Yan Kiat – Faye’s Rare 1994 Videos: ‘Cold War’ and ‘I’m Willing’

Yan Kiat uploaded these two Faye Wong (王菲) videos to YouTube on 21 August 2009. In his notes, he thanks kcskywelcome1, who uploaded the originals. “I’m Willing” (Mystery, Apr. 1994) was originally in two segments, but Yan Kiat combined the two in this version. He says that this video “Is very precious, and I have never seen it before.” He says that the original “Cold War” (Hundred Thousand Whys, Sep. 1993) had disappeared from YouTube so this is a re-upload.

Update: Dan, on September 20th, 2009 said:

She also sing ‘liu fei fei’ at this event with tony leung. [Click here for this video.]

And faye also sang ‘memories’ with sandy lam and sally yeh at the beginning of this event.

‘I’m Willing’ – From Faye’s 1994 MV

The video quality of this MV of Faye Wong (王菲) singing “I’m Willing” (我願意 Wo Yuan Yi), added to YouTube by nee0309 on 22 July 2009, is excellent. The song is from Faye’s Mystery album, released April 1994. This is one of my all-time favorite songs and MVs.

Click here for a related article.

Jeffrey827’s Comments on ‘Those Flowers – A Mystery?’

[Introduction: Jeffrey827’s comments below are based on the 7 June 2008 post “Those Flowers – A Mystery?” The issue is whether or not Faye Wong (王菲) is the singer in version A (see below), which is a studio-recorded release of “Those Flowers.” Confounding the problem is the fact that we don’t know the identity of the performer in version A — that is, assuming  it isn’t Faye. The 28 comments attached to that post by jeffrey827 and others are worth reading. Jeffrey827, however, takes the discussion to a whole new level with his detailed analysis of the different versions. -feifan]

jeffrey827, on October 2nd, 2008 at 8:56 pm said:
Feifan, ever since you published version A, I’ve been listening to it 50 times and I have to admit the more I listen the more I am convinced it isn’t her. I also listened to various artists’ performances and true this one comes close. I noticed 2 technical aspects: (1) key – same key used – most artists will use key that suits their natural vocal cord when doing the same cover (2) lyrics – only Faye and version A use lyrics “xing yun de shi wo, ceng pei ta men kai fang” (sorry I am not familiar with Chinese character input) which are not used by Pu Shu in his original. However, Faye in 2 of her live versions used “du..” rather than “la..” towards the end. I absolutely agree if she will do a studio version in her next album it will be an instant hit arousing critics to compare with other versions.

jeffrey827, on October 3rd, 2008 at 5:55 am said:
Now that I am hooked I listened to them a few more times. There are 3 lyrical differences between version A and the live version (by the way I think Wu Bing’s is the same as yours except yours didn’t start at the beginning):

  1. Before “you xie gu shi..” at 1:40-1:45 Faye uses Bjork like “i la..”
  2. The 3rd (and the last) time “ta men yi jing bei feng..” is supposed to be recited Faye sang it as “ni men hao xiang bei feng..”. This variation is the most intriguing part for me as I don’t know if she was spontaneous with words, or she forgot or she wrote it that way before performance. This is also the reason why I believe yours is the same as Wu Bing’s as both have such variation.
  3. The 3rd (and the last) time of “la la la..” Faye did it with a combination of “la, tu, a..” like a minority dialect which is similar to how Pu Shu sang it and for that I guess Faye admires him and purposely retained a bit of his style otherwise the 2 are of very different style.

In fact, no 2 performers use the same lyrics (so far). Also the musical notes used for the “la la la” part varies from one singer to another (again version A is very similar to Faye’s). This phenomenon usually happens to folk song and that’s why the first time I heard I couldn’t believe a young sing-a-song-writer (Pu Shu) composed it just in 2003. Perhaps Pu Shu got an “enlightenment”, an inspiration so intense that it spreads.

[List of different versions from the earlier post:]

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.

Rare Early Videos – No Regrets 1994

In this rare early MV, Faye Wong (王菲) sings “No Regrets (Marching Band Mix)” from one of my favorite albums, Mystery, which was released in April 1994. The video is from a YouTube upload by TVMoon on 22 April 2008. The quality of this video is outstanding! We see Faye as a 24-year-old, at the time when Chungking Express was filmed and released. Stunning close-ups of her beautiful face and mesmerizing eyes make this one of the most unforgettable videos.


