I love their pop punk rock musical style, and how they experiment without straying from their signature sound.  Tim's voice has a nice tone, being neither too high or deep.  He has power as well as control in his voice, and transitions from upbeat or hard rock songs to ballads with ease.  The band is a lot of fun to see perform live, as they all have a lot of energy and passion.

What makes me love Dear Jane even more though, is that they all seem like such great guys and very approachable.  They genuinely love what they do, and are so talented, friendly, sweet, and modest.  They frequently update their official Facebook page and constantly keep in communication with fans, even taking the time to reply and thank particular fans once in a while.  Earlier, I had posted the link to my "Goodbye" song review on their page, and they had "liked" the post and personally thanked me.  Also, they just seem like such fun guys to be around!  I love seeing the members joke around and practice in videos.  Tim seems like he has a great sense of humor and can be so silly sometimes.  Also, I have so much respect for Howie.  All the guys are highly involved in Dear Jane and their music, but he is such an insanely talented musician who does so much.  At times, the concentration Howie can have in his music is even laughably endearing.

Dear Jane Song Essentials

"別說話/Do Not Speak"
Their first big hit, "Do Not Speak" went to #1 on several radio stations.  It is a beautiful song with a catchy yet lovely melody.  Howie had originally written the lyrics of the song after a messy break up with his girlfriend.  The lyrics had initially just sat around, but Jackal had played a drum beat Howie liked, and within 30 minutes, the band had composed and arranged a hit.  "Do Not Speak" is a honest and meaningful light rock song about how people should have a silent break up so they can keep the beautiful memories of what a couple once had instead of fighting and causing further pain.

"放大假/Long Vacation"

From their debut album "100", "Long Vacation" is a song everyone can relate to about wanting to take a long vacation from work.  The musical style of the song shows a strong punk influence, which I really like.  It carries a whimsical feel too.  I especially like the second verse where Tim pretends to call in sick to work.  It's a simple, short, fun, and catchy song a lot of people can relate to.

"空中小姐/Air Hostess"
A fun and upbeat song that also has quite the whimsical feel.  The MV is very cute and they look like they're having a lot of fun.  Tim's little "dance moves" are so cute and funny, as are everyone's facial expressions!  Known to be more of rockers, it's endearing to see them in such a goofy yet adorable fashion.

"戰狼三國/Wolf of Three Kingdoms"

One of their heavier rock and punk influenced songs.  I love blasting this song loud and rocking out.  The band sounds wicked here, I love how the electric guitar, bass, and drums come together here.  The chorus sounds very powerful.

"Rising Star"

This song served as the theme song for the Hong Kong Jockey Club in 2011.  The song is one of my favorites because it's such an inspiring, uplifting, and empowering song. I like the simplicity of the alternate MV, with the band performing in an empty room and shots of the members running with a Dear Jane flag.

"慣/Used To"

Although known for their pop punk sound, the band started experimenting with different things as well after signing with Warner.  "Used To" is a beautiful and emotional soft rock ballad.

"Yellow Fever"

A catchy and infectious pop punk song about the guy's like and respect for Asian girls.  This single also marks their first time experimenting with dub step breakdowns.  Read a more in-depth song review here: here.

"Let's Just Do It"

Whether it's getting someone's phone number at a party or asking them to dance, "Let's Just Do It" encourages listeners to just do what they want to do.  It boosts a very sleek sound.  Despite the auto tune used in the song, like "Yellow Fever", it's catchy, infectious, and has a great dubstep break down.  In-depth song review here.


A beautiful song that was executed even more beautifully.  Everything about the song is phenomenal: the vocals, lyrics, composition, arrangement, and overall sound.  It is such a powerful and memorable song that leaves an impact on you.  In-depth song review here.


Dear Jane is a versatile rock band with a distinct punk sound and a great ability to experiment with other styles.  Each member is very talented and makes their own contributions.  Dear Jane is a well rounded band that consistently and constantly makes great music.  Not only is it catchy, but has substance and well executed.  Besides that, they have all proven to be a group of great and fun guys as well.  I sincerely hope that they will be able to win more recognition and popularity.  They are definitely going far!  Go Dear Jane!

