Lyric of the Day: 周杰伦, 徐若瑄 (Zhou Jie Lun, Xu Ruo Xuan)
我想帶妳 / I want to take you
回我的外婆家 / to my grandma’s home
一起 看著日落 / Watch the sunset together
一直到我們都睡著 / Until we fall asleep
-Jay Chou, 簡單愛 (Simple Love, Jian Dan Ai) / first chorus
It was hard to pick a song to close this week of Jay Chou lyrics. Even after I had narrowed it down to the second album, Fantasy, I had trouble picking among all the well-deserved classics and old favorites. But I just had to go with “簡單愛” in the end, despite my misgivings about picking a more “mushy” song and one where it wasn’t written completely by him (the lyrics are by his friend, Vivian Hsu).
Yes, I know, you may protest, “What about the catchiness of ‘愛在西元前,’ the social issues in ‘爸，我回來了,’ the honesty and wordplay in ‘開不了口,’ and of course, the heartbreaking ‘安靜’?” In my defense, “Simple Love” does touch on filial values, and I would argue wider cultural ones as well. It’s also one of those rare unabashedly happy tracks – it’s a lot easier to sing about tragic love than happy love, that’s for sure. Even in this one you get threads of uncertainty.
On a more personal note, I’ll admit that it’s the first Jay Chou song I ever heard (albeit remixed with Savage Garden’s “Truly, Madly, Deeply”), so I’ll be forever indebted to our heavily Asian small town and the students performing at my older brother’s graduation talent show. I didn’t understand near a word of Mandarin back then, and I had never been interested in anything outside of American top 40 radio before that point, but just something in the song interested me. I looked it up online, read a translation and was smitten. Even now, just hearing those opening bars of the drums and cymbals makes me smile.
Full lyrics here.
P.S. For anyone who has enjoyed this Jay Chou week, I would highly recommend checking out, and even purchasing (gasp), his second album. I bought the EP/Plus version of this album, so it had three extra live tracks, just out of curiosity, and I can still remember the first time I listened to it.
I thought it was weird, that the music sounded funny, like everything was halfway out of tune. Had me pausing and cocking my head to the side. Now part of it may be the boy’s singing abilities, but at least just as much must have been due to my then unstretched ears, where any sound not found in party-player pop or on the classical station had yet to enter in. 周杰伦’s music was definitely an entryway to my Taiwanese heritage and exploring music I wasn’t hand-fed.
There may be such thing as sophomore slump, but Fantasy‘s on the opposite side of the spectrum. It’s probably my favorite of his, not just because it’s the first of Jay’s I ever heard, but because I honestly think it may be his best. I’m not sure – it’s tied with 葉惠美 (Ye Hui Mei) for me.
I’m sad that this week of Jay Chou is drawing to a close, but then again, I’ve decided to have an epilogue weekend. Look forward to two more Jay Chou tracks!