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Here And Now

 

sammi

SAMMI CHENG (LOVE DEEPLY) (WARNER MUSIC) (SEP99)

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED
Sammi Cheng's (or Zheng Xiu Wen) latest Cantonese album.

The first single "Hot & Shine" is a techno dance number written and produced by Mark Lui.  On the other hand, the title track "Love You Deeply" (note : there's actually a one-word difference between the album name and the title track song) is a slow ballad.  

The album also contains the theme songs for an upcoming new TVB serial "Armed Reaction Part II" starring Guan Yong He and Ouyang Zheng Hua.  There's also a Mandarin version of the supporting theme song which is aptly named "Supporting Song".

The album CD comes bundled with a VCD containing the new MTV for "Hot & Shine" and also snippets of her live Taiwan mini-concert in which she sang her Mandarin favourite hits like "Absence", "Deserved" and "Can't Bear To Leave You".  If you can, buy the Hong Kong CD release as it is specially packaged in a box which also contains a photo booklet of up to 20 pages.

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stephanie

STEPHANIE CHE (INDIVIDUAL) (UNIVERSAL MUSIC) (SEP99)

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED
Stephanie Che (or Che Wan Wan) finally got to release her new solo Cantonese album (never mind that it is just an EP) under a new label after years of "unnoticed" artiste life in Warner Music.

Altogether there are five new tracks here including the interestingly-titled "Single Eye-Lid" and 
"I Am Me".

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steven

STEVEN MA (LIFESTYLE) (KINSTON RECORDS) (SEP99)

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED
This latest offering by Steven Ma (or Ma Jun Wei) contains the theme song "Good Morning, Good Night" of the TVB serial "Ultra Protection" starring Steven himself alongside Lin Bao Yi and Chen Miao Ying.  It also contains a duet track "Not A Sad Date Anymore" with veteran singer Francis Yip.  There's also a Mandarin number titled "Jasmine".

The CD album comes with a VCD containing the MTVs of three new tracks including "Good Morning, Good Night".  It also comes bundled with a photo album shot in New York plus a stack of discount coupons valid in HK only.

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ekin

EKIN CHENG (FACE TO FACE) (BMG MUSIC) (AUG99)

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED
Ekin's latest offering is an EP which comes in AVCD format, meaning it functions as a VCD as well as a CD.  Basically this EP is a theme-song album.

For the CD, there are altogether five tracks including the main and supporting theme-songs for Ekins's latest TVB serial "Face To Face".  It also contains the theme-track for another recent TVB serial "Anti-Crime Squad" starring Chen Hao Ming, Wu Yi Jiang and Ekin's girlfriend (gossip : or should I say ex-gf) Shao Mei Qi.  There are also two remix versions of the theme-song for his movie "A Man Called Hero".

For the VCD, it contains the MTVs for the three theme-songs for the afore-mentioned TVB serials.

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candy

CANDY LO (GET CLOSE TO CANDY) (SONY MUSIC) (AUG99)

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED
Candy Lo's (or Lu Qiao Ying) latest Cantonese album.

Altogether there are thirteen tracks including three Mandarin numbers, this is an indication that Candy is set to "invade" the Taiwanese music scene soon.  In fact the album contains a duet "La La La" which she did  with a Taiwanese male group Tolaku (this is the same group who sang another duet "Your Telephone Call" earlier this year with Lan Xin Mei).  Another highlight is that she did a cover version of Sally Yeh's 1985 hit "Long Night - My Love Goodnight".

The CD release comes enclosed with a bonus VCD which in turn contains the MTVs for two new numbers from the album, namely "Rising Popularity" and the interestingly-titled "Metabolism".

Like Kelly Chan whose latest Cantonese album "Keep On Loving You" is also coincidentally released around the same period, Candy has also opted for a sexy image designed by famous Hong Kong image consultant Zhang Shu Ping, the result of which is a long hair wig, a black bra top and a tattoo on her left arm.

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kelly

KELLY CHAN (KEEP ON LOVING ME) (EAST ENTERTAINMENT) (AUG99)

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED
Kelly Chan's latest Cantonese album.  Altogether there are eleven brand new tracks including the title track "Keep On Loving Me", "It's All Your Fault" (a cover of Phil Chang's Mandarin hit "Moon's Fault"), "Happy Lover", "Can't Wait For You" and "I Dare To Love".

The Hong Kong package comes bundled with a lot of goodies.  It includes a VCD containing not one but five brand new music videos from the new album and what's more, all the videos are filmed in Greece.  In addition, there is a photo booklet containing pics of Kelly in Greece and fans in Hong Kong can also get a limited-edition MRT ticket.

