During this period where we are hunkering down for P2HA measures once more, feeling the pain from social isolation and having to put our “endemic life plans” on hold, it’s understandably challenging to go about our daily lives with optimism or excitement, to say the least.
That’s why music has been one of our all-time favourite means to de-stress and feel better – more empathised, more uplifted and more hopeful.
These qualities can be found in the recent Mandopop songs from musicians in their 40s, who sing with wisdom and depth from life experience. Here are eight such works, available on music streaming platforms such as KKBox, Spotify and Apple Music.
Given the current impracticality of international travel, Singaporean singer-songwriter Tanya Chua’s soothing new single Depart is a comforting reminder of the freedom of the human spirit.
The 46-year-old wrote both its melody and lyrics, which convey the optimism of a rainbow emerging after a thunderstorm, when one’s wanderlust can once again be indulged.
The Cantonese and Mandarin versions of 47-year-old Hong Kong singer Miriam Yeung’s latest single were released days apart in June and tell a two-part story of a woman trapped in the quagmire of love.
The Mandarin version, titled Someone Loved You, is part two, and – spoiler ahead – sees the woman feeling both liberated and sad after exiting the sticky situation. It might speak to listeners who feel weighed down by love or the lack of it.
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Released in June, just before JJ Lin’s Sanctuary Finale Virtual Concert, his new hit Light Of Sanctuary radiates with a warm glow. In it, the 40-year-old Singaporean superstar thanks fans who have supported his Sanctuary world tour.
The emotional and uplifting new song has already saw more than 1.1 million plays on Spotify, and its music video, featuring crowded stadiums at Lin’s concerts, has scored more than 1.2 million views on YouTube.
Over the years, versatile Taiwanese singer-actress Vivian Hsu, 46, has showed many sides of herself, from pretty idol to mother extraordinaire.
In the music video of her new song Rock It Off, she unleashes her no-nonsense rock-chick persona, singing “no one tells me what to do” in a punk-style outfit, against a galloping beat.
Known for her heartfelt ballads, Taiwanese singer Maggie Chiang, 40, delivers a delicate rendition of the tender number Still Around, a theme song of the Taiwanese drama Tears On Fire (2021), which centres on a group of firefighters. Her soft voice is perfect for conveying the pain and frustration faced by the characters as they encounter life-or-death situations.
In her long career, Taiwanese diva A-mei has pulled off heart-rending power ballads and high-energy dance numbers.
The 48-year-old’s recent release, Slowly, is an ode to slowing down and taking the time to appreciate people around you. It is timely in the middle of a world-stopping pandemic.
Given its easy pace and breezy, carefree vibe, the song is a shoo-in to be a karaoke favourite and another feather in the Mandopop queen’s cap.
The voice of Taiwanese singer Aska Yang often conveys a sense of heightened drama, and the 43-year-old uses this to good effect in Love You Forever, a theme song of the Chinese fantasy romance movie of the same name, released in 2020.
The song’s intensity communicates the deep emotions felt by the movie’s protagonists, who are linked across time and connected by destiny.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.