"Ghetto Justice 2" Review (By Lynne)

Lynne - I am a new contributor here at AE-Experience and this is my first post!


After releasing from jail, LAW LIK-AH (Kevin Cheng) wants to start anew and he joins hand with his comrade WONG SZ-FU (Myolie Wu) to fight against injustice.

LIK-AH and SZ-FU soon become the “Condor Heroes” of Sham Shui Po but they have conflicting views on things all the time. To make the situation worse, LIK-AH’s ex-wife KING LING-LEI (Christine Kuo) suddenly returns from the USA and the relationship is put to the test. Meanwhile, they have offended the wealthy property developer by handling a building collapse case and LIK-AH’s life is in danger. Even his good friend TING KA-FU (Sam Lee), GEORGE MIKE JR. (Lam Chi Sin) and the newly-arrived policeman LEUNG PAU-SING (Raymond Cho) are embroiled in the legal battle. Will they be able to fight for the disadvantaged people with law in the end? -credits ktvb

Let's start talking:

- First of all, let me ask where did Elena Kong disappear to? After her case, she kind of evaporated? I wouldn't find that abnormal if she was just an ordinary character for a sub-story but she wasn't....was she? Sure, she got her own sub-story but she's also a lawyer. I had expected more of her later in court but sadly she was no where to be found later on. Such a pity, because I thought she was the most interesting lawyer to watch.

 - A praise I'd like to give to the producers/scriptwriters is how they effectively connected GJ to GJ2. Let's be honest, I was totally impressed watching the first few episodes because I felt that they did great linking it to GJ! Unlike other sequels, I could feel GJ in GJ2 and it seems like a continuation where nothing was cut. Of course, it helped a lot with the majority of the casts staying, including the mini supporting characters. Even with the new characters, I loved how they were introduced into the original GJ family (JJ Jia, Raymond Cho and Crystal Li). A smooth transition :)

- Love triangle between Law Ba (Kevin Cheng), Sze Fu (Myolie Wu) and Lynnette (Christine Kuo). What was the point of this triangle? I thought there were going to be cat fights, drama and tears but in the end...nothing. A disappointment? Not really because I hate love triangle's drama. Thank goodness Law Ba was decisive and knew who he loves. Unless written well, I hate it when characters can't choose who they love because it gets irritating. I'd also like to thank Sze Fu, for not get overly suspicious, but instead trusting Law Ba (in the beginning anyways....near the end, I supported her for not believing Law Ba though, because he was). A third thanks for not making Lynnette a clingy person. Why? Because they made Christine's character terribly clingy in Tiger Cubs! (Still can't get over that....)

There is one complaint I'd like to address to Law Ba though. I can see that he's a friendly guy but omg....keep your distance AWAY from Lynette when you don't like her! Seriously! This is why she can't get over you! I know he told Lynette straight out that he only likes Sze Fu but his actions (eating Lynette's left overs etc) are.....confusing. Not only is he doing himself no good, he's also doing Lynnette no good.

Another complaint! Why didn't Law Ba and Lynnette get a divorce? I don't get it....were they planning to keep the "married" status forever? Law Ba, you should know the law better than's polygamy if you ever plan to marry Sze Fu later on. Wait, is it still consider polygamy....since he married Lynnette in the Canada? So marrying Sze Fu in HK....would be technically legal? I don't even know....

 *sigh* Now that I've done talking about that, what is my overall thoughts on this love triangle? Pointless.

-I really liked that case about the pregnant lady. I thought that was pretty interesting and the actress did surprisingly well in some of her emotional scenes. Anybody know her name?

 - The case where the lady was trialed for cheating the government's money. That case was rather little but I just want to complain about the outcome. It's stupid that she was charged guilty.

 - The last case, I felt a sense of deja vu and I think everybody felt that too? In GJ, LA took the conviction for Sze Fu and now in GJ2, Sze Fu was a step ahead of LA and took the conviction for him. In the end though, LA still admitted his guilt in court and stuff....and had to go to trial for murder. I personally don't get why it's self-defense. Even though he did not intend to kill, he still should be held liable in some sort of way shouldn't he? Not charge with murder but something else? But the series never showed any of that later....

