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YesAsia Editorial Description
|Product Title:||Muttering (EP) 自言 (EP) 自言 (EP) 自言 (EP) Muttering (EP)|
|Singer Name(s):||Ken Hung (Singer) 洪卓立 (Singer) 洪卓立 (Singer) 洪卓立（ケン・ホン） (Singer) Ken Hung (Singer)|
|Country of Origin:||Hong Kong|
|Package Weight:||100 (g)|
|Shipment Unit:||1 What is it?|
|Publisher:||EEG Emperor Entertainment Group (HK)|
|YesAsia Catalog No.:||1036597636|
Product Information / Track List
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features
Editor's Pick of "Muttering (EP)"
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August 29, 2014
I've always had the impression that Cantopop consisted almost entirely of ballads. As a child living in Hong Kong during the golden age of the Four Heavenly Kings, most of the popular songs that reached my ears were ballads. Being a fan of more energetic music, my tastes shifted towards Japanese and Western music as I grew older, but Ken Hung's delightful new EP Muttering has made me do a musical double-take.
Entering the music industry via the EEG Singing Contest, Ken Hung appears to be a typical Cantopop singer. Indeed, most of his major releases have not strayed far from the ballad genre. Now in the eighth year of his career as a singer, Ken has decided to reveal a bit more about himself with Muttering. Describing himself as a pessimist, Ken wanted to infuse the darker parts of his personality into the EP and show listeners that there was more to him than his public "smiling idol" face. On that front, he has definitely succeeded. Muttering is coursing with gloom and dark humor, and rather refreshingly for a Cantopop release, not overly focused on love. With this release, Ken challenges himself and his audience lyrically and musically, and the results are thrilling.
The EP opens with "Side Effects," a reworking of American band Squirrel Nut Zippers' 1997 track La Grippe. The most experimental track on the EP, Ken is extremely bold in choosing to open with it. Fusing blues, jazz, and most prominently, dark cabaret, the song makes for an extremely fun adventure for the ears. More playfully spooky than the original, the track has Ken singing in different keys, invoking the image of a person having a conversation with himself. The grimly humorous lyrics further contribute to the eerie atmosphere created by the music. Adding the proverbial icing on the cake, Ken caps the song off with a self-performed kazoo solo (yes, of course there is a kazoo solo).
The second track is lead single "Walnut Tree," a song about the loss of innocence. Using the splitting of a tree as a metaphor, the track describes a young man whose dreams and future fall apart after discovering what he believed as a youth was a lie. Infused with Latin flavor, the music has a bit of a sultry quality that shouldn't work with the story told by the lyrics, and yet does. "Walnut Tree" is followed by "Narcolepsy," a pop-rock ballad that marks a return to a sound that should be more familiar to Cantopop fans. The EP ends with the drolly-titled "Leave the Arsenic for Myself." Continuing the EP's trend of unlikely lyric-music pairings, the track is a twinkly, jazzy number with lyrics that describe a person who's given up on life.
With Muttering, Ken has stepped far out of his comfort zone, and it's a great thing he did. He's incorporated sounds rarely heard in popular (and independent, for that matter) Cantonese music, and in the process, created a delightful record that's made me give Cantopop a second look.