Ann Bai returns with songs about freedom

Taiwanese singer-songwriter Ann Bai burst onto the scene with her debut album The Catcher In The Rye in 2012. She staked her claim as the distinctivesounding voice of the millennial generation with tracks such as What Brings Me To You and I Only Wish To Care About The Things I Care About.

That youthful vibe of forthrightness and wanting to break away from the quotidian is still here. On bracing opening track Escaping The Mediocre Life, she beseeches: "Let me have wild freedom/Let me escape from mediocrity, never cower."

Even a song about a relationship, the mellow and melodic After You Left, is cast in terms of breaking free. "Where have you gone after leaving, hope you find the space you want/I know it's not your fault, I can't give you the freedom you yearn for."

In keeping with its title, the album works in electric guitars and synthesizers in a way that evokes the 1990s. And her vocal stylings on Diamond call to mind the late Dolores O'Riordan, singer of big-in-the-1990s Irish band The Cranberries.

But the homage is quite subtle as Bai is not interested in a backward-looking nostalgia fest. Instead, she uses the era as a springboard and inspiration for something she can call her own.

  • POP

    1990S

    Ann Bai

    B'in Music International

    3.5 stars

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2019, with the headline 'Ann Bai returns with songs about freedom'. Print Edition | Subscribe