1989

by SK Chow

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about

SK Chow's solo debut 1989 draws inspiration from a diverse range of pop artists, notably Air, Belle and Sebastian, and My Bloody Valentine.

From the swirling shoegaze of "Typhoon Dot", the chamber-folk of "Silver Jetliner" to the explosive theatre of "Titanic", 1989's calvacade of styles is commanded by SK Chow's "Wall-of-Sound" arrangements and "Hit Machine" melodies.

The lyrics describe a year of great upheaval in the world as experienced by small child. Fascination over technological progress and architectural wonders dominate a stage backlit by international turmoil and sorrow ("Typhoon Dot"; "Hirohito".)

SK Chow's own immigrant experience flows throughout this personal work: 1989's first seven tracks evoke his early life in Hong Kong, while the last half explores his earliest interests and memories in and of the United States.

Guest artist Devin McCutchen contributed "Earthquake Blues," a song about the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

credits

released October 1, 2013

All titles composed by SK Chow (except "Earthquake Blues" by
Devin McCutchen and "Typhoon Dot" co-written with Andy California)

Produced and recorded by SK Chow
Recorded at Studio Uno in San Jose, California, June 2010 to September 2013.

See booklet for complete performer credits.

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Pedal Tone Records Sacramento, California

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Track Name: Overture/Aberdeen
And they come and they go
As the young and the old
Live their lives unseen
On the Aberdeen
All the boats in the yard
All of them taking part
In the inevitable
The changing of guards
In the old marketplace
Still the fisherman’s way
Still the faraway poor
To the folks on the shore
Track Name: The View from Carrie Court
In ’89 the world was fine
There were shopping malls and ports of call
On the TV set there were cartoon shows
That played all day
On home recorded video
In ’89 the scene was bright
A new skyscraper in the sky
A Sunday in this modern life
So neat and pleased to go out to the movie
I loved My Neighbor Totoro
I still don’t understand it
And forgotten all about it but I felt
Safe inside the cinema house
Safe inside the movie

In ’89 they had ice cream pop
That you could buy across the street
In the basement store
They had pop and more
And treats so sweet
We’d get a bunch to share
With our maid and my dad and movers
They’re packing everything up
And saving extra boxes for me
To build a tunnel I could crawl through
Safe inside the cardboard
 
In ’89 I went to the light
A beacon there on top of the hill
That I’d seen for years
Pointing to the runway
It blinked and winked
At night and in the day
Then we went for a trip to the airport
On the tarmac there was Concorde
And I saw what the ’90s should bring
Beauty in the modern new things
Beauty in all the new things
Beauty in all the new things
Track Name: Frida Girl
Frida lived in the city
Thought she’d come here for a while
To get away from all the troubles in her life

She took me down the street
She made me stand in line
She kept me on my feet
Oh she must have been so kind

Through the park onto Waterloo
Fifteen minutes to the MTR
Frida imagined herself a star
With her entourage, a limousine
A red carpet at Statue Square

And when you’ve saved enough to go
I hope you don’t forget me now
When I don’t need you anymore
You know I loved you most of all
Track Name: Star Ferry
If you want to get away
You know it’s time to
Hop aboard the Star Ferry
Floating above the junk
Painted white and green
Hop aboard the Star Ferry


Take the boarding pass
And leave the port behind
Climb aboard the Star Ferry
From the upper deck
The view you’ll fancy
Wish upon the Star Ferry
Track Name: Typhoon Dot
This is the weather
Any child could want
It doesn’t matter
A dozen floors above
I was watching TV
And as far as I could see
I wasn’t old enough to
Let it worry me
I didn’t hear that noise
In the streets below
I didn’t hear their voice
In the streets below

On the bridge they came through
And the barricades came down
And they pushed them to the ground
It was a big surprise
Or so they tell me
At the stroke of midnight
They’ll look you in the eye
They’ll do what they do
But I didn’t really care
I wasn’t really there
I’d fallen fast asleep
Fallen to a dream

And now everything I own
The marks of luxury
So common place I owe
To a struggle long ago
And lost in history
The prize of their defeat
A monumental change
A deal with the devil
I still don’t hear the noise
From the streets so long ago
The blurry shapes and noise
Have faded long ago
Track Name: The Silver Jetliner
If I gave you LEGOs
But you’re into turtles
Would you still like me?
Would you still like me?

