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So you’ve learned some Chinese, seen a few Zhang Yimou movies and now you want to see what Chinese music has to offer? In this article I’ll share some experiences on how to find and download Chinese music. “Chinese” is used in the broadest possible sense — including music from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and overseas communities performed in any Chinese dialect.

Anyone who has ever tried finding Chinese music on English language file-sharing networks knows that it is a pointless exercise which will fail 98% of the time. Therefore, I will cover only on the Chinese language alternatives and we will be searching using Chinese. This means that if you can’t read any Chinese you’re going to have a hard time following this guide.

As an example in this article we’ll be looking for music by Jay Chou, the unchallenged king of mandopop. If you only know the artist’s “English” name then Wikipedia will usually be of help; from the Jay Chou article we learn that his name is 周杰倫 in traditional Chinese and 周杰伦 in simplified. The distinction between traditional and simplified Chinese is sometimes important, as I will point out below.

Baidu MP3

Baidu is a mainland China search engine with a large number of services and a very strong standing in the local market. One of those services is Baidu MP3, which indexes music files on the web. This might sound illegal somehow but it isn’t and it shouldn’t be under any sane copyright regime. However, western countries’ copyright regimes are increasingly insane and our record labels have gotten used to bullying others into doing as they want. Presumably in order to stay off their radar Baidu MP3 sometimes block searches from outside China. If you’re not in China and can’t find any music when following the below instructions, skip ahead to the proxy section.

Now let’s get down to business. Baidu MP3 is a great place to start when you want quick results and quality is not critical. Go to http://mp3.baidu.com/ and you’ll see something like this:

Just enter the enter the artist name (周杰伦) in the search box. Baidu is clever enough to understand either traditional or simplified Chinese, but the results will always be in simplified Chinese as it’s a mainland service. If you’re only interested in MP3 files, select the “mp3″ option. The search results will look something like this:

From left to right, the colums are:

  • 歌曲名 song title (e.g. 青花瓷) – click this to download an individual track
  • 歌手名 artist name (e.g. 周杰伦) – browse the artist discography and most popular songs
  • 专辑名 album title (e.g. 我很忙) – show the full track listing for the album
  • 试听 sample – listen without downloading (not very useful)
  • 歌词 lyrics – useful, but Mojim.com is better
  • 铃声 mobile ringtone – you probably don’t want this
  • 大小 file size – bigger usually means better quality
  • 格式 file format – use mp3 for portability, you don’t want wma or rm
  • 链接速度 connection speed – the more the merrier

In the simplest case you simply click on one of the songs and start downloading, but you often need to try a few different servers before finding a file of acceptable quality and download speed. The artist and album pages are useful for exploring new artists, but I would advise against collecting full albums from these listings as the files would be of uneven quality and have inconsistent metadata (ID3 tags).

The 歌曲TOP500 (top 500 songs) is also well worth mentioning. The chart is based on the number of downloads and is – due to the service’s popularity – arguably the best measure of what’s hot in China right now. Other useful top charts include 新歌TOP100 (top 100 new songs) and 歌手TOP200 (top 200 artists).

See also Sinosplice for an older Baidu MP3 guide.

Chinese Proxy Server

If you find that you can’t get any search results from Baidu, I would suggest first trying one of the other methods below. However, in the rare case where you really need Baidu, you can still do it no matter where you are geographically. Just like many Chinese netizens use proxy servers to get out of China, we can use a proxy server to get in to China. I’ve been able to use Baidu MP3 using web proxies from mainland China, Taiwan and Korea. Others may work too, so finding and configuring a proxy which works for you shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.

Do note that the only place where you actually need a proxy is when searching. When downloading you aren’t connecting to Baidu so you can get much better speed if you turn the proxy off. As this requires switching the proxy on and off repeatedly, I suggest using a browser/extension which makes this convenient. In Opera you can use Tools>Quick Preferences>Enable Proxy Servers (or F12+r) to toggle the proxy. Using Firefox+FoxyProxy it seems that you can use a proxy only for mp3.baidu.com, which is even better.

