there's no doubt that the whole hk cantopop industry is pivoted on mark lui [雷颂德], and mark lui alone. i can't imagine 90s and the new milennium cantopop without him. if mark lui were to die today then the whole cantopop music industry in hk will collapse overnight.

as much as he is a godfather of modern cantopop in hk, he has his fair share of critics and detractors. those who are not discerning may not know why he is criticised all these years but i shall count his sins here.

he is not the most talented producer that hk has ever seen but definitely he is the smartest and most wicked producer of all. he has the ability to plagiarize from western music without people knowing (at least not to the majority of undemanding cantopop followers) and make it into his own. it is like a jigsaw puzzle; he steals a bit from here and a bit from there, and voila! he forms a new piece of art!

from his early days with kelly chen [陈慧琳] , he has been heavily influenced (to use a polite term) by stock-aitken-waterman (SAW), the ace producer trio from UK in the 80s, who was responsible for dance pop darlings such as rick astley, bananarama and kylie minogue. kelly hit the charts with her "unique" brand of dance music but very few know that it is totally unoriginal!

mark lui is the chief culprit responsible for creating this genre of trashy cantopop called "K- songs", which stands for karaoke-friendly songs. this brand of music is shallow, repeatedly and annoyingly catchy and most importantly, forgettable after a few rounds. many cantopop superstars today benefitted from his k-songs. many industry people in hk have told me that "k-songs" are living in dying breath. it won't be long before people realize how cheap it is. just look at the career doldrums of miriam yeung [杨千桦] and leo ku [古巨基] now. they are passe, over the prime already.

having said that, mark lui does have some talents. his is single-handedly responsible for the mega success of leon lai, miriam yeung, leo ku and many others. i am not here to take away his glory from making hk pop music industy sustainable over the last two decades.

4 years ago, he created janice vidal [wai lan, 卫兰], which to me is the most promising singer hk has seen for a while. the debut album "day and night", with its cool mix of jazz and bossa, was such a breath of fresh air to my ears. i still love that album after all these years. i thought i found hope in mark lui again. and i regard janice as the saving grace for hk cantopop.

4 albums later, i picked up this latest album called "serving you". guess what? mark lui copied all over the places! so many familiar tunes in so many places. it is as if mark lui used all his collective best tricks over the years and cooked up this album. there are so many sure-fire ingredients of "k-songs" in this album that it can guarantee a certain degree of success in the market. already, i am told that this album is the top-grossing album in hk in 2008. i have never ever suspected mark's cleverness but he can't fool us over and over again. no doubt, some of the songs sound annoyingly catchy but it could have been done for miriam yeung or leo ku or justin lo [侧田] with the same resutls. if not because of janice's angelic voice, the songs would have been relegated to those despicable "k-songs" again.

to me, all mark lui's releases this year have been bad but janice's album is the best of the worst. i leave you to figure out if that is a compliment or insult.


KCLau said...

This is an interesting analysis.
For a long time, I've given up on Chinese music. Originality seems to be a rare breed.

Frankenstein said...