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aaron

AARON KWOK (DREAM OF FANTASY GARDEN) (WARNER MUSIC) (AUG99)

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED
This latest Cantonese offering by Aaron Kwok was delayed for release in Hong Kong till 18 August 1999 so as to tie in with his press conference held on the same day to announce his plans to stay in Warner Music for another two years.

The title track "Dream Of Fantasy Garden" is a love number and it is also a bank advertisement theme song.  It has two other versions in the album : one is a remix Cantonese recording  while the second is a Mandarin version. 

There are altogether eleven tracks but minus away the above-mentioned two different title track versions, there are essentially only nine new songs.

The CD release comes bundled with a VCD which contains the MTV for "Dream Of Fantasy Garden".

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alan

ALAN TAM (WHO CAN CHANGE) (UNIVERSAL MUSIC)  (AUG99)

MUSIC STYLE : EASY-LISTENING POP (BALLADS / DANCE / MID-TEMPO)

OVERRIDING THEME : LOVE
Universal Music has released a tribute album to Alan Tam.  This star-studded CD has a total of sixteen songs which are originally recorded in Alan Tam's three earlier albums : Mist Love, Source Of Love and Love Trap (refer below for the cover pictures).

All the artistes who participated in the project were allowed to choose their own preferred tracks from these three Alan Tam albums.

There are two tracks here which must be highly anticipated by listeners.  The first is the historic pairing of Alan Tam and Leslie Cheung, the latter having joined Universal Music just a few months back.  It is historic because back in the eighties, they were already under the same record company but had never sung together because both were then bitter rivals in the music showbiz.  In this tribute album, they combined two great songs into one duet number.  The two tracks are "Image" and "Mist Love", of which I personally think is a waste because both good songs should be recorded individually.  The duet is produced by fellow Wynners member Kenny B who also sang a separate duet "Love Is So Sweet" with another member Peng Jian Xin.

The second most anticipated song must be the inclusion of Faye Wong in the project.  She sang Track 2 "I Love Freckles" (the translated version of the original English track "I Love Chopin").  Her present record company EMI Music is gracious enough to allow her to record the number.

(From Left : Mist Love, Source Of Love, Love Trap)

Other artistes include the following :
  • Jacky Cheung (Track 4 "Romantic Rainy Night")

  • Andy Hui (he sang the title Track 5 "Who Can Change")

  • Daniel Chan (Track 5 "Love Trap")

  • Kelly Chan + Mark Lui (Track 7 "Source Of Love")

  • William So (Track 8 "Midnight Lady")

  • Eddie Ng (Track 10 "Where Are You Now")

  • Ronald Chang (Track 12 "You Are The Most Loved")

  • Dick & The Cowboys (he sang the only Mandarin Track 15 "Marianne" - the original Cantonese track is "Guy Who Catches The Wind")

  • The remaining artistes include Lui Fong, Amanda Lee, Priscilla Chan, Hacken Lee and Tai Chi

The participation of so many high-profile performers is already a good enough reason to buy the album for collection.  The fact that all the tracks are given a refreshing and modern musical touch-up is an icing to the cake.

Personally the one track that I like the most is Track 16 "Love Double" covered by Tai Chi.  While the original ballad is already my all-time favourite, but Tai Chi has nevertheless done a good revamp job by giving it a touch of rock.  This is also their first reunited studio recording after so many years.

The lyrics booklet also includes personal comments by most of the singer on the songs that they have selected to perform.  

Overall, a precious tribute album that anyone who's interested in Canto-pop should buy.

(Side Note : Apparently there is a difference between the Hong Kong album version and the version released in the rest of Asia.  Only the Hong Kong album version will contain the tracks by Faye Wong, Lui Fong and Hacken Lee.  Therefore make sure you buy the Hong Kong package.)

RATING : (4 out of 5)

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cecilia

CECILIA CHEUNG (ANY WEATHER) (UMG)

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED
First seen in Stephen Chow's Lunar New Year comedy "King Of Comedy", Cecilia (or Zhang Bo Zhi) has come out with her music debut which is basically an EP.  Having been criticised by HK media as having a voice which doesn't match her angelic face, it remains to be seen whether Cecilia can achieve a breakthrough in her music career.

There's only three songs here : the title track "Any Weather", "Save The Words For My Love" and the only Mandarin track "Star/Heart Words", the latter being the supporting theme song for the movie "Star Wish" starring Cecilia herself and Taiwanese singer Richie Ren (or Ren Xian Qi).

