When one listens to Peggy Hsu’s music, one enters a whole new universe created note by note by Peggy herself, and her creative team of course. This time around with her latest album “Swing Inc.”, Hsu transports us back to the Swing era of the 1930s-1940s; but of course with her own unique take on the genre. This album is even more immersive than the last; Peggy’s lilting voice seems to have adopted a little of the dulcet tones of crooners such as Billie Holiday. Keeping her tone light and sweet as always, Peggy’s timbre seems a little richer this time, and I even noticed that the frequency of her melismatic singing style which was previously more relaxed as heightened in frequency, reflecting her dedication to perfecting the art of Swing music.
First listening to this album in the sweltering heat of Taipei’s weather, something to me was not right. Uncomfortable subway commutes and listening to snippets of her album while waiting for appointments or meet-ups with friends, there seemed something very wrong with me treating Peggy’s music in this manner. Indeed, so rich and vivid is the concept of this album that for me, it has to be listened to in the right place, at the right time where perhaps the crisp feeling of autumn against the backdrop of melancholy guitar acoustics in “Autumn Swing” would not be jarringly interrupted by the blazing heat of a Taipei summer’s day. Because that wouldn’t be fair to Peggy at all, would it?