1989

by SK Chow

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1.
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
2.
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
3.
Frida Girl 02:00
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
4.
Star Ferry 02:44
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
5.
Typhoon Dot 03:18
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
6.
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
7.
Hirohito 03:04
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
8.
9.
Riverside 02:58
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
10.
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
11.
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
12.
Titanic 03:57
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

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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