Again, if using a proxy seems like a lot of trouble, just keep reading for some other services which may serve you better.

VeryCD

When I had been in Beijing for only a few days I was at a meet-up for new expats and friendly Chinese. I got on the topic of music with a Chinese guy and he soon suggested that I visit VeryCD. That was in 2006, and VeryCD is still the file sharing portal in China. It indexes files on the eDonkey network and just about everybody seems to use it.

It’s quite easy to use VeryCD: just type the artist name at the top and search away. Unlike Baidu, VeryCD doesn’t handle traditional Chinese very well, so make sure that you’re copying/inputting simplified Chinese or you may not find what you’re looking for. Except for that, the search box is very clever and will even suggest additional search terms as you type.

As an example let’s look for Jay Chou’s 2006 album Still Fantasy – 依然范特西. Searching for 周杰伦 依然范特西 will find the album in both MP3 and APE format, as well as a bonus DVD, karaoke videos, etc. Jay Chou is exceptionally popular so the results won’t always be this good, but you’ll almost always be able to find something. Go to any of those results and you’ll find a box like this:

These are the files you are looking for, but since VeryCD is just a fancy index for the eDonkey network you need an eDonkey client to actually download anything. I recommend aMule for all operating systems except Windows, where eMule might be better. After you’ve installed the client, simply clicking on the links should add the files to your download queue. Usually aMule will be able to find a peer sharing the file in question and start downloading. It’s not always fast, but it will finish in the end if you’re patient. Here I’ve downloaded and extracted the 320 kbps version:

Basically, that’s all there is to it. One nice feature worth mentioning is that VeryCD provides RSS feeds for all pages, including categories and search results. For example, you can subscribe to the Chinese music category or Jay Chou search results, which is very useful for staying up to date with very little effort. Paradise for the music fanatic!

Kad

Now that you have aMule/eMule installed, there is another method well worth mentioning. Kad is a distributed network for indexing and searching eDonkey files. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on VeryCD, try using aMule/eMule to search in the Kad network. In the search view, select type “Kad”. You also need to pay attention to traditional/simplified Chinese as there is no automatic conversion. I suggest doing one search in traditional and one in simplified to cover all the options.

Here I’ve found a karaoke (KTV) version of a song I like. Even for things that you can find on VeryCD, searching the Kad network will sometimes give you better quality or alternate versions. If you find an album in both a mainland version (大陸版/大陆版) and a Taiwan version (台灣版/台湾版) get the Taiwan release as mainland releases are often bastardized by removing/renaming tracks to please the censors. Hong Kong versions (香港版) sometimes contain Cantonese bonus tracks, which might be nice.

Recommendations

You shouldn’t have any problem finding music now, but if you don’t know where to start I can recommend a few of my favorite artists:

  • Mayday/五月天 is a Taiwanese rock band who perform in both Mandarin and Min Nan dialect. I am ridiculously fond of their song Rainbow/彩虹 from the album People Life, Ocean Wind/人生海海.
  • Jay Chou/周杰倫/周杰伦 is extremely popular, but his style may take some getting used to. New album Capricorn coming out October 9!
  • Wang Leehom/王力宏 is a successful Taiwanese American artist who also starred in Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution.
  • Michael Wong/光良 is a Malaysian Chinese singer who specializes in love ballads. His newer albums are only so-so though.
  • Eason Chan/陳奕迅/陈奕迅 is a Hong Kong artist with a nice voice. I especially like his 2007 Mandarin album Admit It/認了吧.
  • Faith Yang/楊乃文/杨乃文 is a Taiwanese singer with a good voice, good songs and none of the painfully “cute” image that most other female Chinese artists have. I think of her as Taiwan’s Alanis Morisette, but as I don’t really like Morisette the comparison only goes so far…

The list could go on, but if you don’t trust my taste in music (who would?) do have a look at Baidu’s top 200 artists to see what people in China are listening to instead.

