Rare Songs – Kiss Me

This recording of “Kiss Me” (click below to listen) by Faye Wong (王菲) was taped live, according to Bigcola97, at the 1999 Heineken concert. It was added to YouTube by Muskmelon on 8 Sep 2007 as an audio-only video. It’s a cover of Sixpence None the Richer’s version, released in 1997. I don’t believe Faye ever officially released it in a CD, and this is the only recording I’ve ever heard. The photo on the right is from the 1997 Heineken concert videos. [7.12.08: The videos are no longer available on YouTube.] “Kiss Me” is not included in these videos so I’ll have to conclude that either the 1999 date is correct or the 1997 videos are incomplete. The 1997 videos are of excellent quality, BTW, as far as YouTube videos go.

Faye Wong’s version (click on the arrow):

Sixpence None the Richer’s version, added to YouTube by Alinedavila on 29 July 2007:

(sources: Bigcola79, Osirfuzzy, Crack-Anne, Wikipedia)

Faye Wong’s Ten Best ‘Minor’ Videos – #8

8. For my eighth minor video, I’ve selected one of Faye Wong’s (王菲) first MVs, “Everything,” the title track from her second album, released in June 1990 when she was 20. I’ve never seen this on an official video disc so I’m considering it a minor production. With a lot of bare skin, red filters, glistening “perspiration,” poles, torches, spraying water, sinuous poses, and even a sports car, you won’t need much imagination to get the point. This girl’s hot!

Obviously, her managers and advisors at the time (this was before Katie Chen and Ah Kwan) didn’t think her voice or her model’s body and striking good looks were enough to sell albums. So they decided, in all their corporate wisdom, to exploit her sultry beauty and turn her into a sexy torch who could also sing.

Fortunately for Faye and the world, this strategy was never used again. Knowing Faye as we do now, we know that this just isn’t her. On her return from New York in 1992, Katie Chen (陈家瑛, Chen Jiaying) became her manager, and, together, they forged a career that’s become legend. In the ensuing years, as Faye takes increasingly greater artistic control over her career, the quality of her performances improves dramatically, and videos such as this are buried and nearly forgotten. Perhaps this should have been left in the cobwebs, but I’ve decided to resurrect it to help explain why it was so important for Faye to leave Hong Kong and her career behind and go off to somewhere far away for a while to take stock of her life and the direction it ought to take. This is exactly what she did toward the end of 1991, when she left for New York to study music and to think. In the process, she also discovered religion, Buddhism, which is still a strong influence in her life today. She returned to her career in HK in March 1992, on the advice of her voice teacher, Dai Sicong (戴思聪), and, as they say, the rest is history.

See “10 Best Minor Videos” in the right sidebar for links to the other selections. The introduction to this series is in selection #1.

Click here for a related article and video.

Rare Songs – Don’t Break My Heart

Faye Wong (王菲) sang this song, “Don’t Break My Heart” (click below to listen), at her Tokyo concert on March 11-12, 1999, at the Budokan. It’s in this rare-songs series because it’s not included in any official releases. I like this song on its own merits but moreso because of its historical significance. It was first recorded by the Black Panther (黑豹, Hei Bao) in 1991. (See the photo below; also, click below to listen.) The leader and lead singer is Dou Wei (窦唯), Faye’s future husband (1996-99). (Second from the left in the photo below.) I actually prefer his version to Faye’s. It’s a little more rock solid. He left the band shortly after this, the band’s first release. At the time, in the late-80s and early-90s, when Faye was forming her musical tastes, Beijing was the hotbed of Chinese rock and the most popular Chinese band was the Black Panther. And the best known and most talented member was Dou Wei. The group leaned toward pop rock, and Dou Wei established himself as China’s pioneer of alternative music. IMHO, the man’s a musical genius. His influence on Faye’s overall development is immeasurable. I’d really like to see them collaborate once again in future Faye releases. Together, they make musical magic.

Faye Wong’s “Don’t Break My Heart” (1999)

Dou Wei’s “Don’t Break My Heart” (1991)

(source: Wikipedia, blog.xj163.cn, http://www.mtime.com, http://www.famouschinese.com, http://www.songtaste.com)

[Added 11.1.08] Click here for a video version of “Don’t Break My Heart.”

[Added 07.26.09] This audio rip may be a bit better.

A Typical Day in Faye Wong’s Life?

What’s a typical day like for Faye Wong (王菲)? According to China Entertainment Network (29 May 2008), she goes to a yoga exercise class every day, for about an hour. When Vicki Zhao (赵薇, Zhao Wei) joins her, they train for a while longer. In the meantime, Tong Tong (竇靖童, Dou Jingtong), accompanied by her uncle, LYP’s brother (Li Yawei, 亚伟), seems bored and uses the shopping mall as a park, riding her skateboard, trying on shoes at a shop, etc. The article also reports that Faye hangs out every afternoon at a cafe (coffee shop) for a couple of hours, smoking cigarettes nonstop, one after the other.

