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About 'Jer Lau's' 'Decisive Moments in History'' , and how to discuss a song

Original article::IG@mirror_etc (link)

“Decisive Moments in History” premiered on the radio, the sound quality was not good enough to make out the layers of the arrangement, but it was good enough to bring tears to my eyes. An hour later, it hit all the major music platforms and I was able to put on my headphones and listen to it several times, but the emotion was still there.

A few hours later, friends were sending me feedback from all over the place. There are many criticisms and disappointments, not the overwhelmingly positive reviews of 'Diary of a Madman' and 'Instruments of Sand'. The melodies are too generic, not special enough, not "exotic" enough, reduced to a big chorus band sound karaoke, and some point to the fact that it was originally composed by Supper Moment, no wonder it's so bad. I hesitate, is it really that bad? I started to understand their disappointment by repeating the cycle ten times. With a heart that was so moved by him, I wanted to respond to these (many of them quite decisively) negative reviews.

The 'CRHK 903 Live Concert' at the end of September between Keung Tao, Jer Lau, Tyson Yoshi and Lam KaHim was no less controversial; Jer's solo performance was not up to his usual standard, he said beforehand that he had a sensitive windpipe, and after the show he gave himself a score of 70. But the most criticised part of the show was the lack of sparkle in the four-piece chorus, with 'The One Who Left Behind' reaching the level of a car firing, and the accusations being directed at Commercial Radio's producers and curators for picking a song they couldn't handle and for not adjusting the rehearsal process. A few days later, Jer himself came forward to "admit responsibility": "I chose all four songs together.

When talking about music, as with any creative endeavour, a certain degree of subjectivity is inevitable. And even the most in-depth analysis and skilled commentary is not as important as whether a piece of work moves you. But can we talk about a song better than "I think", "too big" or "not exotic enough"? If a song doesn't move you, do we have to give it a negative rating immediately?

The majority of the criticism of 'When Humanity Shines' is that the melody is too big, the chorus rises and the chorus surges like a fundraising party-style chorus, and Jer, widely regarded as one of Mirror's most musically powerful and vocalists, carries the most musical expectations, especially with the first two songs in the 'Story' and 'Rebirth' series, which are a surprise start for a newcomer, as if Every new song is a new trick.

The melodic pattern of "Decisive Moments in History" is indeed a very traditional pop rock song, with progressions and key rises that could be considered formulaic, and it is indeed the most melodically familiar of Jer's two trilogies (not counting 'The Magic Road'). As for those who don't like the idea of Jer Lau paying tribute to Supper Moment again (largely due to their political rhetoric this year), forget about it, I don't care for Supper Moment either, but it was a band that had a profound impact on Jer.

So while people are disappointed that Jer has become too poppy, we forget that Jer, who started Supper Moment, was already into pop music. But he was more eclectic than most Hong Kong people, so he loved 'Bohemian Rhapsody' so much that he wanted to put a Prog Rock twist on it to become 'Diary of a Madman', and given how popular 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was, why wasn't it a pop song? Both The Tale and Rebirth series have tried to build on the pop sound and explore different possibilities, and so does 'Decisive Moments in History'.

A big choral pop rock song that comes to mind is probably 'Today I' (aka 'Sea and Sky'), 'Wonderwall' by Oasis, 'Bittersweet Symphony' by the Verve, which are probably more difficult to write than 'Vessels of Sand', it's not hard to make a work good, it's not hard to make it good, it's hard to make it good and make it good.

I also feel that 'Decisive Moments in History' is less melodic than the others, but this 'flaw' is a clearer indication of what makes Yoo Ying-ting so valuable. It doesn't even have the lyrics, which are a mix between philosophical and sophomoric, and Carl Wong's arrangement, which is a dead mixer. If a man is stripped naked, his body's flaws are nowhere to be seen; if you look at an actor's art film and not just his art film, but also his bad film, then he is probably a good actor.

Many people say that whenever Eason Chan and Yoga Lam cover someone else's songs, they become their own songs. Wong Wai Man said that Eason Chan is a supermodel who can master a wide range of different styles of songs and can bring a mediocre song back to life even if you give it to him (for example, Eason Chan's cover of "Don't Leave Me Too Far" and Yoga Lam's cover of "Make It Whole"). In 'The Magic Road' and 'Decisive Moments in History' I saw Jer Lau singing with graphic and atmospheric inspiration.