Tagging

The variations in character encodings, translations, romanizations, mixture of traditional and simplified Chinese and plain errors that you can find “in the wild” makes it necessary to clean up the tags (metadata) of your files. Unless you do this it’s going to be a mess when you want to play your music in a player which uses the tags to sort things (as many portable players do). The best tool for consistent tags that I know of is MusicBrainz, even though far from all Chinese music is in the MusicBrainz database. Still, it is better than trying to fix everything by hand and you’ll probably want to use it for all your non-Chinese music anyway.

That concludes this guide. I hope that it makes sense and that it will be of use.


Karaoke is possibly the best social activity ever (五月天 – 彩虹)

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简体中文

1998
藝人 歌曲 作曲 作詞
吳宗憲 三暝三日 周杰倫/吳宗憲 吳宗憲
吳宗憲 大聲說出心內話 周杰倫 吳宗憲
吳宗憲 唱歌的人尚快樂 周杰倫 吳宗憲
吳宗憲 容易破碎的心 周杰倫 吳宗憲
吳宗憲 相思是啥密 周杰倫 吳宗憲
S.B.D.W 世界末日 周杰倫 周杰倫
S.B.D.W 哈啦 周杰倫 鐘昀呈/劉畊宏
S.B.D.W 野孩子 周杰倫 S.B.D.W
S.B.D.W 你走 周杰倫 劉畊宏
1999
藝人 歌曲 作曲 作詞
江蕙 落雨聲 周杰倫 方文山
吳宗憲 你比從前快樂 周杰倫 方文山
吳宗憲 屋頂 (溫嵐合唱) 周杰倫 周杰倫
吳宗憲 平衡點 (溫嵐合唱) 周杰倫 吳宗憲
吳宗憲 放我一個人 周杰倫 吳宗憲
吳宗憲 傷心的樹 周杰倫 方文山
柯受良 溫柔壞男人 吳宗憲 周杰倫/吳宗憲
王力宏 打開愛 周杰倫 施立
王雪娥 愛情俘虜 周杰倫/希德 許常德
康康 催淚 周杰倫 吳宗憲
康康 離開你 不得已 周杰倫/佚名 吳宗憲/康康/佚名
康康 電燈泡 周杰倫 方文山
許茹芸 禁止悲傷 周杰倫 方文山
許茹芸 蝸牛 (齊秦、動力火車、熊天平合唱) 周杰倫 周杰倫
許茹芸 一天一天 周杰倫 劉畊宏
徐若瑄 姐 妳睡了嗎 周杰倫 易家揚
動力火車 不會哭的人 周杰倫 周杰倫
動力火車 重傷的汗水 周杰倫 劉畊宏
溫嵐 You Will Get My Heart 周杰倫 溫嵐
溫嵐 喜歡這樣子 周杰倫 溫嵐
溫嵐 胡同裡有隻貓 周杰倫 方文山
溫嵐 耳邊風 周杰倫 周杰倫
溫嵐 不告而別 周杰倫 周杰倫
2000
藝人 歌曲 作曲 作詞
古巨基 夜空的精靈 周杰倫 方文山
梁漢文 我就是忘不掉 周杰倫 小寒
梁漢文 找快樂的人 周杰倫 厲曼婷
迪克牛仔 出賣心碎 周杰倫 方文山
吳宗憲 耍花樣 周杰倫 劉畊宏
吳宗憲 脫離軌道 周杰倫 方文山
錦繡二重唱 月光 周杰倫 林怡芬
