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Opinion: Chinese pop songs with too much English in them


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I'm not sure how many of u agree with me, but Chinese pop songs with too much English suck! Reasons are:

1). I listen to enough English music everyday, and when I want to listen to Chinese songs but to hear English, I get frustrated

2). The artists just want to show off their English b'coz they somehow feel it makes them more sophisticated and superior to other Chinese people.... but that don't impress me much. They're implying to me that Chinese civilisation is inferior to Western civilisation.

3). Adding some English lines and singing them with thick laughable Chinese accents isn't going to be the icebreaker to English-language markets, as much as they try.

4). The worst use of English is when they try to imitate Afro-American R&B and rap. It just doesn't sound right

Off the top of my head, I think Leon Lai's songs has the most English. With the rap and R&B imitations, Evonne Hsu and Elva are the worst.

That's why I listen to Jay Zhou songs. Apart from the words 'yeah' and 'baby', his songs are mainly in Chinese and he's not a try-hard with that English thing.

Anyone agree?

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Well, a lot of the younger singers were born in the US, or have at least lived here for a long period of time. I don't mind, because even if we do hear better sung English songs by American artists, these Chinese singers still have their own individuality and flair. I like it best when they plug in a few English words here and there, Chinglish style, usually in the hooks and choruses.

It is actually the Taiwanese who are overusing English in music, much moreso than HK these days. T-Rush, Tension, etc. E-Vonne doesn't even have any originality. One of her most popular songs is ripped straight off the Korean-American singer, J.

HK used to and still does incorporate a lot of Japanese in their songs. Remember "Sayonara" by Leslie and "Yet Boon Wa Wa" by Sam Hui? To HK people, Japan was, and always will be the coolest place on earth.

Anyways, it is not just HK and Taiwan singers who sing/rap in English. There is plenty of English in Korean and Japanese music as well. Drunken Tiger raps in English quite a bit, but as I alluded to earlier, they are from the States. In Japanese, Hikki (also American born) does it. Kazami has a few English songs on her new album also.

Besides, English is the international language. It is best that most people speak it anyways. English is considered "cool" by the people who don't speak much of it because it is the language of the most powerful Western nations.

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If the people singing can actually understand English it doesn't bother me so much. Otherwise I agree with the OP. It doesn't sound cool to mangle the language. I would hate to be a singer and sing in another language knowing that native speakers would laugh if they heard me. I wouldn't really want to sing in a language I didn't understand anyhow. I can understand I guess why some singers do it for an image thing, but I don't care for it personally.

Of course, some speak good English and that's fine. David Tao, I think, sings in very clear English on his songs and it sounds ok (he's not really my favortie, but the english doesn't suck). Here in the US we have lots of singers who use both Spanish and English. If they can actually speak in two (or more) languages then I've got no problem with them singing in them.

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I've just been listening to some David Tao. In one song, I always laugh because in one part he sings something, which I'm not sure is English or Chinese. It sounds like:

"I don't know how you're you?" or it could be "I don't know hao you yu"

Whatever that means. Anyway, it's a great CD, so I won't hold it against him.

I don't have a problem with English being added into songs, as long as it's not too excessive. I like it especially if it sounds completely random, like when a-mei sings "Let's go bowling..." When I first heard that song, it just sounded so random and funny I had to have the CD.

The thing is English is really only in the over-commercialised pop, which I guess is the majority of Chinese music, but anyway, my point is you're listening to low-grade music, so you have to expect those types of things, and just enjoy it for what it is - over-commercialised pop.

One thing I don't like is when there are bad native English backup singers in songs. In a-mei's latest album there is some rapper in the background. He can't rhyme or flow properly. I just imagine him as some failure of a musician who couldn't make it in the US music scene so he went to Taiwan, where they don't mind if you're rapping about loving a-mei in one line, cheating on her in the next, then giving her '100 red roses, just to let you know that I care' in the next line.

Btw, I always listen to Leon Lai, I think he is pretty cool. All my HK friends are disgusted by this fact.

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  • 1 month later...

I personally like Jay Chou a lot, and also admire him for his creativity and originality, but I also have to say that from a behind-the-scenes perspective, he is one of the lucky ones.

For most newer artistes, like eVonne Hsu, they have little to no choice in what kind of songs they will have to sing. The record company usually just chooses whatever songs they like, or what they think will be successful. Jay is extremely talented, and also lucky that he gets to choose what songs he wants to put on his albums, because for the most part, the big companies do what they want, regardless of how the artiste feels about it personally.

I feel sorry for the artistes, that they are always the ones that get crapped on for what wasn't even their choosing.

Another thing, it's called singing a cover in a different language when someone sings a song originally released in a different language or country, not "ripping off" another singer. "Ripping off" is claiming a song to be your composition when it is obviously an imitation of another song. They're totally different; one is a different version in another language, usually performed by a different artiste; the other is a musical form of plagiarism.

If you would like to judge an artiste's talents, maybe you can check the credits first. Although it is little known to the general public, eVonne Hsu has also written a few songs, but has never claimed other composers' work as her own. Few artistes would go so far as to claim something that is so easily disputed, unless, of course forced by the record or management companies.

Sorry, I am not intending to rub anyone the wrong way, just trying to give everyone a different perspective. Being close to these artistes makes me feel as if I can help them to explain some stuff they might not be able to say for themselves, and hopefully give them a little bit of justice in an already unfair industry. :?

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  • 2 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

In my opinion, Chinese artists blending English into their songs is okay, as long as they get it correct. When it is not, it sounds terrible.

For an example: on one 张惠美 VCD (I think it was 我要飞) there was this song, You Make Me Free. The song itself was pleasant, but then I heard the English in the chorus:

You make me dreaming,

Make me fly

But wait! There's more:

You make me crazy,

Make me feeling

And so on and so forth.

Now don't get me wrong; I'm a huge fan of A-Mei. But I was disappointed with her English! It sounded very cheap. I was kind of surpised, because in some of her other albums, her English was very good. Maybe some songwriter hasn't done his homework.

Anyway, that's just my two cents' worth.

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My favorite male singer is Ah Niu (阿牛) and he mixed almost everything in his songs, Mandarin, Hokkien, Malay, Cantonese, and of course, English~

I like it , and I found them interesting.

阿花與阿牛 ... when he sang this, suddenly he sang something in Hokkien, funny.

I don't see them a big problem... of course they have to do it for some reasons but not just to show off.

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hmmm i think there is a sufficient amount of chinese in the songs so that they are still "chinese" songs. the english in the song compliments whatever the author is trying to say in chinese. :conf then again, thats just my .02

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I agree with the OP. English should only be used if it's going to be used well. To many singers use it as a fasion tool, which makes normal Chinese learners of English seem extra pretentious when using the language. Orwell would be disgusted, if he were alive and Chinese.

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