Single Review: Diana Wang – ‘Home’ (Taiwan, 2016)

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Diana Wang has truly come into her own with her latest single ‘Home’ which is the first single she’s released since leaving previous record label Warner music. Returning to the spotlight with a fresh new image, the singer credits fellow artist R Chord for helping her find her newfound R&B direction which comes through loud and clear in her latest single. Working again with producer Skot Suyama who wrote her chart-topping duet with R Chord “Love Doesn’t Pretend”, “Home” has already scaled the English-language charts and taken out the top spot within days of its release.

In terms of the song itself, it starts off with simple piano chords before layering in simple yet catchy arrangements of beats that ebb and flow in sync with the cleanness of Diana’s vocals. Diana’s vocals certainly steal the spotlight in this song, and are a far cry from the more folksy and serene feel her previous songs have lent to her image. Always quietly determined, her fluid and clean vocals cut straight through the heavy bass beats and keep listeners hooked while showing exceptional skill in mastering the art of R n B singing (check out her melismatic improvisations at the bridge).

A song with a very westernised melody and lyrics, upon first listen it was like a throwback to Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa‘s “See You Again” in the best way possible. I found it interesting that the lyrics were written with pretty masculine discourse, e.g. “I broke my arm yeah but now it’s fine/I keep moving’ on and on”, but in a way when sung by Wang’s sweet vocals blurred the gender fault lines for me and empowered her even further.

The music video was also impressively co-directed by Diana herself with Balanana productions’ Curtis Fu, and has some stunning examples of cinematography present. A great effort on Diana’s part as a first time director, and I especially loved the clash of two sides of her, the ‘hard city’ and the ‘home girl’ sides which were presented in the video, rendering the message of ‘coming home’ even more resonant. Furthermore, the mix of emotions displayed on Diana’s face were complex and authentic, going through different stages that represented the complexity of the notion of ‘home’ to her; starting off world-weary before moving through a mix of longing, fear, anticipation, vulnerability before ending on a note of bittersweet warmth.

There have been many songs written about coming home, but the fact that this one encompasses such a complexity of textures and depths that were executed simply yet perfectly certainly makes this one to watch out for.

Watch the music video here:

Review score: 8 out of 10

Home by Diana Wang is currently available to stream on the KKBox platform in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.