S.B.D.W 不是不想 周杰倫 周杰倫
S.B.D.W La música 周杰倫 劉畊宏
徐若瑄 快過期的草莓 周杰倫 徐若瑄
2001
藝人 歌曲 作曲 作詞
陳小春 抱一抱 周杰倫 徐世珍
陳小春 我愛的人 周杰倫 施人誠
陳小春 二楞子 周杰倫 鄭中庸
陳小春 犯賤 (抱一抱粵語版) 周杰倫 黃偉文
呂方 悲傷的斜對面 周杰倫 方文山
劉德華 一壺鄉愁 周杰倫 方文山
溫嵐 北斗星 周杰倫 方文山/溫嵐
溫嵐 動心 (林邁可合唱) 周杰倫 方文山
溫嵐 眼淚知道 周杰倫 方文山
溫嵐 屋頂 (周杰倫合唱) 周杰倫 周杰倫
蔡依林 你怎麼連話都說不清楚 周杰倫 毛毛
4 in Love 命中註定 周杰倫 易家揚
陳奕迅 冤家 周杰倫 徐世珍
吳宗憲 瞎了聾了 周杰倫 吳宗憲
張學友 算命 周杰倫 林夕
李玟 刀馬旦 周杰倫 方文山
康康 定時炸彈 周杰倫 劉畊宏
康康 電燈泡Ⅱ 周杰倫 方文山
康康 刀鋒邊緣 周杰倫 方文山
2002
藝人 歌曲 作曲 作詞
S.H.E 熱帶雨林 周杰倫 方文山
王雪娥 誰是白痴 周杰倫 王裘依
谷祖琳 六壯士 周杰倫 陳少琪
陶晶瑩 兩個寂寞 周杰倫 廖士賢
溫嵐 地獄天使 周杰倫 劉畊宏
溫嵐 周杰倫 方文山
溫嵐 發燙 周杰倫 黃俊郎
溫嵐 定時炸彈 周杰倫 劉畊宏
陳冠希 流浪車票 周杰倫 陳少琪
潘瑋柏 站在你這邊 周杰倫 方文山
江蕙 到底誰是伊 周杰倫 方文山
芮恩 白色羽毛 周杰倫 方文山
2003
藝人 歌曲 作曲 作詞
游艾迪 Girl Power 詩人(周杰倫) 許世昌
蔡依林 說愛你 周杰倫 天天
蔡依林 布拉格廣場 周杰倫 方文山
蔡依林 騎士精神 周杰倫 蔡依林
S.H.E 河濱公園 周杰倫 方文山
莫文蔚 黑雨 周杰倫 李焯雄
陳小春 一定要幸福 周杰倫 鄭中庸
陳小春 獻世 (一定要幸福粵語版) 周杰倫 林夕
徐若瑄 面具 周杰倫 徐若瑄
阿杜 退讓 周杰倫 方文山
2004
藝人 歌曲 作曲 作詞
陳冠希 戰爭 (feat. Hanjin, MC仁 & 胡蓓蔚) 周杰倫 MC仁/陳少琪/陳奐仁
蔡依林 就是愛 周杰倫 天天
蔡依林 海盜 周杰倫 陳鎮川
蔡依林 倒帶 周杰倫 方文山
南拳媽媽 瓦解 周杰倫 宋健彰
溫嵐 祝我生日快樂 周杰倫 鄭中庸
溫嵐 夏天の風 周杰倫 天天
李威 雲淡風輕 (極速傳說片尾曲) 周杰倫 李威
S.H.E 候鳥 周杰倫 方文山
2005
藝人 歌曲 作曲 作詞
羅志祥 自我催眠 周杰倫 陳天佑
劉畊宏 失落的入場券 周杰倫 劉畊宏
劉畊宏 心動心痛 周杰倫 劉畊宏/陳劍龍
劉畊宏 心靈交戰 周杰倫 劉畊宏
劉畊宏 直到最後 周杰倫 劉畊宏
劉畊宏 情畫 周杰倫 劉畊宏
劉畊宏 西域傳奇 周杰倫 劉畊宏
江蕙 愛作夢的魚 周杰倫 潘協慶
2006
藝人 歌曲 作曲 作詞
莫文蔚 天下大同 周杰倫 林夕
莫文蔚 眾生緣 (天下大同粵語版) 周杰倫 林夕
S.H.E 觸電 周杰倫 施人誠
梁詠琪 給自己的情歌 (粵語版) 周杰倫 陳少琪
梁詠琪 給自己的情歌 (國語版) 周杰倫 陳鎮川
徐若瑄 美人魚 周杰倫 徐若瑄
梁靜茹 失憶 周杰倫 周杰倫
許慧欣 詩水蛇山神廟 周杰倫 方文山
郭富城 愛情 周杰倫 方文山/桂子
璽恩 時尚工業 周杰倫 趙治德
伊能靜 念奴嬌 周杰倫 伊能靜
鍾鎮濤 魔鬼的情詩 周杰倫 林若寧
2007
藝人 歌曲 作曲 作詞
費玉清 千里之外 (獨唱版) 周杰倫 方文山
陳奕迅 淘汰 周杰倫 周杰倫
容祖兒 小小 周杰倫 方文山
張惠妹 如果你也聽說 周杰倫 李焯雄
周渝民 我不是F4 周杰倫 李宗恩
張韶涵 親愛的 那不是愛情 周杰倫 方文山
許茹芸 手寫愛 周杰倫 方文山
2008
藝人 歌曲 作曲 作詞
Twins 連帶關係 周杰倫 陳少琪
南拳媽媽 妳不像她 周杰倫 宋健彰
S.H.E 安靜了 周杰倫 Selina

