Monday, 14 April 2014

Hong Kong Music: Best of 2013

Another year and another round of music awards. I have to admit there has not been a standout song for me this year but there have been many on my radar. Yet again sorry for the mega late posting of this.

For these posts in the past couple of years click on 2012, 2011 and 2010.

Best Music Video
I admit I haven't watched every single MV but these were the ones that made an impression.

Sugar Club - 世界也能夠感受
I'm just impressed they made a whole cartoon for this! It's quite cute.

Alfred Hui - 時光
There have been a few videos like this in 2013 but none can beat one featuring Law Lan! There is a simple beauty with videos like this even if they might not offer much new.

Fiona Sit - 周末畫報
Fiona's MVs are well produced and the colours in this one just pop added with Fiona's usual sass and style. It's a visual treat.

Charmaine Fong - TMD
I think the MV matches the song very well, it's random and quirky. I love it!

Wilfred Lau - 我信的故事
I'm a sucker for heartwarming old couple MVs. If you are not, you might find this a bit boring or you just don't have a heart! I'm just kidding.

Ivana Wong - 皇后餐廳
I love the cinematic atmosphere, it fits perfectly with the song. Actually a lot of Ivana's MVs this year have a similar quality which I love.

15 Artistes to Watch out for in 2014
Each of the artistes below have given me reason to believe they could really shine in 2014.

Sherman Chung

After years of toiling since 給自己的信 Sherman released Everlasting. It didn't make an impact on the charts but it reminded everyone of Sherman's distinctive vocals. If there's anyone I want to see make it big it's Sherman.

Mag Lam

Mag's career hit a roadblock earlier this year when she lost her voice and negative news was abundant. With a new year means new beginnings, Mag being one of the stars of her generation it seems difficult not to watch out for her 2014.

Shiga Lin

Shiga is a youtube sensation. She has millions of views with her youtube videos, more than any other HK artiste I can think of. She does her genre well and for the foreseeable future she should be able to capitalise on this success.

Pong Nan

I have never been a Pong Nan fan but this year things changed a bit. He released some interesting tracks such as 你倫敦‧我紐約 and 離開拉斯維加斯 as well as writing interesting lyrics for Sammi, Kary and Alfred.

Vincy Chan

With Vincy working with 人山人海 her sound is really expanding. She now has a distinctive niche to her music that was not evident since her debut. If EEG can give her more promotions Vincy might start to get back into the limelight.

Gin Lee

If there is one singer who should make it big it's Gin. She has a beautiful voice that, in my opinion, has yet to be fully realised in a track. 2012 was Gin's best year since her debut, 2013 was good but didn't manage to capitalise on that. Hopefully 2014 will be her breakthrough.

Hubert Wu

I really think Hubert has potential. His voice hasn't fully developed yet but he has a very workable sound in my opinion. Give him a few more years and he should grow into his voice.

Kelvin Kwan

Kelvin is really growing as an artiste, he just needs one breakout song to put him back into centre of attention. In my opinion he hasn't found the same success in his music as he did just when he came back.

Justin Lo

It looks like Justin is poised to take back what he left behind but this time with a bit more swagger and a bit more fun. He easily has one of the best Cantopop voices so lets celebrate it.


His voice is slowly being recognised. I remember when he debuted his swooning voice and falsetto already caught my attention but it's only recently that Siufay seems to be getting the recognition he deserves.

Stephanie Cheng

She released potentially her most successful track this year and a few other commendable hits. If she can capitalise on this success we might have another Fiona on our hands.

Alex Fung

His tracks have been polarising but he adds some interesting variations to the Hong Kong music scene.


I have long been a detractor of JW but this year she turned things around. She is slowly finding her own sound, stepping out of Janice's shadow. If Leon give his artistes a bit more freedom and promotion JW could come into her own soon.

Joyce Cheng

Joyce seems to always be forgotten but she has carved out her own path as a somewhat retro sounding Cantopop artiste. She does what she does well.

Lesley Chiang

Breaking out with Wingman, Lesley is proving that she is more than just a flash in the pan.

Best Newcomer

I no longer understand what defines a newcomer in HK awards standards so I'm going to keep it to what I always thought and limit it to those who have released an album unless they have been nominated or awarded a newcomer award by one of the four stations. On my count there are 25 artistes up for this and whilst there aren't that many breakout stars there are many decent contenders for a Top 10 spot. Before I disclose my Final 10 here are a few that just missed the cut.

