This is the first album published by Beyond guitarist Paul Wong after the Hong Kong rock band announced a split in 1999. Early 2001 was the time when I was still buying and collecting cassettes. Cassettes were sold at a lower price, and compact discs were about twice and thrice the cassette price.
The album’s first song is Unparalleled (無得比). It is a song written by Paul to his then girlfriend – now his wife Athena Chu, who several years back gave birth to their daughter. Another Day (某日) is another song dedicated to Chu.
Shameful (丟架) is the second song of the album. This was the song which said to be of Paul’s criticism of then Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa (董建華). Tung was the first chief executive after Hong Kong’s handover to China in July 1997.
While expressing his criticism, Paul invited his friends from Lazy Mutha Fucka (LMF) to sing aloud Hong Kong Will Excel (香港一定得). Which poises to be a boost of confidence for the Hongkongers. On a quieter piece, Paul’s expression of his passion for the city in the song Good Night Hong Kong (香港晚安) is well presented by the lyrics written by lyricist Lau Cheuk-Fai (劉卓輝).
To the surprise of many fans, Paul invited Luna Sea guitarist Sugizo to feature in the guitar solo part of What the Hell Newspapers (乜 Q 報章).
Having listened to this album for so many years, it is only fair to say this. To say that Paul Wong actually lives up to the music spirits of late band member Wong Ka Kui, this album is surely a proof of his music achievement and aspiration. The album collected eleven songs – ten Cantonese and one instrumental – and I have been listening to them all the time.
Whether it is rainy winter days in Taipei or hot sunny days in Malaysia and Singapore, this is the album which literally keeps me company throughout my language work journey. And I still keep the album in my laptop bag, so that I can listen to it when I am working on my translation projects in any part of the world.
If anyone asks me if there is any album of comparable standard from Paul Wong in later years, I would say it definitely is Play It Loud. Which I am looking to buy one CD copy when I visit Hong Kong later.