Sensitive, classy tracks

An unexpectedly retrolicious slice of synth pop opens Chinese singer-songwriter Li Ronghao's latest album.

Quarrelsome Lovers' arrangement harks back to the 1980s as he croons smoothly about the contradictions of a relationship: "Kill loneliness in order to live/Forgive me and you feel sorry/The road is narrow, love each other, yet split up."

In his fifth album since his award-winning debut, Model, was released in 2013, Li can still surprise and hold one's attention.

Dwell On The Past has memorable lyrics, courtesy of popular China blogger Han Han: "What brand of arrow did you use to pierce my heart?"

Li's forte is in sensitively crafted mid-tempo tracks.

Over a gentle melody, he reminds one of what is important in Poverty Or Wealth: "They all think this way, think this way, think this way/Might not seem great, but be kind/Only after tasting the setbacks time has given/Can we become truthful."

Thankfully, there is nothing here as egregiously misguided as the trying-too-hard-to-be-hip, electro-pop title track En from his album last year.

  • ASIAN POP

  • EAR

    Li Ronghao

    Beijing Young Music Culture Development

    4 stars

His latest effort might not reach the heights of his earlier works, but he still has an ear for classy pop music.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2018, with the headline 'Sensitive, classy tracks'. Print Edition | Subscribe