George Lam - Oi Do Faat Siu (love Fever)
Most of the artists involved in Canto-pop were individuals who were possessed of little or no talent who put out albums of these largely soppy ballads. For the follower, what was important was a chance to see their idols and the show. Performances were flashy with lots of costume changes, dancers, fancy lighting and occasionally some pyrotechnics. This frequently covered up for the fact that, in several cases (Lau Tak-wah for example) the performer could not sing. It was the spectacle not the music which was important.
In many ways, Hong Kong's music scene prophesied what would happen in the UK in the nineties and beyond. There had been earlier instances of actors putting out records to cash in on their popularity (Lee Marvin and Telly Savalas had done it in the seventies). Conversely, some actors put out albums to try to bring to popularity a music they loved - Bruce Willis for example. Yet in Hong Kong, this trend reached its pinnacle. Actors had to put out albums to cash in on their popularity before it faded. The shows for them must have been a nightmare for while deficiency in merit can be covered up by production techniques, live performances could not. Some lip-synched to overcome their deficiencies. Some just sounded bloody awful and could not care less one way or the other.
Of these Hong Kong "entertainers", Lam Ji-cheung, George Lam, was one of the better examples. He was a reverse of the norm - a singer who branched out into acting, and was responsible for some of the more acceptable Canto-pop of the time. This album pretty much represents mid eighties Canto-pop at its best. Admittedly, that is not saying much, but this is better than a lot of the truly awful stuff that was put out. One or two tracks are okay on their own, but there is still a lot of dross in here. Of the better tracks, the title track is probably the highlight and in all probability is the best that Canto-pop ever got to, with its dance theme and its repetitive and obvious hook line. Unmistakeable is how I would describe it, and what more could you want from a pop record. But then, dross was the genre and no one who wanted a career in Canto-pop could escape that.
This would not be a Canto-pop album without a cover of someone or other and in this case, the obvious covered song is Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl", named here as "Ngoh Oi Lei" (or I Love You) - in any event nothing to do with the original song title. Just to make sure that you get the message (or is to make sure that the maximum amount of mileage is gained from the royalty fee paid over) there is a second version of it sung a capella. Thankfully Lam has the vocal ability to carry this off without it sounding like a strangled cat.
I suppose after so long it was inevitable that a Canto-pop album would have slipped itself into my album collection. This is probably the best of the genre, though that doesn't say much. As for George Lam himself, well he married a Taiwanese-Canadian songstress called Sally Yeh. They moved to Canada to live and as far I know neither has done anything since.
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on 2011-06-02 CharlesMartel Said:
I can honestly say that this is the best of Canto-pop. Believe me, that is no great praise.