SARAH LOHMANN WRITES — Longing is a difficult emotion to capture. Often wistful, it teeters between pain and love, and Moon Tang sets it as the tone for her recent project, Water Comes Out of My Eyes, as she sings, “Staring as the sun goes down, I miss having you around.” These lyrics from the project’s titular track successfully capture that elusive longing, setting the listener in comparison with the sunset: a beautiful, fleeting moment that we miss despite how often it comes.
Thai-Chinese singer-songwriter Moon Tang comes from Hong Kong. Since her debut in 2020, her music has garnered over 500 thousand streams on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Her most recent work, Water Comes Out of My Eyes, was released on February 24, 2023.
So far, most of Tang’s music has been in English, but earlier this year, she mentioned in an interview with Tatler Asia that she plans to sing more in Cantonese. “My Cantonese isn’t that good, but I’m always learning, and that’s exciting,” she said. Despite not previously feeling prepared to do so, releasing music in Cantonese could propel Tang further as an artist representing Hong Kong and its culture internationally.
Often categorized as bedroom pop, Moon Tang stands apart from her contemporaries by including a distinctly poetic feel in her lyrics. On the track titled “bad weather,” Tang compares the behaviors of others beyond her control to the weather: “I can’t control the rain / You be pouring down this weight on me.”
These lyrics float atop eerie, uneasy instrumentals—bringing to mind influences like jazz, bossa nova, and the blues. Also in “bad weather,” the first verse is accompanied by only guitar, playing accidentals and clashing chords that create discomfort. This emphasizes Tang’s own emotions as she sings, “I don’t know if this is what I really want / I think I love you more than myself.”
Tang’s musical prowess is displayed throughout Water. In the calm of “i hate u,” she laments sweetly that nobody hates the listener as she does but knows she should be kind. Immediately following, though, is the gritty “i love u,” breaking down into intense synth before her layered vocals come through: “Picture perfect, such a lie.” Finally, in “can u say…” she asks for meaningful words because “if you really mean it / Then you wouldn’t have to say it a thousand times.”
Water is for the introspective listener. Drawing on the genre’s diverse nature—based on traditional Brazilian music, American jazz, and the Portuguese language—the backdrop of bossa nova-pop fusion makes for a remarkable clash of Eastern and Western cultures. Water is for someone looking to hold Moon Tang’s hand and walk roads that you both have likely seen before, all underlaid with buttery jazz that makes those memories all the easier to revisit.
Sarah Lohmann graduated from Knox College with a BA in Creative Writing and Asian Studies, where their research focused on film, translation, and literature.
Edited by executive editor, Ella Kelleher.