The limited edition includes the MTV for "Any Weather" as well as a whole range of goodies like pocket calender, photo stickers, discount coupons and get this, facial cleanser!  Hmm...with so many freebies to entice listeners to buy, I wonder whether the HK media's remarks are true cos I haven't heard her voice myself yet.....will keep you informed once I hear the tracks.

Finally, the album also comes in two types of cover photos (refer below for the other cover) :

cecilia1

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eddie

EDDIE NG (EDDIE & FRIENDS LIVE CONCERT) (EAST ENTERTAINMENT) (JUL99) 

MUSIC STYLE :  MAINLY BALLADS / MID-TEMPO POP

OVERRIDING THEME : LOVE
This is a testament to Eddie's (or Wu Guo Jing) rising popularity in HK.  Only less than half a year from his previous release "Eddie's Theme" comes this concert live recording.

As the album's title suggests, it was a star-studded concert.  There's Andy Hui who sang one of his recent hit ballad "All For You" as well as the duet "Faith With Heart" together with Eddie. There's also William So who collaborated with Eddie on two numbers : "Should" and of course William's jackpot song "Sadder With Every Kiss" written by Eddie himself.  

Two other surprising guests surfaced in the concert.  The first is TVB's popular actress Flora Chan (or Chen Hui Shan) who sings exceptionally well for someone who's main career domain is not music.  She did a duet "Care Too Much For You" with Eddie Ng and also a solo but uninspiring effort of the Vanessa Williams hit "Colour Of The Wind". The second is Kenny B, he sang his own hit "Let Everything Goes With The Wind" with Eddie and also performed two tracks on his own.

Finally Eddie performed "Actually I Love You Deeply" with two musicians, Deng Jian Ming who's the band leader for the concert and arranger cum composer Gary Tong (or Tang Yi Cong).

The rest of the songs in the album are Eddie's solo show.  There is no question about Eddie's live singing, he definitely knew he's the star of the night and therefore put up a confident vocal performance.

Being a two-CD album containing a hefty twenty-four live tracks, it's worth every penny for a concert album.  But I always think a concert is better appreciated with visuals so I'd suggest jumping straight for the VCD which is sold separately.

RATING : (4 out of 5)

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ekin

SOUNDTRACK (A MAN CALLED HERO) (BMG) (JUL99) 

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED
The soundtrack for the highly-anticipated HK movie "A Man Called Hero" (or "Zhong Hua Ying Xiong") starring Ekin Cheng, Nicholas Tse and Shu Qi.

There's a whopping thirty-three tracks here but only three of them are vocal pieces.  All the three songs are sung by the hero himself, Ekin.  They include the Cantonese and Mandarin version of the movie theme song plus one Cantonese supporting theme song.

The soundtrack CD comes with a VCD containing the two MTVs for the Cantonese main and supporting theme songs.

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miriam

MIRIAM YEUNG (SUMMER STORY) (CAPITAL ARTISTS) 

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED

The potential and future pop-queen of HK, Miriam Yeung (or Yang Qian Hua), has come out with a new release "Summer Story" on 8 July. 

The light-tempo and radio-friendly first single "Raise My Head Up" has already reached the first spot in various music charts in Hong Kong. It's no wonder the second single, namely the title track "Summer Story", has started to gain air-play in HK radio stations too. 

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anthony

ANTHONY WONG (LET'S PLAY AGAIN IN THE NEXT MILLENNIUM) (EAST ENTERTAINMENT) 
Anthony Wong Yew Meng seems to be gaining much attention these days after producing Cass Phang's latest and collaborating with Anita Mui. However fans of Anthony have to wait till the year 2000 for a whole new album from him.

His latest compilation "Let's Play Again In The Next Millennium" is a double CD album of 35 tracks. Obviously, most of the tracks are culled from his previous albums, ep and even compilations and a couple of songs performed by his previous group Tat Meng Pair. But curiously, all the tracks from his last album of cover versions "Ren Shan Ren Hai" are included. Nevertheless, the gems are two new tracks and a few never-released-before tracks.

The album also includes the excellent cover version of Faye Wong's "Undercurrents" taken from Stanley Kwan's film "Hold You Tight" (or "Yue Quai Le Yue Duo Luo") and the poignant "Gramophone" taken from Mark Lui's (who together with Stephen Fung, the guy from the film "Bishonen", comprises the now-defunct group Dry) debut album.
A good buy for new converts and also nice enough to tide all die-hard fans over till his next one.