This jaded view of Faye and Tong Tong has to be taken with a grain of salt. This may not be a typical day for Faye and Tong Tong. If it were, I’m sure the paparazzi would be ready and waiting, every day at the same time.

Rare Songs – Cheerful Angel

“Cheerful Angel” (愛笑的天使) was written and composed by Faye Wong (王菲) for the inaugural fundraising event held on 26 Dec 2006. (Click below to listen to the song.) The foundation was initiated by Faye and her husband, in cooperation with the Chinese Red Cross, to help children with clefts. Their daughter, Li Yan (李嫣), was born with a cleft in May of that year. “Cheerful Angel” is the official theme song of the charity. There are many versions of this song on the web, but I haven’t found one that sounds really good. This version from st020.com is the best I’ve found thus far. This is an MP3 made from a video downloaded from the site. I’ll keep an eye out for a better recording.

I don’t think this song was ever released on an official CD. Thus, the web versions are all we have. The production is very simple, at least in the versions I’ve heard, and the sound quality isn’t great. Still, the song is moving, capturing the overwhelming and unconditional love that a mother feels for her newborn. In “Cheerful Angel,” we see Faye at her tenderest, vulnerable yet filled with happiness and determination. This will always be one of my favorite songs.

(To play the song, “Cheerful Angel,” click on the arrow.)

Rare Songs – Do Dak Ta in a Live Duet

With this live recording of Faye Wong’s “Because of Him” (多得他, Do Dak Ta), I’m beginning a series on rare recordings that have never been formally released in official albums or videos. (Click below to listen to the song.) These are the ones that are floating around on the web in various degrees of quality. This is from the 1992 Creative Concert where Faye and Sandy Lam (林憶蓮) teamed up in a live duet. “Do Dak Ta” is a cover of Karyn White’s 1988 hit “Superwoman.” Faye released this song in her third album, You’re the Only One (Cinepoly, Dec 1990). C. Y. Kong has a version on his website, but it’s from the concert soundtrack and quite raw. I got this version off the video at Tudou.com. The problem with Tudou videos is the slow downloading, which translates into long pauses throughout the song. (YouTube’s a lot better in this regard.) Thus, for many (some?) of the songs I’ll be presenting in this series, the process will probably require a download of an FLV file to my PC (to avoid the pauses), a recording in WAV format, a conversion to MP3, and an upload to this blog site.

In any case, I’m guessing that this is Faye’s first live concert after returning from her soul-searching sojourn to New York City in 1991. With the release of Coming Home (Cinepoly, Aug 1992) after her return to Hong Kong, she turned her fledgling career onto the fast track and never looked back. Notice her name on the cover of the album. She’s going with “Jing” and “Faye” plus “王靖雯,” Wang Jing Wen or Wong Ching Man. The emcee in the recording uses the latter rather than 王菲, or Wong Faye.

(To play the song, “Because of Him,” click on the arrow.)

Click here for a related article.

Faye Wong’s Ten Best ‘Minor’ Videos – #7

7. For the seventh best minor video, I’ve selected Faye Wong’s (王菲) English cover of Queen’s 1975 megahit, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” This video was added to YouTube by Lilac1205 on 24 Feb 2008. She/he describes it as coming from the “Faye Wong 98~99 concert.” This is a bit misleading because it gives the impression that it’s part of the Hong Kong segment of the 1998-99 Scenic Tour concert. It’s actually from the Japan leg of the tour, which was staged on March 11-12, 1999, at the Budokan in Tokyo. (Faye held a second concert at the Budokan on Nov 1-2, 2001. The DVD, Faye Wong Japan Concert, was released in Dec 2002.) Faye was the first Chinese singer to perform in this arena, which is usually reserved for massive rock concerts. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is included in the CD (released in Dec 1999) for the HK concert, but it’s omitted from the VCD/DVD (released 1 Feb 2000). Thus, this is the only video for this song, from the tour, that I could find on YouTube. This video shows what Faye can do in a fully staged Broadway musical type number. Her power and range are awesome. Watching this, I can’t help but wonder why we haven’t seen Faye in a full-blown musical film. She sings and dances in some of her films, but I’d like to see a film where her singing dominates from beginning to end. ADDED: I’ve never seen an official VCD or DVD release for the March 1999 Budokan concert. However, I know that at least one, official or unofficial, exists. I’ve seen a copy of it, but the visual quality was poor. I’m not sure if there’s a better quality available commercially. Other videos from the Budokan 1999 concert are scattered around in YouTube, and I might try to gather them when I have time.

See “10 Best Minor Videos” in the right sidebar for links to the other selections. The introduction to this series is in selection #1.