An intimate view of life

Singersongwriter Eve Ai dishes out the advice to live and love with no regrets.
Singersongwriter Eve Ai dishes out the advice to live and love with no regrets. PHOTO: UNIVERSAL MUSIC

Taiwanese singer-songwriter Eve Ai's last album was the excellent Talk About Eve (2016). It contained the beguiling ballad The Sum Of Us and won her the Golden Melody Award for Best Female Mandarin Singer.

The acclaim seems to have bolstered her confidence. Her anticipated follow-up, Fade To Exist, is a record with an intimate and personal point of view, one that does not feel the need to go for obvious, radio-friendly material.

The first single, ballad Forever Young, clocks in at a leisurely five minutes. It tugs at the heartstrings as Ai reflects on her journey, "living high and low, high and low", the lyrics in tandem with the melody as it soars and dips.

Her advice is to live and love with no regrets and there is both defiance and tenderness as she sings: "Time, just come/If things could be redone, I would still/Find you as though there were no tomorrows to squander."

Opening number Heart Of Glass is very different in feel with its funky vibe. She lays bare her ambitions in her lightly husky voice: "I said I'd take over the whole world." And there is plenty of attitude in just a single tossed-off English word, "sorry" - perfectly encapsulating the sass of "sorry, not sorry".

Not for nothing has the winner of televised music competition Super Idol in 2010 been hailed as Soul Singer and Queen Of Blues.

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She even imbues languor with a lazy charm as she describes a night on the couch in The Whole Night: "No need to think/Maybe zone out watching CSI."

Meanwhile, No. 14 Boarding Gate has a playful invitation to dance: "Here we go now, now 1 2 3/Step, step, step, the moonlight's smile is so beautiful."

It starts off with prosaic details of travel - "a dirty, old and torn passport" - and wanders off into a contemplation on identity and freedom.

With compelling singing and intriguing songs like these, Ai will not be fading away any time soon.

• Watch the music video for Heart Of Glass at bit.ly/2WoyNIT.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2019, with the headline 'An intimate view of life'. Print Edition | Subscribe