This one I call Candy
This one I call Tommy
They’re sister and brother
They’re racing each other

Someday my friend
We’re gonna live many years
Terrible, nonsensical it seems
I think we’ll see things
Like more than we’ve ever dreamed
Terrible, nonsensical they’ll be

Have you heard of America?
Across the big ocean
Fourteen hours of flying
In a silver jetliner
We’re leaving on Wednesday
But we’re leaving unfinished
If you ever come visit
Be sure to find me and we’ll pick up again
Track Name: Hirohito
Silently
Hirohito
A voice divine
Hirohito
The hopes of a nation
In grave desperation
The fish in the Coral Sea
Don’t care what you did
Don’t care what you did

The sun, the sky
Hirohito
Don’t talk, don’t cry
None of them know

But these days I fear
One day I will know
What it means
To live up to your name
And face
The shame

The cars on their way
Across the ocean
The planes from afar
Bring a new love

How did you feel to see
The rest of the century?
The things they can do in peace
Hirohito
Track Name: Riverside
Take your car and
Drive through the hill
The roads to nowhere
A grid to be filled

See the future
Like bulldozers do
A new life forming
On the side of the hill

I’ve got to live here, I’ve got to live here
Where everyone’s got the same big house
I’ve got to live here, I’ve got to live here
Where the sun is out
And nobody casts no doubt
Track Name: Devin McCutchen - Earthquake Blues
Mama ran in to get me some clothes
Mama ran in to get me some clothes
I don’t know if I’m ever going home
I don’t know if I’m ever going back again

Sitting in the tub when the earthquake hit
Sitting in the tub when the earthquake hit
I looked up into my mother’s eyes
And the only thing I saw was terrorized

The earth did shake
And the house didn’t break, oh no
The earth did shake
And the house didn’t break, oh no
We ran out and I didn’t have no coat
Three years old, all shook up,
Where do we go?

Papa was at the baseball game
Papa was at the baseball game
And he didn’t have any way to know
About the state of his family and his home
The man next to him had a radio to his ear
The man next to him had a radio to his ear
He said “Oh my God, Lord heavens no!”
Said “Oh my God and oh my Lord, oh did you hear?”
Said “The Bay Bridge it has all fall down”
He said “The goddamn Bay Bridge has all fall down!”
And my papa didn’t have no one around
He could ask if his family was safe and sound

We drove over to my grandparents’ house that night
We drove over to my grandparents’ house that night
There were thirty strangers in their garage
Shaken neighbors round the generator, a bare light

I laid in bed and stared at the dark sky
I laid in bed and stared at the dark October sky
Wondering why I hadn’t seen my dad
Laying with my mom and waiting for my dad
For my dad for my dad
For my dad for my dad
Track Name: Lexus (Midnight)
When you are tired
Let it carry you home
In seats made of leather
In a cabin so quiet
Out by the highway
Outside is LA
I want it for Christmas
I want it for Christmas

This is a work of art
This is a work of art
This is the sound of art

Inside the tunnel
Lights dazzle as we close
A blue and steel decade
In aerodynamics
Out by the highway
Outside is LA
The sky in the ceiling
The stars in the ceiling

This is a work of art
This is a work of art
This is a work of art
Track Name: Titanic
All great things start with a plan
A plan to be big, the head of the class
The staircase, gymnasium, smoking room
Palm trees, the café and oh the food
Nobody’s had it so good
Nobody’s had it so good
Nobody’s had it so good

All great things are drawn out in pen
Cut out in two, folded and glued
Everyone came out from miles afar
To wave to the ship waving the white star
The beautiful people aboard
Mingle outside on the deck
With beautiful people aboard

The New Year fireworks in the
Harbor and city lights are
Dancing in the water
Eighty nine what a time to be alive!
All of modern life in Helvetica
In shades from America