Pu Shu (朴树) released “Those Flowers” (那些花儿, Na Xie Hua Er) in September 2003 and since then it’s been one of the most popular modern Chinese ballads ever. It seems everyone, pros and amateurs alike, has performed and recorded it. YouTube is filled with homespun covers. It doesn’t come close to the number of imitators for Faye’s “Eyes on Me,” but the numbers are way up there. Some refer to it as China’s version of the early-1960s American folk classic “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” Musically, I think “Those Flowers” is far, far better. It’s a beautiful ballad — one of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard. And a major reason is its simplicity. This is one song I don’t get tired of listening to.
The audio for Pu Shu’s version is below (D). It was ripped from a YouTube video of his live version, uploaded by Zuoricxzhyf on 14 Oct 2007. There’s also an MV, added to YouTube by Hisashilx on 24 Sep 2007.
A number of Faye’s “Those Flowers” videos are available on YouTube. All are amateurish fan recordings of poor quality, and of the ones that I found and viewed, all but one are from Faye’s 2004 Beijing concert. An example is Adelineshim’s YouTube addition of 11 Mar 2007. The exception is Fayechan’s 5 Dec 2007 YouTube upload, which is from the 21 May 2004 Shanghai concert.
There’s also an audio only version (see A below, “studio” version). I found it on Wubing’s Always There for You blog. A similar audio version is available on Imeem, uploaded by Kai M in Apr 2008. These are similar to the audio-only video, which I found at tv.mofile.com.
Of the three major Faye versions, A is far superior in quality.
Now, for the mystery. I’m not 100% sure that A, the studio version, is sung by Faye. The reason is the difference in quality. If she never entered a studio to record it, then it must’ve been professionally taped during one of her live performances in China. (It has to be China because “Those Flowers” wasn’t included in concerts outside of China.) Yet, as you’ll see when you listen to A, the background is absolutely silent. You don’t hear the audience at all. If this feat can actually be accomplished via sound engineering, then I’d have no doubts. But can it? You’d think some audience noise would seep in. The other alternative is that Faye actually did record this song in a studio but it was never released. However, I haven’t seen or heard any proof of this.
Some fayenatics believe that A is actually a cover by Fan Fan (Fan Wei Chi, 范玮琪). However, if you listen to Fan Fan’s MV (uploaded by Addie5101 on 9 Aug 2006) and live video (uploaded by Hahahehe168 on 23 March 2008), you can hear a huge difference. A is definitely not Fan Fan.
I’ve listened to other female covers of “Those Flowers” on YouTube, and the only videos that come close to A are Faye’s. If you listen to the Beijing version, you may not be totally convinced. But if you listen to the Shanghai version (B), you may be. I’m about 99% convinced that A is sung by Faye, and if it was recorded live, then it was the Shanghai concert.
Listen and see what you think. If you have any information that can help us decide, one way or the other, if A is Faye’s, then please add a comment.
A. This audio-only (“studio”) version is technically the best of the bunch, but is it Faye?
B. Faye’s live Shanghai concert version — sounds very similar to A.
C. Audio of Fan Fan’s MV version — doesn’t sound like A at all.
D. P u Shu’s live version.
E. Another version of Faye’s live performance submitted by Wubing 8.4.08.
[Added 10.8.08 – Those Flowers – No Longer a Mystery!]
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: | Addie5101, adelineshim, Always There for You, ballads, Beijing, chinese, 王菲, Eyes on Me, 那些花儿, 范玮琪, Fan Fan, Fan Wei Chi, Faye, Faye Wong, Hahahehe168, Hisashilx, Imeem, Kai M, modern, Mystery, Na Xie Hua Er, Pu Shu, Shanghai, Those Flowers, Those Flowers - A Mystery?, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Wubing, YouTube, Zuoricxzhyf, 朴树