eeMedia does Red Songs badly


Instead of talking about the good albums that have been released,  I’m going to talk about one that was a disappointment, because it was one of the ones I was most looking forward to this summer. I love Red Songs. It doesn’t really matter in my opinion that they were “Red” propaganda, nor is it fair to the people who worked on them to ignore them as such. Especially those  pre-Cultural Revolution, because I think some of China’s finest composers came out during that time, including my favorite Chinese composer of all time, Lei Zhenbang who was just genius.

Then eeMedia began releasing songs from this album one by one on Sohu’s website.  And one by one my excited died. This album just sucked, largely due to poor song choice and bad producing by Zhang Yadong. That’s right, Zhang Yadong produced this album and he sucked at it.


As you all may or may not know, or might not care about, this year is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC…and 60 is an important landmark number in Chinese culture, so there’s been a lot more of this type of stuff released than usual. The first one was Anson Hu’s EP, Red Songs, which I thought sounded great. And now eeMedia just released this 2 CD set with some of their favorite company members singing a variety of Red Songs, with Zhang Yadong producing. And since most eeMedia people can really sing, there should have been no reason for it to turn bad.

But everything was so boring, so flat. With none of the passion that the songs should have been sung by. It seemed everytime the song was to reach a high point, it got pushed down. And I blame it on Zhang Yadong since he was the producer and this style is evident in the songs of others he’s worked with, such as Ma Tianyu, Tian Yuan, SuperVC etc…whose sounds are more soothing in nature. It worked well for them, but not for this album.

Let’s look at Wei Chen for an example:

Wei Chen (CD version)

Compare to his spontaneous performance when Sohu interviewed him, An Youqi and Yu Haoming about the album. So much better. In fact, since Red Songs can show off someone’s voice well, they’re popular songs to sing. There’s been much much better performances from Zhang Jie, Wei Chen, Tan Weiwei, etc.

The song choices with the album weren’t the best, but I don’t think I can blame that completely on Zhang Yadong because some of the singers got to pick the songs they wanted to sing. But all the same it is disappointing. A famous producer, good songs, and good singers, and none of it worked well together. I’ll just go back to listening to Anson’s EP.

That being said, the album artwork is kind of cool:


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16 thoughts on “eeMedia does Red Songs badly

  1. That’s the word I was looking for – mellow. Wow, vocabulary fail on my part. I was trying to say that they needed to be stronger, but couldn’t think of the word for what they were, and for some reason, “pop” was the first thing to come to mind. >_>

  2. @nepheliad
    Zhang Yadong isn’t making it more pop, just more mellow. Anson Hu, imo, did a great job making the songs “pop” without dulling the songs. Allen Su sung the exact same song during Super Boy, but faster and better sounding. Zhang Jie’s song could’ve been done in a Tian Xia style and would’ve sounded great. Yu Haoming’s song could’ve been a great bubblegum pop song.
    Xu Fe’s song choice was bad. She has a mellow voice, and thus needs a really catchy tune to make her song stand out.. Li Na’s song choice was better, but since she also has a soft voice, they should’ve added more beats in the song.
    Tan Weiwei’s vioice matched terribly with her dueter. The former was too soft, the latter too rough. Tan Weiwei should’ve sung in a clearer voice.
    Ji Jie could’ve done a more soulful version.
    Wei Chen could’ve sung it the way he did live. Clear, but with that quasi-rnb sound he does.

  3. They’re definitely holding the red designs in the second; I just don’t understand why they chose red on blue and white. Background colors not exactly representative of China, haha. I think the reason the design sticks out even in the first picture is that the design has a gradient and is a wholly different color; a drab-colored shirt would’ve made it less of an eyesore.

    That said, I like the actual format and design of those psychedelic “rips” – it was pretty cool.

    I think the problem is that red songs are meant to be sung in a very… large ham sort of way. That’s usually not how pop singers sing, these days, and my guess is that they wanted to “bridge” the generation gap by making them sound more pop. Thing is, the red songs need to be sung in that, er, “con brio”, if you will. Ah, well. Didn’t exactly figure it’d be good, anyway.

  4. @yelei

    You’re missing out. Wei Chen is really great with putting emotions in his performances, if inconsistently

    All time most watched performance on Hunan TV’s website (before they revamped it):

    Imo, his best song so far, Wishes of a Lunatic, written by Lu Hu:

    That’s probably what they did. If you look at Wei Chen’s picture, it looks like he’s holding the sign and that the sign isn’t a part of the shirt.

    I’m more bothered by how they ruined these beautiful songs.

  5. @ cfensi

    I can understand looking cheap & old-school, but I think taping the design onto an originally fine striped t-shirt is cheap beyond cheap. China back in the day was known for drab Mao suits, but at least it wasn’t well, this bad. If they really wanted to go with cheap & old-school, wear the Mao suits – the striped t-shirts actually look like nice-quality t-shirts, but wtf is up with the design stuck on it? Like, they might have just stuck with white t-shirts and taped that design on it – it would look better and the white t-shirts would probably be cheaper than those striped t-shirts.

    The incongruency of the t-shirts is bothering my eyes.

  6. I thought that was point? To have it look kinda cheap and old-school? Because China back in the day…was more known for drab Mao suits than style.

  7. I never heard of Wei Chen’s singing before, but it seems like he does a great job. I liked the beginning melody of the song, but other than that he basically “LaLaLa…” his way. The song does not appeal to me at all.

    By the way, is it me or does the design of the tshirt looks awkward. It does not match with the striped background. It seems to me that, someone did not have enough time and basically glued/taped the rectangle design onto the striped tshirt.

  8. Why is it in the album artwork the shirts look like they have the “hong xing shan shan” thing like stuck onto a blue striped t-shirt like a piece of paper stuck onto a t-shirt? Bothers me so much. It looks terrible. But other than that, the layout of the album artwork is pretty cool.

    And LOL, in the album artwork they got the pinyin right for “hong” but not on the album cover – maybe someone clued them in that they’d screwed up.

  9. @A. I might download just for Ai Mengmeng’s song (can you upload this to youtube idarklight?), which I loved and thought she did justice to, but there’s really no point in downloading the whole thing.

    @idarklight – I agree even though he only sang it on the spot, acapella when he did the sohu interview, you could hear it sounding better. If he had done it with a producer more suited for the task, it would be good.

    And hey, look at Wei Chen in the cover! He’s so close to Li Yuchun! There’s hope for his future in eeMedia after all!

  10. Wei Chen’s song choice wasn’t bad. Tan Weiwei gave an excellent rendition of it once…it was the way the song (and every other song in the album) was planned out…to be emotionless and soft.

    I’ve always liked Zhang Jie’s lives so much better, too. I never liked “ming tian guo hou” or “liu xing heng xing” until he sung them live. Partly because of the extra bit that his performances give, and partly due to the failure of his producers.

  11. I saw this album on and pondered downloading it, but my attention was quickly pulled away by other albums. Eh.

    By the way, the pinyin for “hong” or red is wrong. Pinyin fail. Nicely summarizes the failure of the album? LOL.

  12. I was really really disappointed in the song selection for this album. Some were songs that didn’t even seem to be famous. Wei Chen’s song might have been better had it not been so flat. And most of the good songs met the same fate. In the end, everything, good or bad, seemed to blend together.

    This could have been great, but it wasn’t. And thus, it was a huge disappointment.

  13. I always though Zhang Jie sounds so much better live, like his tian xia sounded so much better when he was performing it on happy camp and baidu award show.

    anyway back to the red song, I loved those old red song there’s so much power and emotion in it. And wei chen’s red song just seem like any old regular pop melodies.

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