Posts Tagged ‘Chinese pop’

For old time’s sake: Zhang Li Yin

Timeless (part 1)

Timeless (part 2)

I Will (part 1)

Left Shore of Happiness (part 2)

I never really thought about it in depth, but how great is the storyline in the “Timeless” videos? When I first got into Kpop, I was astounded that all music videos were like dramas. No really, you should’ve seen me, “WHOA. THAT’S LIKE A WHOLE STORY.” (My first Kpop videos were the AnyCall videos, so yeah…)

I love the continuity in ZLY’s videos and I guess that can be good and bad. On the one hand, it’s great how many stories can be spun around the same three actors, and how it’s just like a pan-Asia, all-time spanning epic saga, lol. On the other hand, “Hi, let’s get some new faces in here, yeah?”

And now that I’ve given it some thought, I think ZLY has the best videos in SM Town. The stories are cliched in a way, yes, but they’re intricate and interesting. Siwon and Hangeng are surprisingly good actors for being performers and Lee Yeon Hee is good in her own right even though she’s not the spotlight of the videos. I love it when music videos have that ability to make you wish that there was more left for you to watch even after it’s over.

The quality of ZLY’s music video kind of overshadows how non-existent her career is with SM, but all in all I can’t wait for her new single next month. And I hear she’s actually starring in her own video(s) this time (with Donghae!) so I’m excited :D

(There are Korean and Chinese versions to all the songs above, but imo the Korean version of “Timeless” was the better one, and the Chinese versions of the latter two are way better than the Korean ones so I chose the MVs to match the language.)

Song of the day

As if I don’t shamelessly whore out this song enough, in honor of SJ-M coming back soon (woohoo!), here’s my fave from them:

Super Junior M — 我抱著我 (In My Arms)

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This is one of those SM songs where I’m still surprised I haven’t found any loopholes to — meaning it’s not a cover, it wasn’t first produced by someone and then sold to SM, and yet it’s still so good . . . I’m weary only because SM has a history of making a ton of shitty music. :D

There can never be enough Khalil Fong posts

When you really need to chill to light music, you can never go wrong with Khalil. Seriously, his voice and his beats are spring breeze, sunnysunnysunny days, lullabies, GOODNESS — all smushed into one.

叫我怎麼說 (Tell me how to say)

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手拖手 (Hand in hand)

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愛在 (Love is…)

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黑白 (Black and white)

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Man, “Soulboy” is out of stock on YesAsia and “This Love” & “Wonderland” are out of print. OMG that hurts me. His work should never be depraved of customers! There are only a few artists of mine (yes, MINE!) whose music I will buy, whether or not I’ve listened to them beforehand — and Khalil’s on top of that list.

Music from 2008

The majority of 2008’s new music has come off as kind of dead and dull to me. Not a whole lot of good new stuff from the artists I keep up with / artists I randomly keep up with. But, I did inadvertently open myself up to a much larger ground in the music terrain. I discovered some old music that I happened to really fall in love with. Okay, so saying that I fell “in love” with the music puts a lot of stress on the poor songs, but I just meant that it was refreshing to listen to and made some kind of impact on me, sentimentally-speaking.

