JA Fu Longfei – Stand

Feel the storm and clouds of my breath
Hear the thunder and lighting of my voice
See the stars that are my eyes
My limbs point North, East, West, and South
My skin stretch across the open earth
Pangu cut open the heavens and the Earth,
to watch me perform

Unabashedly bold, Yaoband member Zhang Jinghao’s lyrics evoke such majestic imagery  in all his songs. I love how you can tell his influences even in collabs, such as this song he cowrote with and for JA Fu Longfei. Here, Fu Longfei compares himself to Pangu, the mythical hero who cut open the world to cause essentially the Big Bang in Chinese lore.

Fu Longfei’s live version at a new song competition show, Unlimited Show Season 无限歌谣季,  at 1h16m40s

Yaoband’s album teaser is all I’ve ever wanted

Publishing this before the actual album is out because I’m scared the album won’t live up to the teasers.

pipa X hard dance ✓
kunqu opera X future bass ✓
Triple pun  and triple entendre ✓
my favorite ancient Chinese novel  ✓

Every detail of 耀乐团 Yaoband’s  new album teasers is tuned to perfection.   Reflections in a Garden 镜花园  is an upcoming concept album inspired by Flowers in the Mirror 镜花缘, a nineteenth century fantasy novel known for its explorations of various dystopias.

The first teaser opens in a garden.  The music opens with future bass, then goes to guzheng  as the teaser reads “Disturb the waves by washing one’s clothes in the milky way, clean oneself of star dust.”  The metaphor uses several wordplays. Disturb (波动) can also refer to the plucking of a zither instrument such as the guzheng, clothes can also mean baggage, the characters for the milky way literally mean silver river, and dust is often used to indicate mortality in Chinese.

 The song then samples  a line from The Peony Pavilion segment  A Walk in the Garden, “Without visiting the garden, how could I have known such beauty ? 不到园林,怎知春色如许. ”  The opera’s protagonist then falls asleep in the garden and meets and falls in love with her otp in a dream.   The teaser reads “Searching for a dream of the past  to meet oneself in parallel universes.” 

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Music Monday: June 12, 2017

Stranger in the North – Namewee ft Wang Leehom

Malaysian singer Namewee adds to the countless songs about the dream chasers  lost in the strange allure and fog of the Northern Capital (Beijing). I don’t think Leehom has ever lived in Beijing, but who can complain about him.

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[Lyrics] Among the Peach Blossoms

I use the mountains as my canvas,
I control the waterfalls with my paintbrush,
From up to downstream,
the stream carries my flow
So dope it makes the world jealous

The imagery painted in  Among the Peach Blossoms 桃之夭夭 are some of the best so far out of the often rambling Zhao Yongxin. Complete with a rap in literary Chinese, lines sung in the style of Yi folk songs, zhongguofeng-arrangement,  and weird English lyrics,  the song is like a huge smorgasbord  of Zhao Yongxin’s mind.

The song  was inspired by a late-night literary talk show that Zhao Yongxin watched that used the title of the song, 桃之夭夭. He loved the imagery of the word, and so  a few days later,  he called up  buddy  Zhang Jinghao (Yaoband)  and they wrote it in one night. To be honest, Zhang Jinghao probably wrote that best verse since it sounds like his style.

 

See that waterlily emerging out of the water,
Who can resist but fall in love with its reflections in the pond.
The rainbow among the rose-blush* skies,
Can also know the flames of a mortal life*,
Crazy like me.

 

How long must I wait
After the clouds gather and the rain falls, *
After the winds blow and the snow falls, *
Who will lose guard,*

When tomorrow’s moon comes,
Who will share a drink with me.
I pick up my paintbrush, ready to compose,
The ink drops from the paintbrush
The tear drops from the heart-broken man.

 

Among the peach blossoms*
Sailing with the flow
Among the quaint landscapes,
South of the clouds *
I use the mountains as my canvas,
I control the waterfalls with my paintbrush,
From upstream to downstream,
the stream carries my flow
So dope it makes the world jealous *

*cool literary Chinese  rap here*
*too hard to translate *

QED: With you by my side, I can block out the entire world.
I’m a well-endowed man.
I’m rich man, the wise will know.
Excite me more,
Stimulate me more
What time is it?
I don’t care.*!*

* 胭脂 is rouge used as blush/lip cream in ancient China. Can be used to refer to feminine beauty.
*人间烟火 Literally the foods of mortals (as opposed to immortals who are too good for mortal food).
*翻云覆雨 comes from a poem by Du Fu complaining about how  some people’s attitude to relationships are as unpredictable as the weather
*风花雪月 – originally  used to describe vacuous poetry describing the scenery, it was later  used to describe decadent lifestyles and romances. Historically used with a negative connotation, the term has been used positively in recent years.
*翻云覆雨之后风花雪月失守 Knowing M.I.C., I’m going to guess this line is a fancy metaphor for either stormy sex, a relationship where one side got tricked into sleeping with the other one, or both.
*明月几时有 comes from a poem by Su Shi that asks when was the bright moon first created? The poem compare the waning and waxing of the moon to the uniting and separation of people on Earth. I translated it using a very literal take  to make sense of it with the next line.
*桃之夭夭 is a reference to a Zhou dynasty song  in the Book of Songs that compares a bride to the rosiness of the peach blossoms
*Zhao Yongxin is from the province Yunnan, which literally translate to South of the Clouds.
*some  creative license used in translating 世人妒之

*!* As I was translating this last segment, it dawned on me that this entire song could just be about Zhao Yongxin finally getting in the pants of a woman he’s like for a long time, and all that gorgeous scenic imagery could actually just be a fancier metaphor than watering your vase in My Place.

I demand a personal apology from  Zhao Yongxin and  Zhang Jinghao for tricking me.

 

Music Monday: May 25, 2015

Here to make Monday a little easier =)

Here to make Monday a little easier =)

I’ve been listening to too much indie recently and haven’t been able to find a way to embed them (Xiami!!! Expand to the U.S. already!) , so most of the songs are theme songs this week, including ballads by Zhou Bichang, Aska Yang, and S.H.E.  Rounding up the group are a song from Zhou Ziyan‘s debut album and electric rock from Yaoband‘s new album.

But more importantly, here’s an awesome cursing song, Death Comes Early for the Handsome 长得帅死得快,  for Detective Di Renjie 名侦探狄仁杰 aka the only good new series this year so far.

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Yaoband mixes poetry with electric rock

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Can you guess which member co-wrote songs with Jason Fu?

If Apple features you in an ad , surely you have to be pretty special.  Electric rock band Yaoband/The Honor 耀乐团 not only have an American distributer, but also a lot of full English songs (but no, no booty like fat cheese).

I can’t believe I missed them before (okay, I can, it’s because of the random appearance of Aventurina King in their MV) .  I first heard them performing at the Migu festival last month and was immediate an fan. One member, Zhang Jinghao, also co-wrote  Jason Fu Longfei‘s Survivor.    You can listen to and buy their songs on itunes here and read more about them here.

They’re currently working on their new album, but here’s their single from their last album that mixes ancient poetry with a modern beat. Fun fact: the dancers of this live performances come from a dance studio now ran by ex-girlband S.P.Y. 

Music Monday: May 4, 2015

Here to make Monday a little easier =)

Here to make Monday a little easier =)

First, Jane Zhang is singing the English theme for the Terminator 5!  Apparently that’s why she missed out on the I am a Singer finale.

Meanwhile,  here is one more of those  pretty theme songs she excels at. The song is written by up-and-rising musician Xu Ziwei, who also wrote the  theme song for upcoming Chen Xiao drama Twilight of the Empire :

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