Jay Chou: The Rhythm of the Rain / 聽見下雨的聲音 – English Translation

This song is filled with metaphors and constructions which you wouldn’t find in English. Also, the events described in the song are not chronological, and the person to whom they relate changes from line to line without necessarily being explicit about it… which is why I would give this song a difficulty rating of ‘medium-hard’. At least each line rhymes! Hopefully the notes are helpful.

竹籬上停留著蜻蜓
There’s a dragonfly on the fence

玻璃瓶裡插滿小小森林
The bottle [on the ground] has given birth to a small forest
[Lit. Glass bottle inside insert-full small-small forest]
[方文山 often describes the scenery at the start of each song. From the rest of the song, you can infer that the singer is visiting the house where he and his lover used to stay. Since it’s now springtime, plant-life has erupted everywhere, including inside a bottle that was somewhere on the premises.]

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Crowd Lu: Cafeteria Feliz / 開心餐廳 – English Translation

開心餐廳 contains a lot of very basic vocab and grammar, so is great for lower intermediate students. This is one of my favorite Crowd Lu songs, because it’s just so darned funny – it’s all about a restaurant that he’d like to open. He goes through the song describing what he’d buy and how he’d run it; the cutest thing is that he puts the emphasis on making friends. If this isn’t an antidote to all those sorrowful love songs that permeate the world of Chinese music, I don’t know what is.

昨天晚上夢見 我開了一間店
I had a dream last night in which I’d set up shop

販賣一些咖啡還有一些些甜點
Selling coffee and deserts
[一些: ‘a little/some’, redundant in English]

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Jam Hsiao: Where Are You?/ 蕭敬騰: 你會在哪呢?- English translation

This song – a classic break-up song – is not too tricky to learn or sing. The lyrics illustrate nicely the way in which tenses in English often don’t have a 1:1 relationship with those in Chinese. For example, the title “你會在哪呢?”, for example, is not really “where will be you be”, but “where are you?”. The first couple of lines are really hypothetical statements, but are just written as simple statements (apparently of fact) in Chinese.

As always, I’ve included both idiomatic and literal translations, along with a few extra notes.

趕走的是瘋癲 我 一個人待
Running away would be crazy; I’d be all on my own

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Crowd Lu: Seven Days / 七天 – English translation

This is another easy song, which is about a guy who just needs a little more time. It’s not explicitly specified what he needs the time for; although it’s probably related to a girl, it could also be that he’s asking for an extension for an assignment. Who knows?

我真的沒有辦法 我真的快要睡著
I’m all out of ideas; I’m about to fall asleep
[Lit. I really no method; I really quickly sleep]

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Jay Chou: What Kind of Man / 算什麼男人 – English Translation

 

算什麼男人 was a big hit a couple of years back! Lyrically, it’s quite difficult: there are a few 成語 and metaphors that just don’t lend themselves directly to English, so the idiomatic and literal translations differ quite a lot. As far as lyrics penned by Jay Chou himself go, though, it’s pretty good, and the melody isn’t challenging, so most people will be able to sing with you if you put it on at karaoke.

親吻你的手 還靠著你的頭
Kissing your hand and holding you close
[Lit. Kiss your hand, also lean on your head]

讓你躺胸口 那個人已不是我
Letting you lie on his chest… that man isn’t me any more
[那個人已不是我: that person already not me]

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