遺漏的或錯誤的請大家補充更正!

最近更新於2008-10-12

資料來源:

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First something about Thursday’s gig at Mao. Snapline opened the show with electro-pop-rock and English vocals delivered in a “slowly going crazy” but yet charismatic manner. Next in line was what I came to see – Carsick Cars. As they entered I noticed that two of the members are actually shared with Snapline. The music, however, is not in the same genre. Rather, it’s riffy and swingy rock with lots of noisy things in between. Some would call it indie rock I suppose.

There were quite a few non-Chinese in the audience, a number of which formed a brief mosh pit to the horror of some Chinese visitors. “No thanks, I don’t mosh.” Unfortunately the band only played about 5 songs, but short is sweet I suppose. When they played the last song – 中南海 (Zhongnanhai) – every smoker in the audience bombarded the band with cigarettes while the rest of us shouted along with the not-so-hard-to-remember lyrics.

The main band was the Beijing girl punk band Hang on the Box, but as far as I’m concerned the gig was over. Afterwards I chatted a bit with the record label guy and bought an undisclosed number of copies of Carsick Cars’ album. I sat in a couch until bassist 李维思 (Li Weisi) and drummer 李青 (Li Qing) turned up and signed my album. Li Weisi smoked Zhongnanhai and I waited a bit longer until guitarist/singer 张守望 (Zhang Shouwang) came along and made my album autograph-complete. I assure you that I’m not crazy, I just thought it would be neat…


Adapted from Maybe Mars without permission.

The album includes 7 songs in Chinese and 3 in English. I’ve been listening more or less non-stop and I do think it’s really cool, especially 志愿的人 (Volunteer), 中南海 (Zhongnanhai) and 广场 (Plaza). The undisclosed number of copies that I have in my possession have a purpose, which is this: I will send a copy of Carsick Cars’ album to anyone who requests it for free, with no conditions attached whatsoever. Just contact me and tell me where you want it delivered. When all my copies are gone I hope that there are an undisclosed number of new Carsick Cars fans in the world!

Copies delivered as of 2007-11-05:

  • China: 2
  • France: 1
  • The Netherlands: 2
  • Norway: 1
  • USA: 2

Disclosure: The original number of copies were actually only 4, but since there were so many who wanted the album I went to buy all the copies in a record store here in Beijing, bringing the total to 8. Despite my best efforts I have not been able to find any more, so at this time I can’t offer to send any more. Nonetheless, I do hope that there are at least 8 new Carsick Cars fans on the planet now!
See also:

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Carsick Cars is a fairly new Beijing rock band which I discovered via MusicBrainz only yesterday. After listening to the repetetive lyrics and riffy guitar of 中南海 (Zhōngnánhǎi) I think I’m hooked! The title refers to the name of a popular brand of cigarettes, but Zhongnanhai is also the name of the area to the west of the Forbidden City (called the New Forbidden City by Beijingers) from where the Party runs the People’s Republic.