Mason Ma, Lori Chow, Corinna Chamberlain

PS. There's no mention of Ivan Lee, Fred Cheung or Sammy Sum because I don't think they are 2013 newcomers, despite each being awarded this year I believe. MastaMic I think released something in 2011 and Lesley I'm sure has released something before.

Regen Cheung

I don't know how legitimate it is to call Regen a 2013 newcomer but I guess this is the year she went solo. She obviously has a musical style which she wants to develop and I'm happy to hear more from her in the future years, she provides some very easy to listen to tracks.

Recommended Songs: 莞爾, Get Back


I want to give
I want to give BOX a chance. They haven't done much this year but Hong Kong is missing a good male group. However from buzz and performance it looks like BOX might be quite a short lived group.

Recommended Songs: 大笨鐘

Lilian Wong

Lilian was one of the many newcomers this year but she managed to make a stronger impact than many others. She has a beautiful voice and shows her musical talent but I just need to hear a bit more from her.

Recommended Songs: 牆外之音, Cause My Music Comes Along

Cliff Chan

Cliff didn't get much exposure this year besides a brief appearance on TVB's Jade Solid Gold Chart but his track is quite interesting. Would like to hear more from him.

Recommended Songs: You Are the Only One

Carlson Cheng

I still don't know where Carlson sits in Cantopop, he didn't chart at all and is considered a foreign import? So I really don't know how to place him. But with a few interesting tracks in the bag Carlson sits comfortably as the Best Male Newcomer of 2013.

Recommended Songs: 天亮之前我愛你

Shandy Gan 

Shandy could have easily climbed higher on this list with her lovely bossa nova vibe if only she was a bit more prolific. It's difficult to push her much higher having only heard one song from her but I love it! Lets get more Shandy!

Recommended Songs: I Remember The

Vivian Chan

In all honesty I never expected to like Vivian Chan's music and I was honestly quite shocked when out of some of the Voice alumni she managed to get a contract and release an album but her music actually works and she has found her own sound. I congratulate her on successfully transitioning from a music competition wannabe to a fully fledged artiste.

Recommended Songs: 自救


They are effortlessly cool, they have a very interesting, alternative sound in which is missing in mainstream Hong Kong music. I wish them more success in the future as their progression could be amazing.

Recommended Songs: 鹽花, 風吹草動


It has been a tough battle between AGA and the newcomer just above her with AGA really only making her mark on me in 2014. However the coming months, years will be interesting. She has spent a long time in training and is obviously multi-talented so I'm expecting great things to come.

Recommended Songs: 問好, 一釐米


J.Arie was the newcomer to look forward to, she was everywhere when I was back in Hong Kong and deservedly so. She successfully continues the lineage of strong female newcomers Shiga, Mag, Sita and now her, that's quite a group to be associated with. Lets see how her career pans out because she definitely has something new to bring to the table

Recommended Songs: 第一志願, 我就是主角, 每一次都是你

Best Group/Band


Kolor sneaked into my Top 5 over some other established bands in the Hong Kong scene because of a more standout track. This years' Top 5 is going to look interesting!

Recommended Songs: 雲圖


goldEN are really under appreciated, they have the sound which could make very simple tracks work. They just need more publicity, support and music!

Recommended Songs: 戀循環

C Allstar

C Allstar continue to deliver decent songs and many that have captured the heart of diehard Cantopop fans. However if I'm to be honest I'm still waiting for the track which I really fall in love with for them.

Recommended Songs: 薄情歌, 大同


I only recently discovered KillerSoap and already they make it so high on my list (this is however a combination of a rather weaker year for bands/groups in 2013). I find their sound quite distinct in the Cantopop market which has really helped them carve their own identity within a quickly saturating scene.

Recommended Songs: 愛上晨光的禍, 不知不覺

Supper Moment

From making my newcomers list before Supper Moment has really blossomed and now can call themselves the Top Band of 2013 (for me of course). Two of their tracks have really left an impact on me this year and really show the ability of Supper Moment to make it big.

Recommended Songs: 無盡, 世界變了樣

Best Female

Ella Koon

After many years of hard graft it seems like Ella's pain is paying off. She finally enters my Top 5 with a number of well received tracks. She is on the rise, she just needs to find a truly successful style and not sit too comfortably on what has proven to work for others.

