“你終於 給我走開 。 I will be fine.”

“I Will Be Fine” by Waa Wei | Shalla’s way of figuring out which tune she should give a try: look at the album art. Last week, while browsing at the Eslite store in Dunhua, I made a bit of a variation: I took a photo of this album, with the note of writing about it. Now, after having listened to the whole album (it happens to be on Deezer), I think I regret the decision. Waa Wei is a singer-songwriter, former frontwoman for the Taiwanese band Natural Q, and also a DJ at the radio station I listened to in the days leading up to the trip. (I think I listened to her show, unknowingly.) “I Will Be Fine” is from her latest album Run! Frantic Flowers!, which was released just last November; a jazzy-ish delight along the lines of Sheena Ringo’s latest, a contrast with the other track I listened to, “Only You”, which showcases that coo of hers. In hindsight I should have picked up that album on a whim. It’s not something I do, but, well, trust the album art metric sometimes. [NB]

“You know, I’ve never really met someone like you.”

“Quite Like You” by Andy Shauf | So here’s this fun little thing from Andy Shauf, songwriter from Regina, with a nice little sound. It’s always fun to stumble upon a Canadian indie song I could get behind on. There’s always this sound I couldn’t quite define, but will definitely assume is Canadian. Must be the woods. Anyway, this one’s from his latest album The Party, released last year, and when I heard this on the commute home the loneliness of it all struck me. Again, one of those songs that sound happy but have this gloom hovering over it. A spark of shining, and then you come down when you realize your reality. Maybe it’s me putting all that meaning to it. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m commuting home. But, you know, good song. [NB]

“I hope you’ll still be here next year.”

“Oslo” by Anna of the North | It’s nice to focus on a particular country’s radio stations: listen long enough and you hear something they’re really into, something you most definitely have missed. I first thought Anna of the North – otherwise Norwegian singer Anna Lotterund – was an up-and-comer. Well, she is, but as I write this she’s already received some press from tastemakers, so, again, we’re late. But she hasn’t quite exploded yet, considering how I haven’t heard her in English-speaking places with a penchant for vaguely indie electro-pop (hello, Monocle 24) so there is enough time to familiarize yourself with Anna’s icy, subtle music. “Oslo” – the music video just dropped, so that counts as new, right? – might remind you of Chvrches, but unlike that group, this does not feel harsh; there is no need to throw everything down to prove a point. As I often say on this blog, this song creeps up on you. Not sure if that makes for “international superstar” material, but I’d rather have this. [NB]

“I gotta be in the light.”

“Two Step Romance” by Paris Wells | Ideally I’d be posting this on a Thursday because of how close it is to a weekend. I was, supposedly, originally. But that reason’s flimsy. I’m listening again to this track again from Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Paris Wells and it feels more of a Thursday morning thing – not one for getting down to, but rather, one that hovers around as you head to work. I heard this one chilly morning last month (I banked this) as I walked to my office building – pinged the elevator, waited for one to open, unlocked the door. This track plays the drumroll to your day: something you can’t quite categorize easily, but something that does the job anyway. A drumroll to your day. Here you go. One day before the weekend. Well, that fits too, eh? [NB]

“기적처럼 다 지워지기를 바라죠.”

“April Story” by April | Yes, another K-pop song, but stick with me on this one. (Has anybody?) K-pop runs in seasons. Spring is for simple, almost folksy love songs. Summer loves to party, but it’s still warm, a bit more emphasis on soul. Autumn is where the big hitters come out, for some reason. Winter, finally, has this very pure, innocent sheen – and, somehow, tends to be very sad. In the first week of 2017 alone, we had Akdong Musician’s “Last Goodbye” (we reviewed this album last week) and Vromance’s “I’m Fine”, and then there’s April’s “April Story”. They’re a group I would not otherwise pay attention to, but I was still awake when they premiered this almost two weeks ago, and loved it at first listen. Bittersweet verging on pained, there definitely are shades of GFriend here: the powerful choreography, the sweeping arrangement, and, perhaps, the winter sky. Perhaps, because we don’t get winter here. I am wrong with these things, but this could do for April what “Rough” did to GFriend. Perhaps. [NB]