“It’s not giving up when it’s a losing game.”

“Zero-Sum” by Charlie Lim | Now, us getting the timing of Charlie Lim’s new album Check-Hook off is unforgivable. Again, I’ve been so busy, I didn’t realize the album dropped six weeks back or so. And to think I knew he was coming here (well, technically, he already was here, performing with Clara Benin). I finally dived into the album yesterday morning, knowing that there’s a slight shift of sound, singer-songwriters exploring that minimal, slightly electrified R&B vein being common these days. And while the record sort of lags in the end, it’s still an interesting journey, because you always just knew there was more to Charlie than being gentle; there was always that undertone in him I couldn’t quite place. Or maybe I’m gathering all that because the music video for “Zero-Sum” is more claustrophobic than that one that suggests a plane crash[NB]


“這一晚 暗黑一片 但我天空有星閃.”

《只想與你再一起》 by Hana | Technically we’ve returned to Manila by today – this is pre-scheduled, so everything is still in the future tense as I write this – but we have to finish our Cantopop trip with, well, a ballad. Well, this is a theme tune for a drama series – one about, um, the Hong Kong economy – so that makes sense. But Hana isn’t all gloop: she began her music career with a band, although her biggest single to date, last year’s “Forgot Myself”, is also a ballad. (It’s also a drama theme, turns out.) Well, her voice suits that. It’s dramatic, but also sweet, so I imagine she’s versatile. A nice way to end our little hastily-cobbled trip through Cantopop. Do I do this when I return to Hong Kong (for the night-turned-day job) in just over a week? Hm… [NB]


《勇悍·17》 by Juno Mak | Now, this one isn’t as new, because he’s just released (or is releasing) a new single, but this one is still playing around in the charts, so this gets a look in. Turns out I stumbled upon a gay who wears many hats. You may know Juno Mak more as an actor and director – he’s releasing a new film next year, but he’s renowned for his directorial debut, 2012’s Rigor Mortis – but Juno Mak began his career as a singer (complete with rumor that his fans were paid to go gaga over him) before transitioning to a more alternative style. When I said yesterday that I’m more used to hearing Chinese words sung with a guitar, this is what I meant. I think it lends better? But without really understanding the song, I like the singular vision he’s put into the music video. And, yes, the song sounds nice, too. Maybe I should do a deep dive on the complex world of Hong Kong cinema someday. If I’ll ever have time, that is… [NB]

“今晚 不須安靜.”

《睡衣派對》 by Super Girls | We’re in Hong Kong this week – well, we’ve been here since Saturday – so I made myself a challenge: write about Cantopop songs that are making waves in the charts here. So I’m here doing three of those songs across the week, never mind that we’re flying home tomorrow night. First is somewhat familiar territory considering I’ve been writing a fair bit about Korean girl groups lately. These are the Super Girls, and they’ve been around since 2010. They released this song, which translates to “Pajama Party”, a few weeks back. I have to get used to the Chinese language in a pop setting – I’m more used to it on a band setting (well, considering the sort of Cantopop and Mandopop I’ve written about here over the year). But then, as Shalla would remind me, K-pop is music made for the eyes, and I’m sure the same principle applies to C-pop, too. This is your reminder than pajamas can be sexy. Am I supposed to say that out loud? And am I supposed to translate the lyrics on Google? Oh, and… what’s this supposed to be about, hmmm? [NB]

“…and it feels like love.”

“Cherry On Top” by Lou Hayter | Now, this one, I’m not late to. Relatively. Lou Hayter has been all over, first as the keyboardist of the band formerly known as New Young Pony Club, and then being one-half of Tomorrow’s World, a project with Air’s Jean-Benoît Dunckel, while doing music supervision and DJ sets in between. Now she’s releasing music under her own name, and what we have here is a song that’s definitely summer-y. Interesting hearing this now that it’s getting cooler in the northern hemisphere – even here in Manila, usually deathly hot, it has been cool. (Maybe this one’s for the Aussies?) I’ve been thinking of the weather lately, if only because Shalla and I are flying to Hong Kong this weekend and it’ll be cooler; this song distorts a lot of things, because it’s so languid (there goes the adjective again) it reminds me of sunsets by the beach. And we’re going to a built-up city on a windy November. This should do the trick, warming us up. [NB]