Favorite albums of the year,

Favorite songs of the year,

  • 王力宏 – 你是我心内的一首歌 If I had to narrow this list down to only three songs, this song would come first. The music of this song isn’t very challenging or groundbreaking, but it evokes some sort of familiarity for me. Of course, Leehom was going for that note of sentimentality with the song. (It’s very Shanghai-tan-esque, no?) The song reminds me of spring and spring is a good time of the year.
  • 方大同 – Love Song In orderly fashion, this song would come second. I love this song for its melody and for its lyrics. The lyrics are a “fuck you” to what Khalil perceives to be the typical love song. Khalil’s a very articulate guy and you can tell from his lyrics that he thinks a lot about life and music, which is the kind of thing you want in an artist. He makes his peers seem silly. If I had to recommend one artist from the Chinese pop scene (which encompasses a lot of ground), I’d recommend this guy, and this song. Listen to the song here.
  • 동방신기 – Purple Line This seems like an eon ago, but I really did love this song and all the hype around it. This was the first dance hit that I anticipated the release of after I became a fan of the group, and compared to their previous dance hits — The Way U Are, Tri-Angle, Rising Sun, O-Jung.Ban.Hap — this one wasn’t shabby. It’s got GREAT use of bass and it feels very strong and relentless. Purple Line is the sort of song that I feel makes a statement and leads somewhere. Minus the most embarrassing use of an English line in all the history of non-English songs, this is the one song I would recommend for the ballad haters and the DBSK doubters. F’real.
  • 张力尹 – One More Try I can probably sing this song in my sleep. Of all the music fandoms I dabble in, this song is the only thing that inspired me to actually contribute to fandom in non-graphical ways, in the form of lyric translations…which is not a lot at all, but my translation of this song coincided with my official decision to major in East Asian Studies, so it means a lot to me. This is also the best song off Zhang Li Yin’s resume and a very inspiration song that symbolizes the return of a girl who I’m really rooting for.
  • Ibadi – 오후가 흐르는 숲 Song three of the “if I had to narrow this list down to three songs” train of thought. This song is mind-bogglingly beautiful. The entire song just evokes such a sense of tranquility and peace that I will never be able to properly articulate it for you to feel, unless you were me.
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    Khalil & Lee Hom, follow-up

    Two artists that I’ve come to love a lot in the past year have recently come out with new albums — both albums came as surprises to me because I had no idea they were coming out with new ones so fast. These reviews are after about two full listens of the albums, and initial impressions may change after more listens :P

    First is the album from Khalil Fong.

    Orange Moon upon first listen seems to be less inspired than his previous Wonderland. I think I judge an album harshly based on the first track on the tracklist. If an album starts off really strongly, I have an immediate good impression of the overall album; if not, it takes me a while to appreciate the album as a whole. Orange Moon starts off with “Singalongsong,” which is a sequel to “Love Song,” from his Wonderland album. Singalongsong is very cute but it’s not as dynamic as Love Song. There’s nothing that grips me from the very start of the song, which is something very noticeably present in Love Song. After that, only when the fourth song of the album — “黑白” — started playing did I finally think to myself, “Ah, this is the Khalil I love.” It’s got a great use of instrumentals and the chorus has a lovely lull to it. And unfortunately, that’s about it for this album. The rest of the album is a blur of melodies to me and nothing really stands out, whether it be bad or good. It will probably take me a few more listens to the album for me to more fully appreciate some of the songs, but for now, I can safely say that I loved “Wonderland” a lot more. But Khalil’s one of those artists who are so talented and actually aware of music that it’s hard to dislike any of their work. Hopefully, there are more great things to come!

    Second, Leehom.

    There’s no song that really stands out to me in this album. The album as a whole is very comfortable and typical of Leehom. “春雨里洗過的太陽” is the “我们的歌” of this album — sunshine, guitars, soothing melody, comfort. “What’s Up Rock” is an experiment gone wrong. “我完全沒有任何理由理你” has the title to kill: it means “I have absolutely no reason to care about you” and it is a terrible song. “心跳” is a typical ballad from Leehom. The only two songs that piqued my interest were “愛得得體” and “競爭對手”. The former has an interesting melody and is something you can bob your head to. The latter is slightly Alicia Keys-esque, but I like ballads that are somber with very assertive and enunciated beats.

    What I have learned from this album is that vocally, Leehom should not go for songs that require him to use his falsetto. My ears, dear lord. His voice is best suited for songs like “你是我心内的一首歌” where he gets to sing in his safe zone.

    Overall, this album did not have that one defining song that drew me in like his previous three albums. Even if the rest of the albums sort of trotted along without much fuss, there was always at least one song that I really connected to and evoked some kind of emotion from me. Sadly, Heartbeat did not have this song and the album came off as very mediocre.

    One last thing — Leehom, if you’re gonna try to be a badass on your cover, don’t wear shades that are framed with butterflies. New stylist, stat.