Sandee Chan's melancholic war cry against technology



Sandee Chan

AsiaMuse Entertainment

4 stars

Watch out, Taiwanese singer-songwriter Sandee Chan is on the warpath.

But instead of a cacophonous war cry, she has crafted a melancholic, chilled out album which seems to take aim at the impact of technology on our lives in the elliptical lyrics.

In the synth-rock number He's A Space Debris From The Doomsday Prophecy, Mayday's Monster and Stone are roped in for guitar duty. Is doomsday linked to the ubiquity of the online realm ("Anime, chasing serials, cheap flights and then search/For a long vacation")? The repetition of the phrase "keep floating" in English suggests a kind of alienating bubble or cocoon which that world creates.

There is both pessimism and optimism as she vacillates between helplessness in There's Nothing I Can Do About It and a guarded hopefulness in That's Not The Only Thing I Can Do.

The title track imagines that Cardea is someone's online handle, which is appropriate, given that Cardea is the Roman goddess of the door hinge. Chan grapples with the nature of the Internet beast: "When information civilisation is preserving me through text/An ideal life is a sorrow that loses control the more it stays silent."

Romance is ephemeral in this brave new world. In the track Three Days And Two Nights, she writes: "I just wanted to like you at that time in that way/So I liked you at that time in that way."

After all, being alone is not necessarily a bad thing, as depicted on the opening track Solitude.

With a line in Japanese, "Densha de iku (Going by train)", one could imagine her on the Tokyo subway, wrapped up in her own world: "I'm not a prime number, don't beautify the pain, reading a book, traversing imaginary lands."

It can be a challenging journey, but one is happy to tag along for the ride.

Boon Chan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2017, with the headline 'Melancholic war cry against technology'. Print Edition | Subscribe