中南海,中南海……中南海,中南海
中南海,中南海……抽烟只抽中南海
中南海,中南海……生活离不开中南海
中南海,中南海……谁他妈抽了我的中南海?[source]

Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… I only smoke Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… I can’t live without Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… who fucking smoke my Zhongnanhai?

Figuring out which Zhongnanhai the lyrics might refer to is left as an exercise to the reader. I haven’t been able to get hold of their self-titled debut album yet, but a record shop in 东单 has a copy booked for me. On Thursday they’re playing at the Mao Club and everyone must go! For those not in Beijing, here’s the video of Zhongnanhai instead.

See also:

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This Friday I’m going to do something rather stupid: I’m going to sing on a stage for the first time in more than four years, in Chinese. It’s actually just outtakes for a talent contest at school, so it’s hardly important. Anyway, the song is Be Your Man (做你的男人) by Jeff Chang (张信哲) and to prepare I’ve annotated and translated the lyrics, which I might as well share. On a side note, Jeff Chang has a small but important role in the fairly popular film Ming Ming (明明), which also stars Zhou Xun (周迅). See it if you get a chance.

东京纽约每个地点 (Dōngjīng Niǔyuē měige dìdiǎn)
带你去坐幸福的地下铁 (dài nǐ qù zuò xìngfú de dìxià tiě)
散步逛街找电影院 (sànbù guàngjiē zhǎo diànyǐngyuàn)
累了我就帮你提高跟鞋 (lèi le wǒ jiù bāng nǐ tí gāogēnxié)
塞车停电哪怕下雪 (sāichē tíngdiàn nǎpà xiàxuě)
每天都要和你过情人节 (měitiān dōu yào hé nǐ guò qíngrénjié)
星光音乐一杯热咖啡 (xīngguāng yīnyuè yī bēi rè kāfēi)
只想给你所有浪漫情节 (zhǐ xiǎng gěi nǐ suǒyǒu làngmàn qíngjié)

Tokyo, New York, every single place.
Take you for a ride on the happy subway.
Go for a walk, windowshop, look for a cinema.
You’re tired, I carry your high heel shoes for you.
A traffic jam, a power out, it even starts to snow.
I want to spend valentines day with you every day.
Starlight, music, a cup of hot coffee.
I just want to give you an all romantic valentines day.

让我做你的男人 (ràng wǒ zuò nǐ de nánrén)
二十四个小时不睡觉 (èr shí sì gè xiǎoshí bù shuìjiào)
小心翼翼地保持 (xiǎoxīnyìyì de bǎochí)
这种热情不退烧 (zhè zhǒng rèqíng bù tuì shāo)
不管世界多纷扰 (bùguǎn shìjiè duō fēnrāo)
我们俩紧紧地拥抱 (wǒmen liǎ jǐnjǐn de yōngbào)
隐隐约约我感觉有微笑 (yǐnyǐnyuēyuē wǒ gǎnjué yǒu wēixiào)
藏在你嘴角 (cáng zài nǐ zuǐjiǎo)

Let me be your man.
I haven’t slept for twenty-four hours.
I carefully protect
this kind of non-stop passion.
No matter how much commotion in the world,
the two of us hug tightly.
I can faintly sense a smile
hidden in your lips.

