As listeners await the release of Khalil Fong‘s upcoming album “Journey to the West” or《JTW 西游记》, he has begun releasing individual promotional singles about once a month. After last month’s epic ode to the hero Sun Wu Kong (孙悟空), Khalil returns with a duet with singer Jane Zhang.
If “Wu Kong” was reflective of Khalil’s current electronic R&B style, “Que Sera” is trip back to his earlier days of “Love Love Love” (2006). Almost, but not really. The track is a simple and light ballad (sung in the R&B style, of course), with Khalil singing the first few verses, followed by Jane Zhang, before the two singers both join in harmony.
As straightforward as its promotional cover (see above picture) is its lyrics and its message. With minimal lyrical variety, a large portion of track is spent hearing them simply sing “无所谓” — almost to the point that the lyrics, as written for the song — really don’t matter. Then again, Khalil Fong isn’t exactly praised for his songs’ lyrics. And then there was this line:
(You’re) my real bae
^You have no idea how many times auto-correct tried to change that.
The music itself is generally nice-sounding and catchy, though perhaps a bit on the saccharine side. Unfortunately, Khalil’s voice is rather plain-sounding and lacks, very much unlike his own music and passion, a soul. Jane Zhang, on her own part, was alright and harmonized quite nicely with Khalil, but never truly stood out either. All in all, the simplicity caused the song itself to fall flat into the realm of generic and unmemorable Mandopop ballads.
But you like ballads . . . you listen to them all the time . . . your favorite artists are generally ballad singers . . .
It’s true that quite a few of my favorite songs are also “merely just commonplace” Mandarin ballads. Yet those ballad singers have more conviction, a more unique voice — and definitely something more to the equation than just decent singing and a catchy tune. After all these years, I still can’t place what makes “Blown by the Summer Wind” or “Coral Sea” so much better than “It Doesn’t Matter”.
Perhaps it’s in the title itself — it really just “doesn’t matter”.
Overall, I’m slightly disappointed. It’s not good, not bad, just there.
Khalil Fong’s album “Journey to the West” is set for release in September 2016. The single “It Doesn’t Matter” ft. Jane Zhang can be downloaded and streamed on iTunes and Spotify.
UPDATE: MV released 07/04/16