Music review: Stefanie Sun sees world through a child's eyes in Rainbow Bot EP

When was the last time you looked at the world through a child's eyes?

Inspired by motherhood, Mandopop queen Stefanie Sun has put out an EP that captures the sense of innocence and wonder of childhood.

The title number, Rainbow Bot, is the lone new song here. Over a laidback mid-tempo beat and with a carefree whistled accompaniment, she sings: "Does that cloud look like ice cream/Grasp it between your fingers and it's a sandwich cookie."

Other tracks seem to tap into her maternal instinct.

The home-grown star offers a very different version of Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child O' Mine. In contrast to Axl Rose's fervent wailing on the rock ballad, she evokes sweetness and even whimsy, through an arrangement which incorporates the ukulele, trumpet and xylophone. When she proclaims "I'd hate to look into those eyes/And see an ounce of pain", you wonder if she is picturing her son, who is almost four.

  • ASIAN POP

  • RAINBOW BOT

    Stefanie Sun

    Universal Music Taiwan

    3.5/5 stars

Kepler, from her 2014 album of the same name, has been reworked into a sparer version. She launches into the song with no accompaniment save for the natural sounds of night and it feels utterly intimate, as though you were listening in on her singing a lullaby to her child.

The other two songs are Nursery Rhyme 1987, written by xinyao leading light Liang Wern Fook and set to a different tune here, and the achingly poignant This World. It was by Taiwanese singer-songwriter Tsai Lan-chin, who died in 1987 at the age of 22 from illness.

Sweet Child O' Mine was originally released on the seminal album, Appetite For Destruction in 1987, when Sun was nine.

Rainbow Bot is as much an invoking of her own childhood as a celebration of all children.

Boon Chan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2016, with the headline 'Capturing the wonder of childhood'. Print Edition | Subscribe