On March 15, Denise Ho (何韻詩) released her third Mandarin-language album, Coexistence <共存>, which she hopes will be a reminder to listeners that they must strive to coexist and learn to take care of one another, in order to have any hope of overcoming darkness.
While preparing for this new album, Denise drew inspiration from a Japanese documentary about Aokigahara, a scenic forest near the base of Mount Fuji. Aokigahara is a popular spot for suicides, due to its association with demons in Japanese mythology. In the documentary, the forest manager leads the photography team to a mysterious place. Initially, it seems like this place will be as gloomy and cryptic as the rumors say, but when the camera lens adopts the perspective of the forest manager, the viewer discovers that Aokigahara possesses a uniquely serene spirit because of its proximity to the natural world.
This concept lingered in Denise’s mind and determined the direction and focus of Coexistence. As a firm believer in love and harmony, Denise thinks that even though it looks like each person can exist individually, everyone is actually connected. Thus, it is crucial that we learn to care for one another and collaborate in our coexistence. In her new album, she hopes to show how modern people have become increasingly alienated in these changing times, but that concern for every level of society remains important.
Denise asked her close friend Wu Tsing Fong (吳青峯), the lead vocalist of Taiwanese indie band Sodagreen (蘇打綠), to pen the lyrics for her new album. After many years of working together, they have become a prominent example of coexistence. Tsing Fong likened their collaboration to “putting someone’s organs into the body of someone else who needs them. Her songs contain my cells, and my lyrics contain her blood.”
In order to bring a multifaceted appearance to the album, Denise’s record label also invited Hong Kong indie band Chochukmo (觸執毛), Hong Kong singer/composer Endy Chow (周國賢), and mainland indie artist Kulu Leung (梁曉雪) to compose for Coexistence.
The theme of coexistence is depicted on the album cover, which shows a set of playground equipment arranged to spell out “coexistence” in Chinese. Members of Chochukmo, as well as of Green Mountain Orchestra (青山大樂隊), which has worked with Denise in the past, were invited to participate in the photoshoot, as were Denise’s assistant, make-up artist, and hair stylist. The bright colors of the playground imbue a sense of naïveté and happiness, which Denise hopes will encourage listeners to rediscover simplicity and joy.
Tracklist for Coexistence:
01. Alcohol and Cigarette (酒精和菸)
02. Faceless People (無臉人)
03. If We Had Time for Only One More Song (如果我們只剩一首歌的時間)
04. What Do You Love?
05. Bohemia (波西米亞)
06. To My Past Self (對過去的我說)
07. The Science of Crying (眼淚教我的事)
08. Bye Bye
09. The Third Day at Aokigahara (在青木原的第三天)
10. One Another (彼此)
“The Science of Crying” MV
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“Faceless People” MV
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“One Another” Audio Only
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This article is written by Joanna for JayneStars.com.