Singing about all things broken

Album cover for Broken by Malaysian singer Andrew Tan.
Album cover for Broken by Malaysian singer Andrew Tan.PHOTO: WARNER MUSIC TAIWAN

POP

BROKEN

Andrew Tan

Warner Music Taiwan

3.5 stars


Malaysian singer Andrew Tan, best known for the hit ballad Queen, returns with a concept album after Dear Paranoia (2016).

As the title, Broken, indicates, things and relationships are broken.

Opening track Huai Diao De Da Ren (How Did We End Up Here) literally means broken adults in Chinese. And it is a sorry situation that he sings about: "Gradually, the people around you stop joking/Choose cunning or kindness/The future's bright, just need a thorough plan/Adults slowly being broken have no sadness."

The track is given a contemporary pop gloss with a touch of high-pitched vocal effects and its sleekness is a contrast to the stark cry for help. The lyrics go: "Who will care about me, care about me."

On the ballad Ke Xiao (What A Fool), he is the aggrieved party in a love triangle, where he sings: "My pain is like the crashing waves/But still have to pretend to wish you well, not want anything in return."

But music can be an anodyne and it helps that Tan has an expressive set of pipes that can also be a calming balm.

The breezy Shu Fu (Comfy) is a welcome respite with the proclamation: "Happiness is magic." His light-as-air falsetto lifts the mood.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2018, with the headline 'Singing about all things broken'. Print Edition | Subscribe