Recommended Songs: 你都不懂, 乾脆俐落, 謝謝你離開

Ivana Wong

Ivana had a relatively quiet year, choosing to focus on rearranging older songs and her bubbling TV/Film career. However she is fully aware of the music she wants to produce and this year was no exception. Every track she comes out with has equal amounts of Ivana's own style and substance.

Recommended Songs:皇后餐廳, 哥歌, 如果這是情


With G.E.M.'s innate ability it was only a matter of time when she makes it big. Whilst this year has been relatively quiet for her it has really been a beautiful year full of diversity in her music. She is still young and very much developing her vocals. If there is any young singer that can really change the face of Cantopop, it is her.

Recommended Songs: 你把我灌醉, 下一秒 (我們就要死掉), 偶爾, 潛意式的殘酷

Fiona Sit

Fiona is very much becoming the girl to take it, for the past year or two she has carved out a niche for herself and really managed to challenge the concrete Kings and Queens of Cantopop. This year she furthers her campaign and is within touching distance, bring on 2014.

Recommended Songs: 周末畫報, 告別我, 小小癡纏

Joey Yung

Joey still sits comfortably on top of her Cantopop throne because she simply provides the most versatility whilst not withholding on quality. There will be a day when Joey needs to step down but Joey is still very much at the peak of her career.

Recommended Songs: 另眼相看, 天窗, 小日子, 我杯茶

Best Male

Khalil Fong

Despite being virtually absent for most of the year Khalil's tracks have still managed to find a presence this year which has maintained his spot in this "prestigious" list. Khalil please come back in full force next year.

Recommended Songs: 關於愛的定義, I Want You Back

Jason Chan

Jason really came back with a bang for me this year. He has been toiling around for the last few years without much success and weighed down by a rather unsupportive label but this year he really surprised me with the tracks he released. I just hope the year ahead will be equally as successful and he finally finds back his feet and challenges the status quo.

Recommended Songs: 身邊人, Baby Don't Cry

Eason Chan

Eason is third this year because simply put there hasn't been a "hit song" for me. Eason has continued to churn out decent tracks but some of his choices this year have just not worked. Mind you there are still some beautiful Eason songs this year, it's just that he's not No.1 as shocking as that might be to some.

Recommended Songs: 床頭床尾, 同舟之情, Let it Out

Alfred Hui

Since being on the Voice Alfred has really been on a high ever since, he's one of the fastest growing singers out there and in such a short career has already made it further than many would have in double or even triple the time. So it seems apt that Alfred is at this spot, a real whirlwind to the top.

Recommended Songs: 青春頌, 魂遊太虛, 時光

Pakho Chau

Pakho has done it, it has been a long time coming and I don't think I ever expected this model-turned-singer to ever really capture my No.1 spot but this year Pakho has shown his versatility and ability to dominate in every facet and truly become an artiste who I would listen to.

Recommended Songs: 我的宣言, Imperfect, 摔角

Best Song


難為自己 - Janice Vidal
Lyricist - Lin Xi
Composer - Bryan Yeung
Arranger - Bryan Yeung
Producer - Mark Lui

It was a tough one between 難為自己 and You Go I Go but 難為自己 tipped it because it was more "listenable". You Go I Go made Janice somewhat relevant again but in 難為自己 Janice does what she does best without sounding like she's done it all before. Is Janice finally making her move back into the spotlight?

Recommended Songs - You Go I Go


紙牌屋 - Hacken Lee
Lyricist - Wyman Wong
Composer - Eric Kwok
Arranger - Isaac Chong
Producer - Eric Kwok

I rarely like Hacken songs but for some reason 紙牌屋 stood out. Hacken said he wanted to produce a catchy song this year and here it is! I think it has a lot to do with the Wyman/Eric duo why I like this song so much. It's classic Cantopop.


白光 (live) - Ellen Loo
Lyricist - Lin Xi (Original)
Composer - Kay Huang (Original)

Recommended Songs - 囂張, 圓滑

Ellen performs 白光, a Candy Lo song, with so much emotion and delicacy it's a beautiful performance.


