Amber’s “Borders” has an excellent premise, unfortunate execution

AmberBorders

Amber released “Borders” as part of ‘SM Station‘, and it’s quite the shift in that it’s not a power ballad nor is it trying to be coffee house indie.

Amber had a lot to say about the creation of “Borders” on Instagram before it was released, and it’s clearly quite personal for her.

Borders explanation. Please read. 보더스 성명이. 꼭 읽어주세요. Before the song is released there are a couple things I'd like to share. This song took me a lot of courage to write because I was always apprehensive of the subject it talked about. I've been doing this job for a long time and right now I speak not as Amber of f(x) nor "celebrity" Amber, but just Amber. Just plain, simple, human Amber. "Borders" is more than a song; no glamorous concepts, no "trying to be cool." Its a raw and real story about reality. Its shares, not only about my personal experiences but of people very close to me. Everyone involved in this project- the producers, my team DPR, the actors, to the staff- were people specifically chosen as they have never given up on me and believed in my vision. For that, I want to thank them for making this possible for me. When you guys listen to "Borders", there is just one thing i wish everyone could take from it: NEVER give up on yourself. There is always hope in the midst of this dark, demanding world. In the end, live for those that did not get the chance to and just keep fighting. Always, thank you you guys. You guys made it possible. 노래 나오기전에 여러분한테 몇까지 말하고 싶습니다. 이 노래를 쓸때 많은 용기를 냈어요 왜냐하면 이 주제가 사람들한테 말하고 오픈 하는 자체가 많은 겁을 갖고 있었어요. 제가 연예 활동 한지 오래됐지만 지금 저는 에프엑스의 엠버, 연예인 엠버로서 말하고 있지않습니다. 지금 그냥 엠버. 인간 엠버입니다. 보더스"는 그냥 노래가 아닙니다. 콘셉 짜서 멋있게 만들으려고 하는것도 없어요. 그냥 진심, 솔직함 담은 현실 이야기입니다. 제 이야기과 제 친한테 사름들의 이야기. 이 프로젝트 만들면서 작곡 같이 하는 친구들부터, 제 제작팀 DPR, 연기자들, 스탭분들까지 제가 직접 골랐습니다. 그 이유는 제 옆에 있으면서 포기 절대 하지 않았고 제가 갖고 있는 환상을 믿어주는 분들이기때문에. 그친구들한테 감사하다는 말을 다시 하고 싶습니다. "보더스" 듣고 이 매세지 전하고 싶어요: 절대 자기 자신한테 포기하지말아요. 이 어두운 힘든 세상에도 희망 항상 있습니다. 마지막으로 살 기회 없었던 사람들위해서 살아요. 힘을 내세요. 여러분 항상 감사 드려요. 제가 이렇게까지 할 수 있는 이유는 여러분입니다.

A photo posted by Amber J. Liu (@ajol_llama) on

The fact that it’s a personal song comes across well in the lyrics when you break it down, especially during the hook, so I give “Borders” a lot of credit for conveying that and for the fact that at least it’s not another power ballad/indie wannabe track for ‘SM Station’.

That said, I was disappointed that not only did the track not build on the instrumental from the opening chorus, but it actually just went mostly silent during the verses. Normally this is a fine tactic if one wants the listener to focus on the lyrics or rapping, but in this instance it stunted the momentum of a lot of the successful elements of the song while also rather unfortunately exposing Amber’s flaws in her quasi-rapping. And I say quasi-rapping, because while I honestly do understand that she was busy telling a personal story, at some junctures in the song there wasn’t even an attempt to flow or rhyme or anything. A track of this nature executed well would’ve woven that message into a coherent flow and rhyme scheme to really have the entire concept hit home as hard as possible, but the way the rapping was presented on “Borders” was actually a distraction from the message.

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I give Amber a lot of credit for what she attempted with “Borders”, and I feel like I’ll be in the minority on this track as people try to will themselves into loving it thanks to the thought and concept behind it. It’s a universal emotional topic that many (including me) can relate to, so it’s understandable that “Borders” would be well received. But I just don’t feel the song is all that quality, mainly because the majority of it (aside from the chorus) wasn’t executed well, and her Instagram post was honestly probably the best medium for the message presented in “Borders”.

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