once upon a time, when i was an impressionable young music lover, i used to consume k-song (for cantopop) and ballads (pronouced as "ba-lak" by the chinese for mandopop) like no others, that was, until i acquired more tastes and discerning power la when i approached 30s. nowadays, i absolutely avoid this kind of music in my pop diet.
i don't know when the term k-song or ba-lak was coined. must be in the 90s when karaoke was the hottest pastime in hk, taiwan and malaysia.
what kind of music is categorized as k-song or ba-lak songs? simple. typical chinese k-song has predictable structure of verse-verse-chorus-verse-chorus or variations of the same theme. and sadder still, a lot of them have the same darn chord progressions! making it hell of a bore for sessionists to play, especially virtuoso sessionists who are not tuned to chinese pop music!
k-song or ba-lak songs have killer choruses, the kind that can repeat ad nauseum and make you sing the instance you hear it. it is no-brainer kind of ear-friendly, it is very catchy and impressionable. it makes you want to sing-along. it is perfect for karaoke, that's why it is made for.
in today's overly commercialized and highly manufactured pop scene, k-songs or ba-lak songs are considered essential to attract the young generation of music lovers. they are shallow, easily digestible and easily forgettable too but who cares? it is like KFC or McD, they taste good eventho' we know they are not healthy.
but for the minority of discerning music lovers, k-songs or ba-lak songs are being looked at with contempt and disgust, cos they have absolutely no literary value in the history of pop music. to be fair, the same thing can be said to the today's western pop music, altho' they don't really call it k-songs or ba-lak.
but like everything in life, there are good k-songs and there are bad k-songs. we have some which we truly like over the years and would like to share with the readers here. let's start with k-songs first, i mean, cantopop k-songs. later, we will do mandopop ba-lak songs, shall we?
1) janice wei lan 衛蘭 【大哥】 [big brother]
when i visited hk in 2006, janice was so hot. she was first launched as an artiste with a great voice but without being shown her face. so it had many people guessing how she actually looked like. this is the first single that launched her career. we love it. even now we listen to it, we still love it. it has all the ingredients of a perfect k-song.
unfortunately , janice vidal, under leon lai's management does not really make it into top league. i feel she is wasted under leon lai. i would love to have her as my artiste!