The second track “Freakshow” on which Amit collaborated with Hush opens with sounds of the mandolin and accordion that put across the essence of circus music before the same metal-influenced sound re-enters, to let listeners know that things are not as cheery as they had previously seemed. Although on the surface, the lyrics seem to describe the thrill of watching unnatural beings at the circus, one realizes soon enough that the lyrics are entirely ironic due to the overly dark sound of the song. Being able to pull off such a balancing act, yet have the song’s meaning come through so clearly is a feat in itself. But even more interesting to me is how A-mei made a poignant commentary on the spectacle that the tabloids in Taiwan have turned celebrities into so artfully.
The third song “Matriarchy” is hands down my favourite song on the album. To me, it is a pioneering effort at feminism that refuses to be softened by the collectivist nature of Taiwanese society and the noncritical nature of most Taiwanese pop. Not saying all those songs about girls sticking together are necessarily a bad thing, but at some point, shock tactics have got to come into play to make society realize that females are just as capable-if not more so-than men. And this is the perfect song to do so while being taken seriously. Starting off simple in a minor key on the piano, Amit’s throaty vocals take the spotlight as she sings about how culture and tradition restricts and degrades women: “In this world men are seen as Kings / yet all burdens are shouldered by women”. This time heavily influenced by Rock, I felt the arrangement and melody complemented each other perfectly, creating atmospheric spaces and using classical piano to create an eerie, mentally unstable state in the verses before coming in strong in the choruses with resilient, resolute chords on the electric guitar, hinting at a method within the madness. Amit sings aggressively, with the passion and experience of a woman who has been put down time and again by society, and is willing to take a stand for the happiness of herself and women everywhere.
Another one of my favourites that follows suit is “Full of Conflict”, which denotes a change in perspective; this time moving more towards folk riffs on the guitar against EDM-style beats. I love how the song’s arrangement encompasses this theme of conflict to the core, by pairing larrikin pluckings on the guitar with the total opposite; electronic beats. The melody is heartwarming as Amit sings of the conflicting themes that make humans who they are; incomplete and always curious, thus making everything around us conflicting, be it our concept of time, the universe, faith, languages, or music.
The fifth track “Let go of that artwork” is a smooth transition further into the EDM/dance music genre that echoes influences from A-mei’s “Faces of Paranoia” album. It is ironic for me to review this song as it says that the soul of art is hard to put into words, and thus rather than analysing such works, one should go out and feel what it truly means to be present, to be yourself; as that is the key to creativity. However, I think the melody and arrangement fit perfectly with the lyrics, starting off serene like clear waters untouched by pigments or colours, before bit by bit layers are added and taken away to create a beautiful work of art. So for all the creators out there, heed Amit’s advice, let go of this or any work of art and just be yourself!
You may have noticed that with the slow and seamless transition of topics and genre fusions, Amit’s album has gone from adrenaline filled heavy metal tracks, slowly toning down to rock, then EDM, and upon entering the sixth track “Not Sleeping” reaches its most peaceful point with a forage into folk rock. The song starts off reflective, ambient but as the lyrics and the story progresses, the night deepens thoughts about past lovers and life in general flood ones’ mind and insomnia has well and truly kicked in. The arrangement follows suit, adding in grungy rock-influenced riffs on the guitar to create a muted, yet energized feel for the song, and adding a layer of drums in the next chorus to give the song yet another layer of alertness as it progresses.
“Hard to deal with”, the eighth track on the album is a rather simple piece arrangement wise, but features an effortlessly beautiful and reflective piano part that creates feelings of vulnerability and instability that Amit’s throaty and emotive vocals mirror well. Here, Amit sings of her flaws and internal conflicts that many, including myself understand all too well. Simply done, but perfectly executed. The final song on the album “Whad’dya want” has lyrics written by the talented Eve Ai, and as a result the song is filled with her passionate, yet easy to understand phrases that fit in with the heavy metal/EDM song well. Once again critiquing the superficiality of society, this song acts as a last note from Amit pertaining to the current state of humanity. The album has come full circle, with the return to heavy metal influences in this song indicative of that fact.
On a final note, much thought has been put into every aspect of this album. It is relatable, accessible, and very easy to listen to , as avant-garde music goes. From the careful selection of genres, to how the songs fit together to tell stories; the entire rhythm of this album has been coordinated to perfection so as not to shock the listener too much, but also to remind them of the original intention of this album. Amit’s passion and frustration are what shine through in this album; two emotions that come out of a love for this earth and for society. These two battling forces are what makes this album primarily so dynamic and so listenable. To be able to create a compromise between them is something that very few are able to do well; and Amit is very certainly one of them. Couldn’t be happier with this album.