Ivan Cheong




MPR002 Ivan Cheong - Better Than Your Blanket album art Various Open Your Eyes Various - Better Than Your Blanket(CDr, Comp) Mushpot Records MPR002 US 2006 Sell This Version


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May 12, 2008
I confirmed my impression of Ivan Cheong as an brilliant (even genius) singer-songwriter when I first listened to "Open Your Eyes" from one of his myspace websites. If you can say I have become a doper of his music, then "Open Your Eyes" is arguably the first dose "sweet poison" I was exposed to. Mushpot Records' decision to include this song into "Better Than Your Blanket" cannot be more apt. After all, it is a zillion times better to hook kids to this "drug" than the kind purchasable in downtown after midnight: physiologically, psychologically, intellectually, and sensationally.

"Open Your Eyes" is an extremely simple and an extremely philosophical song at ones. The surface layer of the song is beautiful: it conveys a guy on a sailboat not knowing how he got on it and where he's going to; the only certainty is the feeling of departure ("Cling to this feeling for as long as you can; This will be the last time you see me again"). Then you look deeper you discover this guy seems to be in dream state, but he also seems to be awake. He is waking other people's up and is awakened at ones. Yet, no one in the song is truly awake or truly asleep, as evident in the image of people waking up to a dreamy reality, entering sleep to a dream, dreaming to be awake (which is a dream). And remember throughout the song this narrator is continuously sailing. Unlike Taoist philosophy that can make someone slightly suicidal due to the existential feeling of the boundless void and infinite regress, this song has a brilliant ending that put everything to an interesting end, an ending which I won't give away. But overall, the guitar, the vocal, and the lyrics blend together very, every well. The song conveys the perfect feeling associated with coming-of-age and yet goes far beyond it at the same time. Beneath the surface of a state of existential confusion is a sense of humor and hope that helps to hold everything together. It is a radical exercise in imagination and an important part of a series of work he produced later.