If you’ve read my previous post, you’re well aware that I’ve recently finished listening to the audiobook version of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ by Kevin Kwan; so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise for you to learn that I’ve now pivoted over to listening to the Crazy Rich Asians Original Movie Soundtrack. But did I like it?
Back in the day before streaming services became the norm, people actually went to music stores like HMV or Sanity after watching a film in cinema, as they were so mesmerised by the pairing of the music to the visuals that they wanted to own the movie soundtrack to re-live an aspect of the film (until the eventual release of the film in VHS). But fast-forward 15 years with music streaming apps on most people’s phones, the day after a movie is released in the States, over here in Australia we can already listen to the entire movie soundtrack and experience a part of the film even before it’s out in Australian cinemas. Pretty crazy hey? And this is what I’d done when the movie was first released, I asked my Smart assistant to play “Crazy Rich Asians Movie Soundtrack on Spotify”, and at first listen I wasn’t much into the album. My initial thoughts were, “All the songs are in Chinese! And they sounded like songs from the yester-year, stuff that my parents or perhaps my grandparents might listen to.” Not exactly what I had expected from a modern film which was to show a different side of Asia to the rest of the world?
But as I got further into the book and allowed the album to play more and more times around our home, it started to grow on me and I now really appreciate it for its uniqueness.
In the majority of movie soundtracks (if the movie isn’t a musical) the music which accompanies the film is often the straight re-use of copyrighted music. The most difficult task for the Director/Producers was to obtain the permission from the original Artists/copyright holder, then write out a few loyalty checks and they have the movie soundtrack all locked up! However this isn’t the case for the music used in Crazy Rich Asians, the entire album was newly recorded for the film! Director of the film Jon M Chu and Music Supervisor Gabe Hilfer, actually sat down and compiled a list of eclectic songs that they thought would go well with the film. And using resources like Youtube or footage from reality singing competitions like the Voice, they were able to identify and then recruit a bunch of relatively unknown Asian artists to perform these songs for the album.
The songs range from old Chinese classics from the 50s and 60s, to more contemporary Western songs which were re-recorded in Mandarin or Cantonese. The notable western songs which were given the Asian make-over were: Motown hit Money (That’s What I Want) (Cheryl K- sung in Mandarin); Madonna’s Material Girl (Sally Yeah- sung in Cantonese); Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling in Love (Kina Grannis- sung in English); and Coldplay’s Yellow (Katherine Ho- sung in Mandarin). And to bring the album to a crescendo, Money (That’s All I Want) is sung for a second time, this time in English with Awkwafina (Peik Lin) doing her thang.
If you haven’t heard or taken a close listen to the Crazy Rich Asians movie soundtrack yet, check it out! It’s a fun and unique listen, you won’t regret the 45 mins it takes the virtual record needle to traverse its way from the start to the final groove in the album. Just ask your Smart assistant to “Play Crazy Rich Asians, Movie Soundtrack, on Spotify”.
………Oh hey sorry! I’m back now. I had the Crazy Rich Asians soundtrack playing in the background as I was writing this post, and I couldn’t help but drop-tools and crank the Google Home up to 60% and just devote myself to listening to the music. It’s a really superb album! It has this ability to transport you to another time and place, I can almost imagine opening my eyes and seeing my parents as teenagers in the 1960s!
And it got me thinking……. Can you enjoy music that is sung in a language which you’re unfamiliar with? Ethnically I’m from a Chinese Cantonese background, but growing up in the West, my Cantonese is rudimentary at best. If I’m being optimistic, I’d say perhaps I can understand 50% of the lyrics to a Cantonese song? If Mandarin, I’m probably down to 20% comprehension. But what if you, reader don’t understand either of these dialects/languages? Would you still enjoy these songs as much as I did? Hit us up in the comments section below, let me know if you enjoyed the songs if you’re previously unfamiliar with Chinese tones. And yeah, I’m an eclectic listener of music so please feel free to recommend some artists who sing other languages than English or Chinese. I’m keen to wrap my ears around music which is completely foreign to me!
If you liked your first foray into Asian music, give these artists a go (they’re some of my all-time-favourite Chinese artists):
>Aaron Kwok (I’d best describe him as Asia’s Michael Jackson! He was absolutely huge in the 90s! King of Asian Pop!) Just ask your Smart assistant to “Play Aaron Kwok on Spotify”).
>Edison Chen (He’s the bad-boy of Asia, I’d describe him as Hong Kong’s response to Eminem. He’s an Asian who kinda raps, and has an Asian rap crew. Just ask your Smart assistant to “Play Edison Chen on Spotify”).
>Daniel Chan (I’m going to describe him as Asia’s Justin Timberlake! Because he sings and he acts, and is a bit of a heartthrob with the gals! Just ask your Smart assistant to “Shuffle play Daniel Chan on Spotify”).
>Nicholas Tse (Justin Bieber’s brother-from-another-mother! They were both young when they entered the entertainment scene and Nick is even more of a bad-boy than the Beebs! Yeah, they both love their fast cars, but Nicholas has spent time in jail with his escapades with his Ferrari. Haaha. That’s one for Asia, 0 for the United States. Um, if his bad-boy reputation doesn’t put you off, just ask your Smart assistant to “Play Nicholas T S E on Spotify” (spell out his surname as Google has difficulty in understanding his surname).
>Jay Chou (Probably the most talented from this bunch of guys, I’d describe him as Asia’s Ed Sheeran! As he writes and performs most of his own music! Just ask your Smart assistant to “Play Jay Chou on Spotify”).
And my go-to band when I want some non-English music like what you’d expect on the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), is Pink Martini! A mini-orchestra who covers cultural songs from Europe, Japan and the Middle East! Again just ask your Smart assistant to “Play Pink Martini on Spotify”.
Now, that should leave you with at least 6 hours worth of body-groovin’ tracks. Hehehe.