The last decade or so has seen the rise of singing competitions featuring famous singers covering each other’s material. This is an excellent addition to the music industry and our listening palettes, as it allows us to savour our favourite artists covering songs drastically out of their style / usual repertoire, but also offers opportunity for us to discover or rediscover artists we might not have strong impressions of, and be impressed by their technical / performance abilities.
The other big plus is that old music gets a new sound, a new interpretation, and often a second life.
I’ll be sharing some of my favourite live covers over the next few months, and hopefully you’ll get to enjoy some of these spectacular re-interpretations as well.
我們的愛 // Our Love
i remember my youth in a blur, how the cloud drifted through a blue sky
Any self-respecting teenager from the early 2000s who listened to Chinese music knows F.I.R., the breakout band from 2004, who unfortunately also never managed to top their first album (an album I can sing every line of, in my sleep).
我們的愛 is track five on their self-titled debut album, and continues to dominant karaoke charts everywhere, 14 years on.
No joke. This easily ranks in the top 10 of most overplayed, poorly sung karaoke songs. It’s dramatically tragic, scream-worthy, and catchy to boot. What more could you ask for?
Fun fact: This is one of the most famous MVs in Chinese music history, featuring a young 桂綸鎂.
我們的愛 過了它就不再回來 直到現在 還在默默，默默等待
Our love, once it’s gone, won’t ever come back. To this day, silently, silently,
When JJ Lin picked 我們的愛 to cover on Sound Of My Dream, I was not happy.
Why cover a song that’s been covered endlessly?? How much more could he do with it?
Anyway, he proved me wrong. The performance goes from peak to peak, featuring some jaw-dropping musical arrangement and a JJ-style mash of soft rock sensibility. It wus so gud <3.
月牙灣 // Crescent Moon Bay
Our aspirations crossed the Western regions, filled with a calm stillness
月牙灣 is a rare gem that appeared in their fourth album 【愛·歌姬】, from 2009, deviating from the many forgettable tracks F.I.R. released.
Featuring the classic Chinese fusion sound that was in vogue then, thanks to a certain Jay Chou, this song retains the poetry of Chinese lyric, but creates a fresh ambient sound reminiscent of world music. This song remains an iconic track in F.I.R.’s overall discography.
看 月牙灣下的淚光 在絲路之上被遺忘
Look at the tearlight under the Crescent Moon Bay, forgotten along the silk road
A-Lin has tasked with covering it when she visited “Sound of My Dream”, and infused it with her signature R&B. Recent A-Lin has dialled down her power vocals in favour of chill, free spirit runs, and it completely alters the listening experience of 月牙灣. It’s one of my favourite renditions of such a classic song, and A-Lin pulls it off without a sweat.
Fun fact: Original F.I.R. member and pianist 建宁老师 (Ian) is sitting in the judging panel.