Asian Pop: Insignificance

Asian Pop: Insignificance
Insignificance by Hebe Tien

Asian Pop


Hebe Tien

HIM International Music

Wait a minute, when did Taiwan's Barbie Hsu go back to making music? It turns out, instead, to be S.H.E member Hebe Tien (above) on the cover, looking unlike herself in close-up.

The album warrants greater scrutiny as well. Expectations were high after her well-received solo outings To Hebe (2010) and My Love (2011). And, at first, this new offering seems to fall far short in comparison.

There is a clear theme - insignificance - and there are some gorgeous photos in the CD booklet, thanks to a trip Tien took for the album to Icelandic glacier Vatnajokull.

But there is a languidness to the music that threatens to slip into a torpor now and then.

More attentive listening reveals some interesting imagery in the lyrics and some points of interest in the music and her singing.

The record was inspired by Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska's Under One Small Star and the title track draws on it: "In the ugliest world, I occasionally catch a glimpse of the most beautiful poem/ Turns out the darkest sky has the brightest stars".

Her singing is appropriately light-as- air for Impermanence, while Won't If Not Drunk has an appealing loosey-goosey vibe.

Not quite so insignificant after all.

Boon Chan

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