It’s fun to talk music with other people. I always found that my love for the chinese music scene alienated me from my friends, who were not interested, or sometimes even condescending about my preference in music. Over the last 10 years, however, I’ve found individuals here and there, who are unabashed fans as well. Their presence in my own listening journey has always given me a lot of joy, so I’ve decided to do some fun things with them. If any of you out there are closet Mando Music lovers, and would love to connect and talk music. Let me know!

張震嶽 is a longtime artist in the industry with a huge body of work – famous songs include: 分手吧,愛我別走,自由 etc. We did a Best 3 comparison to see how how his discography vibes with us in different ways.

Best 3  – Alex F.

Disclaimer: How I chose these songs is solely based on this criteria – If I were only to loop 3 songs out of his whole discography for the rest of my life, which 3 songs would it be?

小宇

Although this song is one of the most recent songs I know by him, the most intriguing aspect of this song is its simplicity. Being known for his rocker attitude, this song and the album “OK” (2007) definitely showed his more thoughtful side, as the lyrics were simply crafted to express one’s bittersweet hope for another person. =/.

自由

One of the reasons why I decided to wear my guitar low and jump around was this song and every performance of it since. Since I thought this is exactly how you’d play rock guitar. The original version, written for Angelica Li (李心潔) was rather lighthearted to fit her personality, but A-Yue gave the song an extreme make-over and it became the amped up version that everyone has grown to know. It’s basically a declaration of freedom post-breakup…

想太多

Who said you’re not allowed to have extended solos in a mandopop song? With a prominent keyboard solo and an extended guitar solo until the song fades out, the song clocks in at 5:06, which was considered rather long for a radio-friendly song. The nonsensical verse of waiting for a girl who works in McDonalds and the pessimistic chorus about how the character in the lyrics was thinking too much is enough to make you facepalm. But that bassline though…

Honorable Mentions! – Songs that almost made the list, but couldn’t: 分手吧/愛的初體驗/再見/只是朋友

Best 3 – Jak L.

思念是一种病

This track came out during high school and was an instant karaoke classic, mainly due to the unique music style and catchy chorus. It was the song that introduced me to him. Every time I heard it, I resonated with it. The juxtaposition of that particular emotion, to miss, with the parasitic effect of disease felt perfect; bittersweet, would be another way to describe it. I spent many hours learning how to sing the rhythmic verses that necessitated the full effect of the chorus, to express my inner resonance and to impress my friends at karaoke. It’s still one of my favorites from A-Yue.

小宇

The lyrics and the soft feel of the song drew me to it. In high school, it was my perception of what love is and should be: easy, self-sacrificing, but at the same time genuine. It was the moment in the relationship that mattered, and the goal was to remain there. However, the last line 如果你还是没法相信, 真的没关系我会安静的离去 carved it a place in my canon. I felt that to leave someone important to me was an essential part of love; letting go is sometimes the best way to love someone. Nowadays those sentiments have faded and changed, but it still remains one of my go-to karaoke songs: if not for the nostalgic memories, for the light-hearted melody that perfectly complements the lyrics.

很难

This last song has become more and more relevant to me over the years. When I was younger, it was the music that made me love it – a kick-back and relax kinda song. But the song has transformed into an expression of some of the most difficult feelings inside me: a desire to combine freedom with and in relationships, of any kind. There are always  questions with no simple or even right answer. The chorus 有时候, 想把自己关起来. 还是,学着把心门打开.人与人之间的关系变得不理不睬,习惯无关紧要的冷淡. 有时候, 莫名其妙哭起来. 难道这就是自怨自哀谁. 不希望像飞鸟一样自由自在, 谁不希望啊, 谁不希望. 只是很难 is still an internal dialogue I often have with myself. Life is hard, but this song has accompanied me throughout the years, at home, on the go, or in a room with a mic in my hand.

Best 3 – Jasmine 🙂 

小宇

I’m always fond of the non-melodramatic approach to a melodramatic topic. This song from 2007 is on point because it hits that sweet spot between sentimentality and a chill acoustic sound. 張震嶽 is an all-rounded artist, often the producer, composer and performer of his music. This song shows the result of that kind of cohesion and investment on a holistic level: simple, and yet complex and sophisticated in dealing with its topic of unrequited love (the most used and abused topic in the history of the world). The nuanced nature of the singer’s perspective, as shown in the lyrics, is mixed in with light acoustic sound to be detached and melancholy, without being bitter or dramatic. Did I mention the lyrics were exquisite? EXQUISITE.

愛的初體驗

This song has a dated sound – that electric guitar man… It is completely a product of its 1997 release era, which makes it amazing. The lyrics are sarcastic with a strong sense of dry humor, which is a huge part of 張震嶽’s vibe as an artist. Listening to it now is a weird moment of hearing a throwback version of A-Yue singing about a throwback version of himself. His writing does reveal a adolescent, angsty approach to his girlfriend leaving him, but filtered through a slightly older self who views the event with a sort of grown-up wisdom flavored with a hint of cynicism. It also makes you want to get up and do some really oldschool dance moves and yell into a WIRED microphone.

無名的情歌

This track is off his latest album, 我是海雅谷慕 which won Chinese Album of the Year at the Golden Melody Awards in 2014.

The lyrics are rounded and complete, and his sound leans more to acoustic-influenced mainstream mandopop  – in line with his development away from the electronic vibes of his earlier stuff. I feel like A-Yue is taking his life in stride, even when talking about his angst and doubt, even when questioning whether or not his actions were worth anything. It’s the sound of a maturing artist. I like it.

SNEAK MENTIONS: His chorus on MC Hotdog’s 離開 IS YUMS. 别哭小女孩 in 我是海雅谷慕 for shoutout to his Indigenous roots…the whole album is a shoutout really. 唉唷喂呀 is amazing too
(It’s just a really good album).

Freebie (cheating) because I have editing power. This song sounds like A-Yue from 愛的初體驗 but aged 15 years. :3

P.S. I love how 小宇 is a staple on all our picks. It’s that good.

Posted by:jasmine

Jasmine is an editor, poet, and community arts organizer. She comes to poetry by way of Chinese music. This blog is a mapping of ways.

One thought on “Music: 張震嶽 [Threeway PK]

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