Karaoke Notes

I’d been telling my girlfriend that we’d do karaoke sometime soon ever since Valentine’s Day, and last night I finally made good on that promise. We showed up at “PartyWorld” (AKA 錢櫃) at 11:45pm, and, thrifty young souls that we are, waited around for fifteen minutes for the hourly rate to drop from 158rmb to 58rmb.

I, of course, abhor karaoke. I can’t sing, and I don’t particular enjoy proving that to the world, even when “the world” in Asian style karaoke means only the other people in the private karaoke box with you. My girlfriend is a good singer, though, and she doesn’t like much crappy pop, so I don’t mind going to karaoke with just her. She sings, I eat. (If drinking happens to be on the agenda, I sometimes end up singing.)

So I’ll just mention here a few songs I found noteworthy. Most of them are not new at all.

嘻唰唰 by 花儿乐队 (Flowers) (click for Baidu MP3 search). I’ve written about this poppy punky band before, but they’ve caught my attention again. The title of this song could be another entry in the onomatopeia vocabulary list, and the fun immaturity of the song reminds me of Leather Jacket by Screeching Weasel (but not nearly as punk). In keeping with the sound suggested by the song’s title, the band was dressed as window washers in the video. This song is currently one of the most popular titles at PartyWorld.

完美的一天 by 孙燕姿 (Stephanie Sun) (click for Baidu MP3 search). This song really reminded me of a lot of Japanese pop I’ve heard, maybe a little like something by Chara. I guess it’s largely the rhythm that makes it seem like a nice change from a lot of Chinese pop. The video also struck me as Japanese-esque, with the singer being pushed through a supermarket in a shopping cart, and later hanging out with a giant inflatable leaning Astro Boy on the beach.

Phonebook by 林凡. 林凡 is a decent singer I guess. I wasn’t totally paying attention, but I think in this song she’s brooding about friends and lovers from the past, and she has found an old notebook with names and numbers of those people. The thing is, she calls this book a “phonebook.” So while she’s earnestly crooning about these former relationships, she suddenly busts out with the English line, “IT’S AN OLD PHONEBOOK” (which is in all caps on the screen, of course). So amidst all this mushy nostaglia, I get this image of an old phonebook like the one we used to keep next to the microwave in the kitchen shoved in my face. Awesome.

I’m still no fan of (sober) karaoke, but I gotta say, it’s a lot more tolerable when it’s just the two of us and I have some veto power. It was also a refreshing musical smack in the face, considering all I’ve been listening to for the past few days is I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning.

Related: Using Baidu MP3 Search


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. The Flowers song is supposedly ripped off of A2G奔向你 by Puffy AmiYumi, which has more of a ska feel (but lacks the catchy 嘻唰唰 refrain) – actually, practically every song on Flowers’ latest album has been accused of plagiarism (see Massage Milk).

  2. zhwj,

    Thanks for the info. Is Massage Milk closed forever? All I can see for any entry is: 由于众所周知的不可抗拒之原因,本博客暂时关闭。

  3. That’s unexpected. He’ll probably turn up somewhere else if Ycul can’t host him.

  4. Now that momma’s got a squeeze box daddy never sleeps at night.

  5. quote “She sings, I eat.”
    so everytime you must hunt for a Karaoke where offers food and drinking?

  6. Perhaps John is just very fond of sunflower seeds/

  7. Naw, last time it was a spicy garlic cucumber dish and popcorn chicken. I’m not a fan of karaoke and I rarely go, so when I do go I don’t go to those ghetto places.

  8. When I first stepped into a Karaoke and had to choose between singing OR eating duck heads (which Nanjingren happen to adore), I took the microphone and wouldn’t let it go for all that’s worthy in my life!

    Now, I am a bit more experienced in Karaoke and Chinese songs, and I happen to love karaoke! Moreover: everytime there is a gathering of my in-law relatives, they get me to sing traditional songs in front of them, which I actually enjoy doing… :*-) Maybe one day I will appear on TV, just like Da Shan.

    Oh Gosh! I am looking forward to returning to Nanjing, only to get my boyf and his buds eating duck heads while I sing. 😛

    Thanks, John. You made me feel nostalgic!

  9. John, your so involved.

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