最好的時刻 - Kay Tse
Lyricist - Adrian Chow
Composer - Cousin Fung@goldEN
Arranger - Cousin Fung@goldEN
Producer - Adrian Chow

Kay holds on to her line of Top 20 songs, just, with 最好的時刻. There's something about it that reminds me of her pre 囍帖街 years when she started to become generic.

Recommended Songs - 兩雙, I Have A Dream


I Want You Back - Khalil Fong
Lyricist - C君
Composer - Khalil Fong

Khalil, I Want You Back. You were simply too quiet this year. But I Want You Back gave me at least enough Khalil cool to go around for the year. As usual it brings Khalil's soul and jazz vibes to the best light whilst still being a catchy pop track.

Recommended Songs - 關於愛的定義


好得很 - Keeva Mak
Lyricist - Lin Xi
Composer - Christopher Chak
Arranger - Gary Tong
Producer - Alvin Leong

Keeva was floating around the music scene for what seems like years until she suddenly released this! I was not expecting it at all. 好得很 is a simple Cantopop track but it works well for it.

Recommended Songs - 病入膏肓


乾脆俐落 - Ella Koon
Lyricist - Riley Lam
Composer - AGA@Public Zoo
Arranger - Larry Wong@Public Zoo
Producer - Schumann

Ella's move to Warner has really helped her promote her music more. Whilst 乾脆俐落 might not be her most successful track this year it really shows Ella's voice well and how she can really bring emotion into any track.

Recommended Songs - 病入膏肓, 謝謝你離開


偶爾 - G.E.M.
Lyricist - G.E.M.
Composer - G.E.M.
Arranger - G.E.M.
Producer - Lupo Groinig

G.E.M.'s performance of this song is beautiful, I especially love that it's very stripped down and just about her and her piano. There's a delicate yet powerful tone in this track, something which truly shows how talented G.E.M. can really be. I hope the year ahead G.E.M. can continue to develop along these lines showing a more acoustic sensibility.

Recommended Songs - 你把我灌醉, 下一秒 (我們就要死掉), 潛意式的殘酷


錯過 - Charlene Choi 
Lyricist - C君 @the island
Composer - Terry Ho@the island
Arranger - Randy Chow@the island
Producer - Randy Chow@the island, Terry Ho@the island

Charlene had a quiet year but 錯過 really stayed in my memory from the beginning of the year to the end. The chorus is very catchy and this should be enough for people to finally realise that Charlene is very much a singer in her own right.


不知不覺 - KillerSoap
Lyricist - KillerSoap
Composer - KillerSoap
Arranger - KillerSoap
Producer - Anton Wong/KillerSoap

This is the song which brought me into KillerSoap's music so it just seems apt that this is what represents their inclusion into the Top 20. It is a soulful rock track that really displays KillerSoap's range and versatility. As KillerSoap starts to get slightly more mainstream lets hope they continue their distinct bandsound.

Recommended Songs - 愛上晨光的禍


炊煙 - Jinny Ng
Lyricist - Claudia Tsang
Composer - Claudia Tsang
Arranger - Joseph Wei
Producer - Herman Ho, Joseph Wei

Very few might expect this but Jinny Ng really did "blow up" for me with this track. For me, for some reason, all of Jinny's flaws just seem to work and especially so in this track. The haunting chorus and quirks that have followed her since her debut have really defined this track and left me wanting more since the start of the year.


今夜煙花燦爛 - Kary Ng
Lyricist - Pong Nan
Composer - Kary Ng, Gareth Chan(Spring Wo), Fergus Chow
Arranger - Fergus Chow, Gareth Chan (Spring Wo)
Producer - Kary Ng, Gareth Chan (Spring Wo), Fergus Chow

Kary has been targeted by many, saying she is selling out, losing her style and becoming generic but you can't deny there is something very sensual about 今夜煙花燦爛 that defies any critique and really is a song that captures Kary's voice very well. The chorus is one of the most beautiful and catchy of the year and really extends her 我本人 style for that much longer. 


天窗 - Joey Yung
Lyricist - Wyman Wong
Composer - Pakho Chau
Arranger - Alex Fung
Producer - Alex Fung

A beautiful Cantopop track performed none other than by Joey. Simplicity is key in this and Joey totally rocks it. The nuances within this track totally fits the Cantopop mold. This is what Cantopop sounds like to me but without Joey's moving vocals the song would literally not find its voice.