I’m Willing – A Different Version

Wow! This is a major Faye Wong (王菲) discovery for me. A version of “I’m Willing (unplugged)” (我愿意) that I’ve never heard. It was “buried” in a YouTube upload by Sallylokmb (4 June 2008) called “I’m Willing Longer Version” (我願意加長版). It’s longer (04:45) because it’s actually two different versions, separated by a brief drumroll: the original, from Mystery (rel Apr 1994), in the first half (02:25), and the “new” in the second (02:22). In the video and the audio of the long version (below), the new begins at about 02:26.

There are quite a few pops in the audio, especially the first half. Fortunately, there are only a few in the second, which contains the new version. In the audio (below) of the second half, I edited out the two prominent pops. ADDED: The Tudou audio versions below are a lot better!

Different version only: “I’m Willing (unplugged)” 02:22, edited 6.15.08 – pops removed

Full version: “I’m Willing – Long Version (unplugged)” 04:48, raw 6.15.08; the different version begins at 02:26

(added to YouTube by sallylokmb on 4 June 2008)

Added 6.15.08:

Tudou different version only: “I’m Willing (unplugged)”

Tudou full version: “I’m Willing – Long Version (unplugged)”

Click here for a related article.

Modern Love Story IV

“Modern Love Story IV: Three Equals One Love” (愛情戀曲IV: 愛情3加1) is an episode in a 1994 TV romantic comedy series featuring various popular actors. This is the segment in which Faye Wong (王菲) appears. The plot is flimsy, the script is equally thin, and the production is obviously rushed. The producers were apparently trying to capitalize on Faye’s appeal. The look and feel of the entire film is from Faye’s April 1994 album, Mystery, especially the hit “I’m Willing” (我願意), which is included in the video (part 3 below). In fact, compare the scenes toward the end with the MV of Faye singing this song at the ocean’s edge. You can’t miss the similarities.

These stills were captured from YouTube videos [7.12.08: they are no longer available on YouTube] and they are the best parts of the entire show. The camera lingers on Faye, zooming in on her face and eyes. It’s obvious that filmmakers are beginning to realize how extraordinarily photogenic she is, and the close-ups provide the only really aesthetic moments in the film.

Click below to see the four videos [7.12.08: they are no longer available on YouTube] that make up the episode. The quality isn’t great, but it’s watchable. I’m not sure, but I believe this performance predates Chungking Express, which was shot later in the year. Faye’s appearance remains pretty much the same, but the quality of the production, script, directing, etc. makes a world of difference. I’m guessing that director Wong Kar-Wai (王家卫) must’ve seen something in this video that made him realize Faye would be perfect for the part opposite Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (梁朝偉).

[7.12.08: These videos are no longer available on YouTube]

Modern Love Story IV: Three Equals One Love, part 1.

Modern Love Story IV: Three Equals One Love, part 2.

Modern Love Story IV: Three Equals One Love, part 3.

Modern Love Story IV: Three Equals One Love, part 4.

Those Flowers – A Mystery?

Pu Shu (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.

Added 8.4.08:

E. Another version of Faye’s live performance submitted by Wubing 8.4.08.

[Added 10.8.08Those Flowers – No Longer a Mystery!]

Rare Early Videos – Like Wind

With this post, I’m beginning a series on videos from early in Faye Wong’s (王菲) career that are new to me — “new” in the sense that I haven’t seen them until now or recently. This one’s of Faye singing “Like Wind” (如風), live in broad daylight, in a huge outdoor arena. This song is from her Sep 1993 album, Hundred Thousand Whys, which included other major hits such as “Cold War,” “Summer of Love,” “Flow Not Fly,” “Do We Really Care,” and “Tempt Me,” which is actually the first song that Faye released, in an official album, that she wrote and composed. It was for the TVB series that she starred in, Eternity. (She had written the lyrics to “No Regrets,” the title track from the album she released eight months earlier.) This album was sandwiched between Coming Home (Aug 1992) and No Regrets (Feb 1993), on the one hand, and Mystery (Apr 1994) and the film Chungking Express (1994), on the other. Judging from the way the audience is getting up to applaud her entry on stage, it’s clear that, at this point in her career, Faye is definitely on the rise. This is Faye as the girl next door, dressed casually, relaxed, unassuming. The quality of this video is excellent, although, as the uploader warns, the sound is slightly out of sync. I should say that this distortion is slight and hardly noticeable.

(Added to YouTube by DiDar08 on 26 Apr 2008)