做你的男人 (zuò nǐ de nánrén)
二十四个小时不睡觉 (èr shí sì gè xiǎoshí bù shuìjiào)
让胆小的你在黑夜中 (ràng dǎnxiǎo de nǐ zài hēiyè zhōng)
也会有个依靠 (yě huì yǒu gè yīkào)
就算有一天爱会变少 (jiù suàn yǒu yī tiān ài huì biàn shǎo)
人会变老 (rén huì biàn lǎo)
就算没告诉过你也知道 (jiùsuàn méi gàosu guò nǐ yě zhīdào)
下辈子还要和你遇到 (xià bèizi hái yào hé nǐ yùdào)

I’ll be your man.
I haven’t slept for twenty-four hours.
If you’re afraid in the dark night,
there will be someone there for you too.
Even though one day love becomes weaker,
and people grow older.
Even though I haven’t told you, you still know.
I’ll encounter you in my next life as well.

Previously translated lyrics:

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Det finns inga prinsessor mer

About Laleh’s new album. English summary below.

Nu har jag lyssnat på Lalehs nya skiva Prinsessor och tänker leka musikrecensent. Efter en fantastisk första skiva hade jag stora förhoppningar på Prinsessor. Jag kan inte säga att besviken, men tycker ändå inte att den är lika stark som den första skivan. Överlag är den mindre sprallig, med fler lugna låtar. En mer pretentiös recensent skulle kanske säga att den här skivan är mer mogen, men jag uppskattade verkligen spretigheten på den första och tycker inte att det är en förbättring. Detta till trots är det en bra skiva och jag ska säga något om höjdpunkterna.

November. Den här låten känns positiv trots att texten handlar om människor som är elaka mot varandra. Musikaliskt är det också den låt jag gillar bäst.

Prinsessor. Pianoslingan påminner mig om en gammal spökfilm. “Det finns inga prinsessor mer, kan vi inte sluta leka det? Det finns inga soldater mer, kan vi inte sluta leka det?” Jag vet inte riktigt vad den här låten vill säga… jag vill gärna tolka det som “avskaffa monarkin och försvaret”, men det är nog inte hela sanningen. Kanske är det bristen på tydligt politiska låtar (i stil med Bostadsansökan) som får mig att vilja tolka in mer än vad som finns.

I Know This. Jag gillar både texten och musiken. “Let’s see how society would work without the people go to work.” Först trodde jag att texten ironiserade över naivt idealistiska människor, men Laleh känns inte så ironisk. Den avslutas med “I change my mind daily” så den ska nog inte ses som ett manifest.

Andra bra låtar är “Det är vi som bestämmer”, “Call on Me” och “Step on You”. Sammanfattningsvis gillar jag Lalehs nya skiva, men den är inte perfekt.

Summary

Laleh’s new album Prinsessor (princesses) is really good, but not as good as the first one. About half the songs are in English, of which I especially recommend November, I Know This and Step on You.

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童话

I really like this song by 王光良 (Wáng Guāngliáng). The first time I heard it was in Sweden. The second time was outside a market here in Beijing. I recognized it and asked someone what it was called. I thought he said 红花 (hóng huā) but when I came home I couldn’t find a song by that name, nor did I remember the melody or lyrics. A few days later I heard it again but again failed to remember anything afterwards. One morning I suddenly remembered the melody and sang it to my computer. With a little help from friends I now know that it’s called 童话 (tóng huà), fairytale. In the unlikely event that it might be useful to someone else, here is my translation of the lyrics:

忘了有多久
再没听到你
对我说你最爱的故事
我想了很久
我开始慌了
是不是我又做错了什么

I’ve forgotten how long it’s been
since I last listened to you
tell me your favorite story.
I’ve wondered for so long,
I’ve begun to worry,
have I done something wrong again?

你哭着对我说
童话里都是骗人的
我不可能是你的王子
也许你不会懂
从你说爱我以后
我的天空星星都亮了

You cried when you said to me
fairytales are all make believe,
I can’t be your prince.
Perhaps you can’t understand,
after you said you love me
the stars on my sky are bright.

我愿变成童话里
你爱的那个天使
张开双手变成翅膀守护你
你要相信
相信我们会像童话故事里
幸福和快乐是结局

I’m willing to change into
the angel in your fairytale,
stretching my hands like wings to protect you.
You must believe,
believe that we can be like that fairytale.
And we will live happily ever after.