Recommended Songs - 另眼相看, 小日子, 我杯茶, 快樂最快


身邊人 - Jason Chan
Lyricist - Kenny So
Composer - Jun Kung@MoFo
Arranger - Fergus Chow
Producer - Jun Kung, Kelvin Avon@MoFo

This song is so underrated it's unbelievable. There's something so haunting about Jason's vocal in this and really detaches him from his usual lovelorn pop track. Jason really stepped it up this year after years of strolling around. There is such emotion and angst in this vocal, it is quite simply breathtaking. 

Recommended Songs - Baby Don't Cry


後備 - Sita Chan
Lyricist - 火火
Composer - Sita Chan
Arranger - Alan Wong, Janet Yung
Producer - Alan Wong, Janet Yung

We lost an amazing artiste this year with huge potential. It pains me everytime I hear this track, there's a mellowness that resonates within this track that seems so ironically apt. It is beautifully sung by Sita with a very solemn Cantopop tone that is where Sita fits best. I will miss you Sita, RIP.


周末畫報 - Fiona Sit
Lyricist - Abrahim Chan
Composer - Fergus Chow
Arranger - Fergus Chow
Producer - Fergus Chow

Fiona has gone down many a route this year and has found success in many of them but for me this is quite simply her best effort. It has the usual Fiona style whilst being a very catchy and danceable track. This is Fiona's bread and butter.


同舟之情 - Eason Chan/Jacky Cheung
Lyricist - Abrahim Chan, James Wong
Composer - Eric Kwok, Joseph Koo

Hong Kong is in a predicament, there are many problems and whilst 獅子山下 might simply not be the same lets leave away politics and truly appreciate a rather beautiful yet underrated song. Eason and Jacky's voice lend very well to an emotional duet that really sings out what the spirit of Hong Kong really should be. This is a song (even in this version) that defines Hong Kong and when I was back in Hong Kong this year this was very much a song that I listened to over and over again without getting bored.

Recommended Songs - 床頭床尾


青春頌 - Alfred Hui
Lyricist - Pong Nan
Composer - Pong Nan
Arranger - Johnny Yim
Producer - Johnny Yim

This is quite simply Alfred's best attempt at a anthem. Since his debut he has been carving out his own Cantopop style, treading on well trodden paths, but it is with 青春頌 that we finally realise that this is what he does best and 青春頌 is a beautifully apt track to be his crowning piece despite what some people might think of it as a rather simple track.

Recommended Songs - 魂遊太虛, 時光


摔角 - Pakho Chau
Lyricist - Abrahim Chan
Composer - Carl Wong
Arranger - Carl Wong
Producer - Carl Wong

On one level you might say this exacerbates Pakho's musical flaws but I just find myself tapping along to this song everytime I hear it. It's just a super catchy dance track which I didn't expect Cantopop to produce. It shows Pakho's versatility and real drive to be Cantopop's next King. Mind the slightly Blurred Line's-esque MV.

Recommended Songs - 我的宣言, Imperfect


無盡 - Supper Moment
Lyricist - Supper Moment
Composer - Supper Moment
Arranger - Supper Moment, Adrian Chan
Producer - Supper Moment, Adrian Chan

The lyrics and emotions conveyed through 無盡 are one of the few Cantopop songs that have managed to make me teary. In the rawest sense music should bring about emotion, whilst 無盡 might not be as catchy or as well produced as some other Cantopop songs in 2013 it really brings out a very pure emotion within and that is why it makes my No.1 of 2013.

Recommended Songs - 世界變了樣, 機械人

Best Lyricist Abrahim Chan
selected 2013 works - 無可避免 Dear Jane, 我的宣言 Pakho Chau, 摔角 Pakho Chau, 爽 Justin Lo, 說一句 Shiga Lin, 同舟之情 Jacky Cheung/Eason Chan, 非凡人生 Stephanie Cheng, 周末畫報 Fiona Sit, 手刃情人 Kelvin Kwan

Best Composer - Eric Kwok
selected 2013 works - 紙牌屋 Hacken Lee, 同舟之情 Jacky Cheung/Eason Chan, MMM~十三件唔知好過知的事 Edmond Leung, 手刃情人 Kelvin Kwan

Best Arranger Fergus Chow
Best Producer Fergus Chow