(Blues)

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ekin

EKIN CHENG (SHOW WITHIN SHOW) (BMG MUSIC) 

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED

Another Cantonese compilation release, this time it's from Ekin. 

There are fifteen songs here, including hits like "Time Of Friendship", "Willing To Replace You", "Still Able To Love Deeply" and "Till The Sky & Earth Disappear".

The CD compilation also comes bundled with a bonus VCD which has eight of Ekin's more popular karaoke MTVs.

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leon

LEON LAI (LEON NOW) (SONY MUSIC)

MUSIC STYLE : MAINLY MID-TEMPO POP / BALLADS

OVERRIDING THEME : LOVE

The 1999 brand new release from Leon Lai. 

Some of the songs' names are rather interesting : they include "Sugar In The Marmalade" (this is the actual name - I did not translate it) and "I Love The Flower Smell But Not The Flower Itself".

There are two Mandarin songs here, including Track 1 "Sugar In The Marmalade". The latter is a catchy dance track which has a 100% bona-fide hit stamped on it. The other Mandarin song Track 7 "Transparent" is a mid-tempo number with a nice R&B touch.

Most of the Cantonese tracks are equally good. Track 2 "Prima Donna" is another good and infectious dance track. Track 3 "I Love The Flower Smell But Not The Flower Itself", a slow R&B number, is also highly recommended. The same goes for Track 4 "From Now Onwards" which is a soothing ballad. 

Unlike Leon's previous release "If I Can See You Again", this current album has fewer fast tracks, which is a bit of a let-down as Leon's long-time collaborator, Mark Lui (or Lei Song Da), is famed for his fast compositions.

And yes, all the recommended numbers mentioned above are single-handedly composed by Mark Lui. He is the creator of nine (out of a total of eleven, including an instrumental piece) songs here. Leon must be thanking his lucky-stars for having known this brilliant musician.

There's also a bonus VCD which includes the MTVs of four new songs from this album, including "I Love The Flower Smell But Not The Flower Itself" and "Sugar In The Marmalade" which are shot in France and the States respectively.

Overall a good and radio-friendly pop album worth getting your hands on. Leon has handed in another satisfactory product that should keep his fans happy (in case you are curious, I'm not a fan of Leon). I really hope Andy Lau is reading this review.

RATING : (4 out of 5)

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andy

ANDY HUI (END OF CENTURY COLLECTION) (GO EAST ) 

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED

Andy Hui's collection album. Don't worry guys. This is NOT another re-packaged collection album by his old company, Capital Artists. Rather this is Andy's FIRST Cantonese compilation by his present record company.

There are five new songs in this collection. The old hits are from his previous albums as shown below :-
 

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leo

LEO KU (THE MOST LEO COLLECTION) (BMG MUSIC)

MUSIC STYLE : MAINLY BALLADS / MID-TEMPO POP

OVERRIDING THEME : LOVE

This is Leo Ku's second re-packaged Cantonese cum Mandarin collection album from his old record company. His first collection album by his ex-company was "The Day That I Have You" (refer below for its cover) :

leo1

If you have bought this first collection album and is wondering whether it's worth getting this new one, my answer is unfortunately yes (unfortunate in the sense that your pocket is gonna get burnt again).

While there were seventeen songs in "The Day That I Have You", there are now a whopping thirty-two songs (both Cantonese and Mandarin) in this new 2-CD collection. With the exception of one track, all the songs that appeared in the first compilation are also included in this aptly-titled new collection. The additional hits include "Santa Claus", "Actually I I I", "The Explanation Of Love", "Dawn", "Road-Side Stall" (Mandarin) and "Arrow Strike" (Mandarin).

The only hitch comes from the bonus VCD enclosed. Its contents (ten MTV songs) are exactly the same as the first collection's bonus VCD! Talk about originality.

Nevertheless, by the standards of a compilation release alone, this latest by Leo Ku is definitely worth getting.
RATING : (4 out of 5)

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jun

JUN (HERE AND NOW) (UNIVERSAL MUSIC) 

ALBUM NOT REVIEWED

A newcomer on the Hong Kong music scene, Jun (or Gong Shuo Liang) is billed as a composer cum singer.

This is a EP containing four tracks, including two versions of the title track "Here And Now".

The EP comes in the form of an enhanced CD which means not only can you listen to it as an audio CD, you can also use it as a CD-Rom to watch music videos and play games. Sounds like a multi-purpose EP.

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Copyright 1999 ASIAN MUSIC POP . All Rights Reserved .

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