ALAN TAM AND TERESA CARPIO Duet (Universal Music)
ALAN Tam and Teresa Carpio? Why not? I should have seen this coming. After all, these evergreen Hong Kong pop veterans have long enamoured the Chinese music market individually with their string of hits and it’s just as well they combine their talents.
Yes, they may be in their twilight years and this does seem like an effort to sell a few more albums before they call it a day but who cares? For Tam loyalists, hearing him sing is always a good thing. For one, it just goes to show they are not quite over the hill too! Secondly, he surely inspires them with his longevity, musically et al. Of course, his fans may outnumber the latter but in her heyday, she was no pushover either.
Actually, the very first concert I attended was by the then-svelte Teresa Carpio and I have not forgotten her powerhouse vocals, the glamorous ambience, her glittering finery and her screaming fans. Her voice is still powerful but I suppose she will need a lot more glitter for her girth now and probably much dimmer lighting.
If nothing else, this album is a two-in-one nostalgic jaunt featuring the enduring (and ever-young) Tam and a quite well-kept Carpio. Both actually joined hands for the first time for a concert series at the Hong Kong Coliseum, and this duet album, titled Time After Time, marked this collaboration.
With accompaniment by the China National Symphony Orchestra, expectations are high. But sadly, two veteran stars do not a hit album make, as I quickly found out. The choice of songs is a letdown, especially when they maul Sandy Lam’s At Least There’s You and Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time. The duo pepper this album with Cantonese, Mandarin and English numbers but my impression at the end of it all? Tam tries too hard and Carpio, well, let’s just say I have selective memory and choose to only remember her as she was, not the karaoke auntie she has morphed into.
For those who still insist on seeing these two up close, the album comes with a bonus DVD containing four music videos.
EASON Chan’s new Cantonese album is intriguingly titled ...3mm. Not the size of his brain, I hope, especially when he seems to enjoy exploring new ground at the expense of testing his listeners’ loyalty. Romantic ditties, his forte, are sparse here.
Fans of this Hong Kong superstar with constant bad hair-days will have to tolerate more of his eclectic tunes in this latest effort that’s interspersed with retro numbers.
If they must, Heavy Flavor, funky dance anthem Swipe Card and Let It Out should bear repeated listening. For me, I do miss his romantic side rather than the experimental choices he fervently eschews these days.
EASON Chan may enjoy pushing boundaries but this singer is a different kettle of, er, fish. As expected, Fish Leong’s 12th symphony follows faithfully her tried-and-tested formula of romantic ditties. It’s a ballad train to broken hearts and whispers of sweet nothings. More of the same but is it refreshing?
Yes and no. After endless love tunes and her last effort, 2010’s What Love Songs Didn’t Tell You, our Queen of Love Songs is not about to chart new territory and risk alienating her fans. Yes, this is Fish Leong in her element, singing of unrequited love and teary farewells yet again.
It’s a Fish Leong I’m familiar with, so it’s a safe choice for quiet moments. Imagine tranquil afternoons with a cup of coffee, a good book and her songs playing softly in the background. And yet, because it’s hardly new territory, I worry that listeners will quickly tire of her. Quite a dilemma here, for I cannot envision this demure girl singing anything else. Rap? Nah. Punk rock? Heavens forbid. No, love ballads should hold her in good stead. The songs Love Shows Ultimately and Sometimes It Rains are among the better ones in this album.
THE movie, about five school friends who join a gang with predictably dire consequences, lends itself to this compilation of music tracks. Recording quality is top-notch, as are some of the songs. Don’t brush off local productions. This effort — I’m saying both movie and CD — is excellent fare.
Yes, the movie may have all the usual macho strutting, bullying, violence and tragic ending but they have their moments. Many of us will identify with them — at school, at college or at university life. Call me uncool, but I wholeheartedly recommend it to the young and the young-at heart for the life lessons it imparts.
As for the CD, those who enjoyed the film will appreciate the songs again. The titles are probably self-explanatory for the relevant scenes — Dark Hole Protest, Detachment, Don’t Touch Me, Idiot, Flirt With The Girls, First Sign, The Plan, Lost In The Mist and Night Club.
The Coming Ones
OF mixed Han and Mongol ancestry, Sa Dingding is a talented Chinese folk singer and songwriter who is also adept at playing traditional instruments (such as the guzheng). Singing in Mandarin, Sanskrit and even Tibetan, her selling point is her unique ethnic sound.
Her latest album, The Coming Ones, her third after Alive (2007) and Harmony (2010), continues her quest to tap into the spiritual essence of the universe. Buddhists and the spiritually-inclined will take to her songs, often sung to the accompaniment of ancient musical instruments. The Hmong Choir from Yunnan is also featured in one track.
The album comes with a bonus DVD containing two music videos.