Photosynthesis (光合作用) by ToNick

What do you think when you see the word “photosynthesis”? Some would define it, but maybe only some of you might think of the latest song by the band ToNick. That’s right, ToNick has released their newest song, and the title is exactly what we were talking about—“Photosynthesis (光合作用)”.

Before jumping straight to their cool song, let’s briefly mention the musical ensemble/band ToNick. Their band name means “using music to jot things down”, they have released 6 albums and around 30 songs since their debut at the UMC Music Festival back in 2007. Their most renowned song is “Jeung Seung Si Sau 長相廝守”, the theme song of the movie “Vampire Cleanup Department (救殭清道夫)”. Since then, ToNick has been experimenting with different styles of music, and Photosynthesis is the latest one.

Photosynthesis starts with the piano and the guitars playing before the male lead singer joins in. It is a song that seemingly is about photosynthesis, about how plants need sunlight to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. The first part of the song segues into its true nature—a progressive rock song, a song that is nice to listen to and provides an inspirational meaning behind it.

This song is both an example of the band’s experimentation and highlights their skills. The usage of guitars, drums and the after-production created a rock song, yet still recognizable as a pop song that differentiates itself from the Canto-pop songs that you often hear in Hong Kong. They shine especially after the second verse, where there is a brief instrumental break letting the electric guitars show off. After that, the lead singer’s voice becomes clearer, singing the chorus and main focus of the song. Then the drummer gets to show off, and the song ends on a rather unsettling and creepy note.

Let’s review the meaning behind the song more simply. The band themselves explained the aim/meaning of the song already in the description of the music video on YouTube, but I still want to give a summary and show you how the lyrics match up to it. To sum it up, photosynthesis allows plants to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. Rather than focusing on the process, the band chooses to sing about how the plant has to stay hopeful and strong during the night, to hope and wait for sunlight to come. Similarly, we as humans should also hold out hope and stay strong during the darkest times and believe in this maybe so-called weak, fragile belief that the darkest times will pass and the morning will come. To me, this song is quite meaningful and a reminder to all of us around the world to stay hopeful and trust that there will be a better future.

All in all, while there might be some confusion with the ending of the song and why this style is used to convey this message, I would still give the song a thumbs up. It’s not often that you can hear a great rock Canto-pop song in Hong Kong, and even rare that the song provides hope, and meaning behind it. I really would recommend this song to anyone, whether they are more interested in the meaning or just enjoy listening to Canto-pop songs. You can listen to this song on Spotify, Apple Music, Joox and KKBox.
– Joshua
25 Oct 2022

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