December 11, 2010

Step In To My Dreams, Susan Wong.

This ones' hot and fresh from the oven! Just released for sale on 24th October 2010. I've been following Susan Wong's music career since her early efforts under the guidance of mentor/producer Keith Yip, with albums like Close To You and Susan Wong 2. She is now recording under the Evosound label with a more urban and sophisticated style, both in substance and packaging qualities.

For some very wicked and perverse reason her latest album cover art reminds me of the highly airbrushed/photo shopped effect, much like Mariah Carey's No.1s album cover art! However this music review is not about her appearance(which most of us will agree that she's actually quite a babe) , but rather about the music and sound quality of the recording.

Susan seems to have settled in to her comfort zone of tried and tested laid back re-arrangements of cover hits past and present. Not a song on this album will ever ruffle your hair! Well, I guess she's just catering to her main targeted audience, the middle age audiophile unkers(beer belly, receding hair line and all!) wants. For these unkers, the good news is that, she is still singing with that queer, soft highish(come to bed with me) tone of voice that almost all audiophile female vocalist of Chinese origin(think Tong Li as an extreme example) use as currency of their trade. We have the late Teresa Teng, who was the originator of this vocal signature on some of her most memorable songs to thank, for the current state of affairs(to be fair, Teresa is often imitated by seldom equaled).

I must however praise her for being brave enough to take on new materials like Beyonce's recent massive smash hit Halo, but I find the effort in vain, as the song is just simply too big for Susan's vocal range, plus, who can compare to Beyonce's vocal prowess anyway?

Other songs from this 14 tracked, mostly 60's & 70's era pop/folk influenced album that interest me includes Susan's take on Something, which is actually quite good, Simon & Garfunkel's Sound Of Silence. She also re makes Happy Together which is originally rather up beat to become her own. The recent radio friendly "green anthem" called Big Yellow Taxi is also well interpreted. For me however, it was her excellent re make of the Beatles hit I Wanna Hold Your Hands that stole the show. The musician ship quality backing Susan is actually pretty good too, come to think of it, especially Ignacio Lamas subtle and effective classical guitar play for vocal companion.

The recording quality is where her latest albums differ most compared her previous non Evosound releases. There's now a darker, more accomplished quality to the overall sound. The highs are now softer, more refined too. Recording noise floor is low and the layer of whitish haze back ground evident on her earlier efforts are now banished.

This is a relaxing, easy listening album for the audiophile female vocalist brigade and certainly a must buy for her fans and fiends alike!

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