Pet Sounds: Jessica Siu-yin Yeung

Pet Sounds: A series in which teaching staff and students from the English Department reflect on a piece of music or song. [Read all entries.] [Revisit the “Headspace” series.] [Revisit the “Ongoing” series.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]

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“The ‘Beautiful’ ‘New’ Hong Kong” (2015)

It was only recently I found out that the albums I listened to at my cousin’s and on my mom’s CD player in the 90s are, in fact, cult classics. Other than those, my preferences are pretty much 60s, global pop, and Philip Glass (experimental).

  1. Japanese drama theme songs

My cousin liked to watch Japanese TV dramas such as “ひとつ屋根の下 [Under One Roof]” (1993), “ロングバケーション [Long Vacation]” (1996), and “続・星の金貨 [Sequel: Stars’ Coins]” (1996). All the theme songs struck a chord with us growing up in the 90s. The most memorable one is Aoi Usagi’s “碧いうさぎ [Blue Rabbit]” (1995):

  1. Cantopop: Softhard

The 90s was a time when listening to radio programmes on Commercial Radio 2 FM 90.3 was very cool. I found one of the DJs, Jan Lamb (DJ Soft)’s album, At the Discotheque Hard Beat (1997), fun and memorable:

  1. Cantopop: Cass Phang

One of my all-time favourite singers is Lamb’s wife, Cass Phang, who is now retired. I remember my cousin told me when I was a teenager that liking her is dated or precocious. Here’s a song on the soundtrack for the Hong Kong film, Peace Hotel (1995), with Chow Yun-fat in the lead role:

  1. Cantopop: Leslie Cheung

My cousin was a great fan of Leslie Cheung. When I was growing up, there were various box-set versions of He’s a Woman, She’s a Man (1994) piled on top of her video player, and a huge poster of Leslie on the wall, and different versions of his song collections on the CD shelf. Recently, my favourite has been “似水流年 [Life Written on Water]”:

  1. HK-musical: Snow.Wolf.Lake (1997) soundtrack, “不老的傳說 [The Never Old Legend]”

I have always been amazed that this was one of Hong Kong’s first, original modern musicals—and wonder why we can’t have this sort of thing nowadays:

  1. The 60s: Marianne Faithfull, Françoise Hardy, April March, and Old Time Buddy (1997)

I tend to go for “As Tears Go By” by Faithfull, “Chick Habit” for March, and “Le temps de l’amour [The Time for Love]” by Hardy. But I would like to mention the ingenious TV drama, Old Time Buddy (1997), which portrayed Hong Kong at time of  the Handover. It was a Cantonese TV drama parodying the 60s Hong Kong movie scene, with leading actors and actresses as surrogates of Tse Yin, Josephine Siao, Chan Po-chu, and Lui Kei. The 90s was a time when local TV dramas were still fascinating:

  1. French-pop: Mika

I went to Narbonne in the South of France, to meet up with a friend in 2011. I had the most amazing time with her and her family. The colours and happiness of the region can be summed up by Mika’s “Elle me dit [She Tells Me]”, which we played when we were heading to the beach at Gruissan:

  1. Japanese Baroque-pop: Ringo Sheena

I chanced upon Sheena’s Kalk Samen Chestnut Flower (2003) and found this song challenging. I later read that the “Stem” (2000) here alludes to sex and the succession of species after 9/11.

  1. Taiwan-pop, “Little Fresh,” and the a cappella twist

A good friend from my undergraduate years at HKBU sang in the university’s a cappela group. I went to their concert at the AC Hall of BU in 2014. My favourite song is their cover of Jay Chou’s song, “Coral Sea”:

  1. HK-indie pop: My Little Airport (MLA)

This local band combines tactless singing style, tweeness, and political protest in their songs, which used to be sharper in their early days:


jessicaJessica Yeung is currently a PhD student at the Centre of Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies at SOAS, University of London. She was an MPhil graduate of the HKBU English Department (Class of 2015). [Click here to read all entries by or about Jessica.]

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