 I would also like to add...this case had so much potential. A building collapsing? That's an exciting case! In the end though, it was rushed and so therefore....poorly written.

 - scene where Law Ba and Sze Fu were forcing the pregnant lady's boyfriend to serve as their witness (or something along that line). Were they allowed to do that!? I understand that Law Ba usually uses some tricks to get their info but what they did then....I felt it was over the line since it seems like they were threatening the guy.

Ah Teng (Sam Lee) and Sum Sum (JJ Jia). Surprisingly, I loved them together. Especially since they both have lost their loved ones, they got a sense of understanding and connection with each other. While Ah Teng is unwilling to let go of the deceased Ching Ching (Sharon Chan), Sum Sum is someone who knew she had to move on. This is why I like Sum Sum. She's practical, but kind-hearted and knows that they both cannot dwell on the past forever. Instead of trying to stay in the past, she strives forward for a better future, because she knows that her deceased love would want her to do that. Moving on doesn't mean you have to forget, and that is what she taught Ah Teng. I also liked how they stood by each other's side, especially when Ah Teng's mom died. Without her, I don't think Ah Teng could have moved on again.

- LA (Kevin Cheng) and Sze Fu (Myolie Wu). Once again they sparked wonderful chemistry together! I love watching their small interactions with each other, such as LA rubbing his head on Sze Fu's shoulder. They're such a fun couple to watch :) Not to mention they showed a great amount of understanding with each other throughout the series.

 Kevin Cheng as LA? There's something different with LA this time...Even though LA is still a fun character to watch, I thought he's a bit too "loose" in here. I felt this LA missed the sense of "fire", that strong sense of justice that the previous LA had. Maybe it's because he's a bit too laid back in this one? I don't know. I just know that there's a missing spark or should I say, it's just not as strong as before...

 Myolie as Sze Fu? Myolie once again brings the independent and tough character back onscreen! Like what I said before, I'm glad that Sze Fu did not go through a dramatic breakdown or something with LA but instead, dealt with the problem in a cool-headed matter. This makes me like Sze Fu even better than before :) After finishing the series, I also felt that her performance was better than in GJ, especially her emotional scenes.

- Christine Kuo as Lynnette. What can I say? Please put her in smaller roles? I personally don't find her accents terrible...because I don't understand Canto, hehe.  The main problem I have is with her lines within the expressions, etc. She doesn't have much expression on her face and when she says her lines, I can't exactly feel anything in them. Basically, I find Christine's acting rather wooden. I think her recent roles are too big for her to handle. It's better if she starts of with littler and light-hearted roles, which will be easier for her to portray. And since I can't tell TVB to stop promoting her, I wish her the best and hope that she will improve later on.

- Jazz Lam as MJ, Sam Lee as Ah Teng and Raymond Cho as Leung Bao. I don't think I have to talk much about them since I can easily describe them in one word: awesome. I love their friendship with Law Ba! Just like in GJ, they once again managed to make me smile every time they were together.

 - Crystal Li as Grace. You can tell she's a bit stiff but I don't think she's bad for a newbie :) Not much comment on Grace though...Just her "love" triangle with MJ and Leung Bao, she described near the end that MJ is a good man and Leung Bao is a good "friend". Even though she took both of their arms....I'm still going to assume that she chose MJ and that Leung Bao has been "friend-zoned". :P

Overall Thoughts:

Compared to "Ghetto Justice", "Ghetto Justice 2" lacked strong cases and a sense of "focus".  I felt that the series was everywhere, moving from one case to another. Unlike in GJ where law comes into play though, the issues in here were easily resolved.  LA also seems a bit different in here because he's usually convincing Sze Fu and the others to settle the cases in a more "peaceful" way.  Therefore, it does not involve a lot of court work.  I understand that though, because the cases are rather small....and that's the problem.

In the end, GJ2 failed to give the audience a "message" or something to remember about, when GJ did.  So would I recommend GJ2? If you want something for entertainment, try it out because the characters can easily make you smile and laugh.  But if you're looking for a good law series...this is not exactly what you want.  I'd say it's more like a social service series.