HK Entertainment News Roundup
Friday, July 01, 2005
Album Review

Evolution Theory(天演論), Candy Lo Hau Yam [CD,Cantonese+Mandarin] 14/06/2005

01. 露西 (3,180,000 B.C. - )
02. 天外飛仙
03. 阿修羅樹海
04. 隔岸觀音
05. 一念天堂
06. 步天歌
07. 女書
08. 笛卡兒的長生殿
09. 送魂經
10. 敵托邦的拾荒姑娘
11. 阿修羅樹海(國)
12. 露西 (3,180,000 B.C. - )(國)

Before I start, I saw some unflattering and damning reviews of Candy Lo’s Evolution Theory. The reviewer was particularly peeved by the album’s theme. Interpreting it as evolution versus creationism. Another thing was alleging that this album was a pure piece of junk and “the songs are pointless with no genre...”

I was wondering whether these reviewers has a decent grasp in the Chinese Language to understand the messages in the lyrics which was pointedly simple to made for understanding. Anyway, the album wasn’t about Evolution versus Creationism. The idea was just to base loosely on the theme about Evolution and Ethics (the Chinese title indicated so). The lyrics also reflected as such.

No genre? I guess the reviewer choice of music listening is very much shallow. You could easily file this album under Progressive Rock, or even call it British Rock since it reminded me very much of Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever and Across the Universe. After churning out commercially successful albums aimed at pleasing the masses, Candy Lo did an about- turn and released this. It might take some time to get used to the music in this album. Nevertheless, there were some tracks that I really loved like track04, 05, 08, 09 and 10.

Backtracking to Candy Lo’s vocals, I thought she is a better singer than she was, there’s variation, techniques and range. I was appalled when some fans decided that Candy doing a la-Sinead o’ Connor is the true Candy. Though, it was quite disheartening that she’s still not competent as a live performer.

Though the music’s backbone was primarily guitars, drums and bass, the generous use of strings ensemble and the occasional wind instruments were also used for enhancement and accompaniment. Then the synthesizers were also used to spice up the arrangement.

This is one album that the listeners have to really understand the lyrics to appreciate the music. I appealed to listeners at large to pump up the volume and listen to it from track01 to track10. It’s a worthy album. And thumbs up for the tasteful and sensual album cover.

Ratings: A
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Album Review

Yumiko's Space, Yumiko Cheng [AVCD, Cantonese] 21/06/2005

01. Computer Data
02. 阿拉伯市場 (MV)
03. 阿拉伯市場
04. 想
05. 收到
06. 懶音詩人
07. 閃
08. 失傘
09. 遊魂
10. 黃金海岸
11. 迷失
12. 想 (國語)
13. 風雷電

I remember a conversation with an online chat buddy about HOCC’s previous release. I was expressing my disdain while she defended HOCC by saying she was trying to be 80s retro etc. Well, I think Yumiko Cheng did a better job with Yumiko Space.

Yumiko is a lousy singer by any standards. Her voice is flat, pitchy and no sense of rhythm. In short, any American Idol wannabes sing way better than her. Even the little kid in Caan Ho Jat Ding is more credible than her.

I guess the producers, Eric Kwok and Carl Wong, are well aware of Yumiko’s inadequacies in the vocal department. Instead of torturing Yumiko and listeners at large by making her sing ballads and any song that demand some vocal techniques, they chose to produce an album loaded with Euro beat, disco and dance (very 80s) fusing it with synthesized pop and arrangements.

Listening to the album, it was like a visit back to the days of A-ha, Erasure, New Order, Depeche Mode etc. When I heard track09, I thought it sound too much like a tune from a Taiwanese songtress from the 80s . Track12 is the mandarin version of track04, but the producers bothered to give it a different arrangement. It sounds groovier and a perfect track to play at dance floors. There’s only one track with a slower tempo, accompanied by the piano. Yumiko managed to pull it off; at least it was a pleasant experience. Like the touch of the bird chirping at the closing, has a calming effect.

Overall, the tunes are upbeat and groovy. It was quite a good listening experience. I don’t think the songs in this album would be chart- toppers and definitely not for folks that love k songs. I thought this is a lovely effort.

Ratings: B

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