Music review: Tanya Chua lightens up a little on Kisses For The World

KISSES FOR THE WORLD

Tanya Chua

Universal Music Taiwan

3.5 stars


Home-grown singer-songwriter Tanya Chua is ready to lighten up after the dark electronic record Aphasia (2015), which is about the difficulty of communication. The change of mood can be seen from the album cover here: a goofy picture of her puckering up as she prepares to send out Kisses For The World.

She has not broken away from electronica, but the effect here is brighter and more buoyant.

The breezy Li Xian Di Tu (Offline Map) is a perfect number to drive along to as she urges one to "step lower on the accelerator" and "kiss me a little harder".

Opening track Wu Bu (Dance Steps) sounds deceptively upbeat though the lyrics speak of a relationship that is past: "If you move forward, I'll take a step back/Just one glance and you can decode/I miss our harmonious dance together."

While all the songs are in Mandarin, there is a little French flair in the titles of the tracks Deja Vu and A La Folie, which literally means "to madness".


PHOTO: UNIVERSAL MUSIC TAIWAN

A La Folie, composed by Chua and with lyrics by Taiwanese band sodagreen's Wu Ching-feng, centres on an intense relationship: "What I hear, think, say, all has your smell/I sit, wait, stand, walk, all with illusions of you."

Does this refer to her short-lived romance with a French pastry chef two years ago?

Elsewhere, there is a sense of moving on and picking up the pieces in Yi Shu (The Will) and Yuan Liang (Forgive).

On lead single The Will - which supposedly deals with her depression - she also seems to be considering her identity and legacy as a musician. "The tears I've shed, the heartbreak I can't hide/Turn them into songs to comfort/I close my eyes and sing, thankful this life has not been in vain".

As for the charge that Chua plagiarised American pop star Taylor Swift and country duo The Civil Wars' Safe & Sound for the song Ban Tu (Halfway), it is one that, for me, does not stick.