Short spins: Asian pop

Asian pop


Jess Lee

Warner Music Taiwan

Malaysian songstress Jess Lee is a power belter.

The winner ofthe 2010 edition of the One Million Star singing competition has even been nicknamed Iron Lung Queen.

And the one-two opening of Cliff To The Heaven and Force To here pack quite a punch.

The piano-backed Cliff composed by Singapore's Lee Shih Siong begins gently.

But it soon has Jess Lee scaling heights and swooping down cliffs as passion gets pushed to the brink: "Don't give me a cliff that's like heaven/Don't force me to jump down this bottomless pit of grief."

The edgy music video has her singing with a transparent plastic bag around her head and features a couple in the throes of an illicit love.

You might feel a little emotionally wrung out after this.

Asian pop


(CD + DVD)

Mr. Universal Music

In 2010, Hong Kong band Mr. included the Mandarin track If I Were Eason Chan on their remix Cantonese album Like Black.

Four years later, the quintet finally release their Mandarin full-length debut album with 100 Reasons To Fly.

The reason for the earlier track was that lead singer Alan Po sounds uncannily like Chan. Over the course of an entire album though, the voices seem less alike.

Certainly, Po has a richly expressive and resonant voice, if one that is a shade less layered than Chan's.

There is an insouciance to the title track that lifts the spirits: "I want to fly, no grouses/One thought and I move, without saying a word, just go when I want to go."

Elsewhere, the band make a pitch for Love And Peace, offer an unseasonal Merry Christmas To You :) and end on the anthemic rock of Wake Up.

It is as though in eight tracks, the band want to show just what they are capable of and end up flying all over the map.

This article was published on June 12 in The Straits Times.

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