I can't help but mention Eason Chan and Yoga Lam when I talk about Jer Lau. It's not that I'm trying to say who Jer Lau resembles, but the emotions I've felt listening to him over the past six months have reminded me of the excitement I felt listening to "Be With Me Always" in '97, and the excitement I felt watching "Superstar Avenue" in '08 when I heard Yoga Lam sing "The Man Who Walks the Rope" and "Creep", and discovering one of the most standard and flexible pop baritones.
On the night of the Broadway concert, as the intro of the first song started to play, I was already wondering what standard we would get tonight. Halfway through the concert, his solo session began with 'Sand Vessel', and it was not until 'Let Us Go Then You and I' that he slowly came back to life. I was sweating for him throughout the night, but I was just resigned to the fact that Jer wasn't stable enough live. A few days later I watched the whole thing again and I had a different idea. I'm glad that this should be the lower limit of his live performance, but in the Mirror concert and the JOOX live with Jay Fung we saw how good he can be at this point.
Whether it's in “Tale of Light” series, "Reborn Trilogy" or his song choices, I see Yoo's sincerity as a singer in this era. “The Shape of Water” is about being saved from despair, “The Firefly of Galaxy”is about the beauty that can be achieved despite disillusionment, and “Decisive Moments in History” is about being grateful for one's own strength even though one is small. ...Jer Lau's choice of songs proves that he feels the hardship and emotions of the times and he wants to respond to them with his songs.
I remember that from his debut in the 2008 talent show to around 2014, his live performance would fluctuate. Before each concert, I would pray that I would get an above-standard Yoga Lam tonight. If I have spent six years with Yoga Lam, why can't I spend some time with Jer Lau? He has only been in the business for three years and solo for two years, so there is definitely a lot of room for improvement, such as his inability to control how he interprets his internal songs. But he has the natural voice, the musical taste, the passion for singing and the sincerity to convey his message, he has it all. With his enthusiasm, you can trust that he will evolve into a full-fledged artist, and are willing to put your time on the line to grow with him.
The communication ecosystem that singers face today is very different from the golden years of pop culture 30 years ago. The upside is that exposure is no longer controlled by a few TV stations and major newspapers and magazines, and they can communicate directly with their audiences through various online platforms. There used to be a few music shows a week on TV, major charity fundraisers and variety shows, plus small, medium and large shopping malls inviting singers who hadn't yet become popular to perform, all of which were opportunities for them to build up their live experience. Today, Jer's first performance of "Sand Weapon" was on the AWE stage, and his first performance of "Diary of a Madman" was at the Mirror concert, not to mention the fact that last year, due to the epidemic, newcomers were not even given the chance to perform live. The number of albums released by pop stars in the past was about one a year.
In the past, the average pop singer released one album a year, with three out of 10 songs being released on stage, and at a certain stage, singers would start to transform. Nowadays, Mirror is not releasing a physical album, but each of them has three to four songs per year, each of which has to hit the spot. With the rise of YouTube and streaming platforms, the unit of music changing from albums to singles, and everyone being able to express their own feelings about what they've heard, artists changing every three months, making huge leaps forward in their vocals, and receiving critical acclaim from all directions, Mirror went crazy and two extremes came into play: sometimes in fan tg groups, people would try to avoid criticising their idols, and even hype their cars for live performances. At the same time, some would use a magnifying glass to examine their inaccuracies and criticise them for being overly commercialised. Last Sunday, Lui talked about 'My Apple Pie' on IG live. From his words, we can see that he has seriously read through many of his audience's comments and then responded point by point: whether the song itself has broken through the miserable karaoke style he established in the first two songs, or even the pronunciation of the Cantonese and English lyrics. I believe that he actually cares.
Jer debuted in early 2020. Two years is such a short period of time for a performer and a musician. It often takes more than ten years to become a mature performer. I've always enjoyed watching Taiwan's singing talent shows, and the standard of singing is much better than the contestants in Hong Kong's "Good Night Show", but I've since realised that most of the contestants in Taiwan are already trainees signed to record labels, and there are more opportunities for smaller shows in Taiwan, but the newcomers in Hong Kong are likely to show up as blank sheets.

For the past 10 or 20 years or so, I've almost ignored Cantonese music, thinking why settle for less when there's so much great indie electronic jazz-rock music out there. Because of Jer Lau, I started to listen to Manson and more Hong Kong artists and realised that there are more young people in Hong Kong who are concentrating on pop music and are more daring and energetic than ever before. I began to feel ashamed of myself. Did they suddenly explode in the last two years, or were there other dedicated and powerful people that I had refused to see before? Or did we not work together to provide the right soil for them to flourish?

Everyone can rate a song, and there's nothing wrong with a piece of work that doesn't move you. Let me say it again: no amount of analysis or criticism is as important as a piece of work that moves you. But to say something so absolute because of one or two bad songs or one or two inaccurate performances, sometimes I wonder if we haven't had similar experiences in real life, where we were dismissed by our predecessors because we weren't mature enough? If I don't want to be treated that way, I don't want to treat people that way. And that's not to be kind to Jer or Mirror, but in these difficult times, if we see the sincerity of the other person, whether it's a singer, an author or a colleague, we can let them take their time and refuse to be quick to judge.

Criticism, whether of music or other works of art, is much more than just pointing out the shortcomings of a work from God's perspective. In practice it is impossible to look beyond one's own perspective and ideology, but in order to be fair and to facilitate discussion, what the reviewer can do is to try to explain where his or her point of view comes from. A good review should offer a perspective on the work, and the review itself is not just about the work and the creator, but also about the audience/reader, allowing both the reader and the viewer to reflect on how they understand the work, and even themselves through the creation. Reviewing, understanding and thinking about a work can be a multi-directional process of communication in itself.

A week after the concert, a fan posted in a group that a netizen had chased Jer's vocals and was upset with him. Jer, who had been diving for a long time, suddenly took to the water and responded with this.

"Don't care about him
I don't care 😂😂😂
My own performance is worth a lot of points
It doesn't even matter if I'm supposed to be there"

"I used to respect him for using his music to talk
I think he's using it to make his presence felt
You could be a web writer now"

When I saw these two messages, the first thing I wanted to do was to kneel down and worship Jer Lau, who was so arrogant in a group of 20,000 people on the high seas, not afraid of being taken to task. This is what I admire most about Scorpio Jer Lau. He is not blindly confident, knowing that his performance is only a 70, but at the same time, he is not confused by the noise from outside. Carl Wong replied, "No, he knows exactly what he wants to do and what is most important to him, and nothing else will interfere with him. What Jer Lau wants to do most and only. It's the music he believes in. He is focused on music and puts his own self-esteem in the right place.

Jer is the best in the universe!!

(Note: I've always been uncomfortable with the "“Tale of Light” series". I was walking alone at night at my destination, and I started to shout when I heard the words "The universe is broken and beautiful". I was reassured that even if something precious disappears, it is actually nurturing other unexpected things. (I believe there is an amazing destiny for everyone to meet a work at a certain time.

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