Since her debut, Korean-Taiwanese Shi Shi Sun 孫盛希 has always been touted as one of the most promising artists on the scene. Known for her signature fluid, silken vocals, the R&B artist has always been praised for her increasingly skilled abilities as a singer and songwriter over the length of her career. Yet with her self-produced third album ‘女人Woman’ (a reference to her first debut album titled ‘Girls’), the 10-track album has left me wondering whether Shi Shi is truly ready to take on full control of her works as a singer, songwriter, and producer.
The album cover; which sees Sun sporting a head full of pink hair and features an abstract mix of pastel colours reminds me strongly of Zooey Wonder’s album ‘Wonderland’ released last year, whereas the pink hair takes me back to yet another indie artist Bai An’s second album ‘What’s Next’. Already, kind of starting off the whole ‘album differentiation’ thing on the wrong foot for me.
The album itself is thankfully a solid and well-meaning stab at bringing something different to the contemporary Mandopop scene; featuring Shi Shi’s self-penned tracks-unique in their fluid, subtly ‘it’s complicated’ vibes -against a mesh of experimental EDM, R&B, hip hop and pop. Certainly fresh, and a healthy addition to a scene which is struggling to break free from its balladic clutter. But it is clear at several points throughout the progression of the album that the singer is not well-equipped enough to take the reins fully, something that shows in the songwriting technique and overall vision for the album.
“Chaos分裂” is a song with a mysterious melody that is lilting and haunting; written in a non-conventional form, the play between hardness and softness is intriguing. Yet coupled together with a non-immersive set of backing vocals and an experimental electronic arrangement that seems a little too calculated to truly pull off chaos, Shi Shi’s voice is lost amongst the madness.