Faith by Sammi Reviewed

I suppose this is a little bit early for an album review. 1 week? Too short… But I would like to take a new approach to reviewing this album, that is, my take of the album week by week. So… By the time this entry is posted, I supposed the 2nd edition would be out liaoz. hee*

Pre-Release – The 1st Plugs

I have briefly shared my thoughts on the songs made public before the official album release date, but it’s time to re-visit those thoughts. The songs were: 《罪与罚》、《结果》、《信者得爱》.

《罪与罚》 was a rather ‘high standard’ song, which was elegant despite being hip-hop and rap (which was usually associated with crime and vulgarities). It was like a clone of 《爱是。。。》 released way back in 2000, where all Mi did was to sing a few lines, interjected by chunks of rap by ‘pro’ HK rappers. The central theme of 《罪与罚》 has taken a ‘high stance’, in a way that it talked about redemption through the eyes of The Fallen. Mi took the perception of a 3rd party who looked at them with compassion, while the rappers recounted the lives of The Fallen through their dependance on drugs and thoughts of suicide.

I never really saw the ‘climax’ of the song until the English version, Forgiveness, was released the day before the album was released.

The composers also handled Forgiveness like they did with the Canto version, although now the rappers have taken on the role of The Fallen, The Counsellor and The War Veteran, to lament about the atrocities of this modern world, which was mainly Excess, Drugs and War. Like I mentioned before, the only fault of the song was the weird accents the rappers had when they rapped. I still prefer ang-moh slang rather than cheena slang.

Forgiveness was supported only by Mi’s vocals, which was like a gunshot through the silence. It was here, at the bridge, that I heard the climax, when she sang ‘Save me, Lord, I never meant to be this way; I’ve given up almost everything and all I had was pain’. The central theme of the song is, yes, Pain. The pain of The Fallen, and the pain of those who loved them who looked upon them in vain.

Forgiveness also gave a chance for a comparison with other rap songs like those done by BEP. In comparison, yes, it pales in comparison in terms of the lyrics. Those raps like BEP, like Shut Up, had constant interaction between the Male and the Female, the Singer and the Rapper. But the rap can do without the singing and the singing without the rap in Forgiveness. Or let’s compare with something nearer. Da Mouth’s song, like 《靠过来》 had the same effect of Shut Up, which added to the wholeness of the song.

《结果》 was a song completely composed by an independent, small time singer, Ivana. Again, the melody was plain. Music wise, only Mi’s singing supported the piece. And even then, Mi had to ‘play’ with different singing technics to make the song less boring. Lyrics wise, it was a satirical take on life, by describing how a person tries to shirk his responsibilities and avoid the judgement of others. Ultimately, as the title prescribed, the End is the same: You face Him for judgement.

《信者得爱》 was meant to be the theme song for Love Mi, the upcoming concert. It was a remake from a Korean song Life is Good (sounds LG, huh?). The beat was strong and Mi’s vocals too. But add in the funny talking in front… eh… They sound so slutty. Ya… They sound so Bring It On, it didn’t sound cool and strong. The Korean version was better, when the original singer rapped the starting with her low voice. It added that punch to the song. MC 任 once again rapped for Mi, after success like 《煞科》 (《眉飞色舞》) which was also like 10 years ago. (Considering how Chinese songs evolved in the decade between 1995, when Mi became uber-famous, to 2005, when Mi retreated, it’s funny how they have not evolved from 2000, when Mi was unbelievably famous to now). Somehow, after looking at his performance Live, in Mi’s concerts and in the MV, I thought he was rather loser-looking. Except for his rapping, there’s no cool factor in him at all.

Oh… Why did I go into personal attack? Given that 《信者得爱》 was supposed to warm the concert, I thought 《叮叮当》 would be a better choice. The latter sounded fun, while the former, due to the slower BPM, sounded draggy, despite the ear-pain-ing bass. But amazingly, the lyrics, despite tackling social issues, did not sound boring. hmmm…

“无线都不播我的歌,不播都卖 6 万张了,不播咯!”