你哭着对我说…

You cried when you said to me…

我愿变成童话里…

I’m willing to change into…

我要变成童话里…

I want to change into…

我会变成童话里…

I can change into…

一起写我们的结局

Together we write our ending.

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一封家书

In class today we listened to a song called 一封家书 (A Letter Home) by 李春波 (Li Chunbo). It’s from 1993 and is quite well known (in China). Because I’m bored and because I think the song says something about Chinese culture, I’ll try translating the lyrics. Our teacher already did part of the job, of course. Also, thanks to Jess for helping out. Pinyin in brackets.

亲爱的爸爸妈妈 (qīnài de bàba māma)
你们好吗 (nǐmen hǎo ma)
现在工作很忙吧 (xiànzài gōngzuò hěn máng ba)
身体好吧 (shēntǐ hǎo ba)

Dear dad and mom.
How are you?
Have you been busy at work?
Do you have your health?

我现在广州挺好的 (wǒ xiànzài Guǎngzhōu tǐng hǎo de)
爸爸妈妈不要太牵挂 (bàba māma bú yào tài qiānguà)
虽然我很少写信 (suīrán wǒ hěnshǎo xiě xìn)
其实我很想家 (qíshí wǒ hěn xiǎngjiā)

I’m doing very well in Guangzhou now.
Dad and mom don’t need to worry.
Although I don’t write very often,
I’m actually very homesick.

爸爸每天都上班吗 (bàba měitiān dōu shàngbān ma)
管得不严就不要去了 (guǎndé bù yán jiù bú yào qù le)
干了一辈子革命工作 (gàn le yíbèizi gémìng gōngzuò)
也该歇歇了 (yě gāi xiē xiē le)

Does dad go to work every day?
If the manager isn’t too strict, he doesn’t need to go.
Having done revolutionary work for a lifetime,
he too deserves to rest.

我买了一件毛衣给妈妈 (wǒ mǎi le yí jiàn máoyī gěi māma)
别舍不得穿上吧 (bié shěbudé chuānshàng ba)
以前儿子不太听话 (yǐqián érzi bù tài tīnghuà)
现在懂事他长大了 (xiànzài dǒngshì tā zhǎngdà le)

I bought a sweater for mom,
please don’t be afraid to use it.
Before your son wasn’t very obedient,
but he’s sensible and grown up now.

哥哥姐姐常回来吗 (gēge jiějie cháng huí lái ma)
替我问候他们吧 (tì wǒ wènhòu tāmen ba)
有什么活儿就让他们干 (yǒu shénme huór jiù ràng tāmen gàn)
自己孩子有什么客气的 (zìjǐ háizi yǒu shénme kèqì de)

Do brother and sister come home to visit often?
Please give them my greetings.
If you have any housework, let them do it.
You’re own children should pay their respect.

爸爸妈妈多保重身体 (bàba māma duō bǎozhòng shēntǐ)
不要让儿子放心不下 (bú yào ràng érzi fàngxīnbúxià)
今年春节我一定回家 (jīnnián chūnjié wǒ yídìng huí jiā)
好了先写到这儿吧 (hǎo le xiān xiě dào zhèr ba)

Dad and mom, take good care of your health,
don’t let your son worry about you.
This Spring Festival I’m coming home for sure.
I should stop writing now.

此致敬礼 (cǐzhì jìnglǐ)
此致那个敬礼 (cǐzhì nàgè jìnglǐ)
一九九三年十月十八号 (yī jiǔ jiǔ sān nián shí yuè shí bā hào)

Regards.
October 18, 1993.

As a service to my readers, here’s the song for you to download. I’m sorry I can only provide it in mp3-format, but I found it on Baidu (Chinas biggest search engine). Copyright 李春波 1993. Used without permission, of course.

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The two best songs ever

  1. Helter Skelter in mono
  2. Helter Skelter in stereo

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