Where was Charlie?: Pulling together a Winning Sum

Charlie Lim (@wherewascharlie) and Jasper Tan (@vilecorpses) have been two people that I admired for a long time. And I was having a long (re: shitty as hell) day, thinking that I’d end up living life as a zero-sum game.

I’ve listened to Charlie Lim before – he’s a fixture on my Spotify ‘favourites’, ‘quiet’, ‘study’, ‘please $ave me jamz’ (etc) ever since I fell in love with “Hollow”. Zero Sum from his latest album, CHECK-HOOK, is another song that I am in love with. How did Charlie create a masterpiece of a song that straddles the lines of dream-like and harsh realityI don’t know, but the way he croons out hard-hitting lyrics that declare hopelessness and nostalgia, in an artfully melancholic and reflective manner, is extremely captivating.

There  has always been an enchanting quality to his songs – whenever I listen to Zero Sum, I relish in the way Charlie places refreshing emphasis on lyrics that I feel fit comfortably in the palm of my hand; like I’ve heard them before. With clean layers, a perfect melding of beats and surprisingly soft strain of his voice, Zero Sum is a win-win game for those who listen.

In this day and age, it’s remarkably hard to find songs which escape the story-telling arc of a persona falling in and out of love with a person, hobby, or life in itself. There is  nothing wrong with incorporating such a narrative, because us humans listening are able to inevitably relate to the piece. Charlie, however, consistently bridges the gap between comfortably familiar and this idea of a new-age artist using alternative or undiscovered paints or technology to decorate a narrative with. In Zero Sum, imagery of religion is skillfully transposed onto the individual protagonist and his/her actions towards another person. We can immediately picture the relationship and the struggle that the protagonist is going through – so we aren’t just jammed into a random love story, but one of specific exhaustion, trial and tribulation. From the lyrics to the melody, Zero Sum sends heaven down on Earth once listened to.

The release of Zero Sum’s music video was perfect. The reason was because Jasper Tan – master of unique and quaint visuals that leave the viewer craving for more unfolding of the narrative – directed and produced the video. I have ‘full desire to light that bridge’, perhaps the Helix bridge, up with numerous screens displaying Zero Sum.