Week 1 – 《不要惊动爱情》

When I got my hands on the album, I looked forward to listening to the song 《不要惊动爱情》, which was previewed with a small segment, and attracted me with the singing and the title. I mean, people in the literary world are always looking for different ways to describe the same thing, and I though the title was a very good attempt at describing crushes.

《不要惊动爱情》 was also the 1st song (since Warner era, I dare say) Mi sang on crushes. She was able to go from very sweet from the starting, to controlled bursts of energy during chorus. The frustration within such crushes and the enlightenment could be felt throughout the song. That controlled burst of energy was the very focus of controlling one’s frustrations through one’s beliefs, and was aptly adopted into words by the verse 爱要驯服过才精彩。In an era where movies were blasting the idea of love having to be all drama-mama, full of declaration and about the courage to embrace and let go, we tend to forget that the ones that last were those that were embraced through careful management.

Melody wise, I thought was bland. Verse A was not catchy and the chorus sounded like another of Mi’s songs. But considering that the song was not composed by the kind of people with high standards that Mi would usually employ (she adapted it for herself), it was forgive-able. After all, whenever Mi sang other people’s songs, the focus was always on how she could fill it with her style, making a point that she could take it to another level that the original singer could not. That controlled burst of energy, let me tell you, cannot be simply replicated by any of the young female singers these days, not even Stefanie Sun.

Week 2 – Feelings

Moving on to Wk 2, I stopped listening to the album for a few days, partly due to my work schedules. But when I do listen to it on my laptop, one thing that caught me was the feeling the slow songs gave me, namely 《结果》、《上帝早已预备》、《你爱我》 and 《阿门》. The special thing about the arrangement was that it brought me back to the memories of Nepal, the feeling of being up in the mountains, submerged in nature and the unpredictable weather that was also steeped in tranquility.

Like a sense of peace that has a turbulent undercurrent.

I guess that was the aim of the songs. 《结果》 was a sort of reflection, a 反讽, whereby the lyrics made use of the negative thoughts of a person to teach us how to grow out of pain and loss. It was the period where after one experiences a period of hardship and stops to think back on his deeds. There will always be this frustration that comes with the silent reflections.

The thing I liked about 《阿门》 was actually the choral part. Crisp and clear, like water droplets. Like fresh morning dew. Like the innocence of childhood.

The only things that made me confused was how 《上帝早已预备》 and 《你爱我》, which were supposed to exhalt the wonder of God, actually had Mi sounded as though she was in pain. Or rather, there was no joy or sense of relief/enlightenment in her singing. Was it her being too used to singing painful ballads? I don’t know..

Week 3 – Love

By now, her concert Love Mi 2009 HK stop was in full swing. Amidst the hype of 《罪与罚》、《上帝早已准备》 and 《信者得爱》, one black horse emerged: 《不要惊动爱情》. Although the song was mentioned in the marketing tagline and 最感动介绍, but there was no MV, no pre-release (before album release) and no news reports of the song. Yet it came out in the concert, not as part of the Gospel segment that the 3 new songs formed up, but as an individual song that Mi devoted an introduction to and happily sang in 2 versions (of arrangement) throughout the 10 shows.

Week 4 – Blah blah bla…

I was still reeling from the Mi Pilgrimage, and trying to reorganize my work. No thoughts.

Week 5 – Overtones

The release of my review for the album. All in all, despite the 2 songs that were mellow and subtle, the whole album exudes an energy of positivity. Great album to keep if you are looking for something to keep you alive when life turns a corner. Yup.. You may like to listen to sad songs when you are down, but when you’ve reached the bottom of the V, there will always be a desire to listen to songs that lifts the spirits. Faith has them. Faith has the energy.

I’ve reached saturation for enjoying the album. Time to move on to new songs 🙂

Post was originally put up on my main blog on 15 Jan 2010

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