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Xiaolin unveils mesmerising rendition of city pop hit, ‘Plastic Love’

‘Xin Ai’ is packed with groove and personality, breathing a new life into the cult classic

  • Henry Cooper
  • 3 May 2024
Xiaolin unveils mesmerising rendition of city pop hit, ‘Plastic Love’

In a vibrant homage to the timeless city pop anthem, Hong Kong-based artist Xiaolin presents her own captivating interpretation of the ‘Plastic Love’, titled ‘Xin Ai’. This rejuvenated version is now available on vinyl through Bless You Records.

Originally composed and produced by the legendary duo Tatsuro Yamashita and Mariya Takeuchi in 1984, ‘Plastic Love’ has held sway over audiences for decades, firmly establishing itself as a hallmark of the city pop genre.

In 1991, the track was covered with new Cantonese lyrics performed by Anita Mui.

Xiaolin has kept the original lyrics from Anita Mui but re-recorded them in her rendition while introducing a fresh, refined production style that exudes both raw energy and polished finesse.

It’s a bold choice to try and tackle such a beloved song, but it seems to have paid off. Xiaolin’s rendition is boldly singular in its motives compared to its predecessors.

The infectious bassline, reminiscent of classic video game soundtracks, effortlessly weaves its groove throughout the track, complemented by dynamic percussion that adds a punchy rhythm to the mix, mixed by Eric Lau. This simplicity in arrangement only accentuates the brilliance of Mui’s vocals, breathing new life into the timeless melody. Notably, an unexpected jazz-infused piano solo from Daniel Chu adds an extra bonus of personality into the track.

For the singers out there, it’s paired with a karaoke version which lets the impressive production shine.

‘Xin Ai’ marks the inauguration of Xiaolin’s ‘canto series’, with two more releases slated to follow suit under the Bless You label.

Read this next: Mariya Takeuchi's 'Plastic Love' breaks Japan's top 10 decades after its original release

When speaking on the production, Xiaolin told Mixmag Asia, “It was crucial for me to remain as respectful as possible to the original creators of the tunes, in this case, Mariya Takeuchi & Tatsuro Yamashita, Anita and her team Peter Lai, Yue Ye Tung (lyricist), and to preserve and revive that dated sound rather than modernising it, despite it now being almost 30 years later. Therefore I did quite a bit of research and used a combination of the analog gear i have with some digital processing that emulates analog algorithms”.

Read this next: Neoncity Pop takes off with ‘Million Miles Away’

She continues, “The way I recorded the vocals was raw and not overly processed, as it should be. Small imperfections and mistakes did not need to be corrected as it added to the rawness, especially vocals in this case and drums. Sometimes when things sound too perfect and polished, it loses its charm so it was important for me to preserve that feeling.”

Purchase Xiaolin ‘Xin Ai’ via Sound Metaphors here.

Henry Cooper is a Writer at Mixmag Asia. Follow him on Instagram.

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