Sing & Play
[EMI, October 1998] This album was truly long-awaited because it was delay again, came out in October. I really love the pictures in the booklet. The title of the album is roughly translated as "Sing and Play" (other translations include "Song Tour", "Songs of Wanderlust" and "Wandering Tour" etc.). Overall the album continues to show that Faye's voice is still enough to light up any song, but there's an unmistakable feeling of too much compromise on Faye's part. This is not the kind of album nor song that Faye has admitted of wanting to do. I think if one is looking for some kind of style to sum this album up, it can be said that the album might be a experiment of trying to mix the two different styles from "Restless" and "Wong Fei" together. But any hint of either one existing in its own is not found; the songs go all over the place... with the sentimental ballad you thought you would never hear again from Faye in "Red Bean", the traditional opera-ish sounding "Face", and a techo-ish song for her baby girl, "Tong". I think there is room for improvement. It's time for those EMI exec to really let Faye have 100% freedom and no pressure from above, so she can work on an album in which she can say, "Yes, I am satisfy. It's an album that I want."

There are those who would argue that Faye Wang (Wang Fei) should not be the most sought-after name in Mandarin and Cantonese Pop (see our review of Zhang Huimei's Holding Hands). Correct or not, those assessments do not correspond to current reality--that Faye is referred to as the "Princess of Pop" in the Chinese press so routinely one would think she had actually been given the title by some musical monarch. Comparisons to Madonna are so easy the way she is relentlessly pursued by Hong Kong paparazzi, how she was Hong Kong's richest entertainer last year (HK$90 million), how giving birth to a daughter seems to have both settled her and spurred her on.

Ultimately, Wang is a musician. While being good-looking and skilled at remaining aloof have certainly helped her rise to pop deity status, it is the uncanny voice, the one that has now appeared on Cocteau Twins albums and millions of albums sold throughout Asia, that sets her apart. Other female singers are just that, singers, regardless of whether or not they write their own material; to Wang, her voice is an instrument, much the way that Billy Holiday saw herself as just another instrument in the ensemble, not a vocalist or singer.

Wang's latest album, Singing Tour (Chang You) opens with "Life's Feelings" (Gan Qing Sheng Huo), one of the record's more rocking tunes, a good introduction, and a statement that this is not the same woman who on her last recording proclaimed that she was happy because we (actually, her daughter) were happy. Giving credit where it is due, former Wang husband/lover/father of her child Dou Wei and red-hot producer Zhang Yadong did some of the arrangement for the album, and Wang's work benefits from it greatly. Wang received songwriting assistance from Xu Wei, who penned Tian Zhen's 1996 hit "Rigid" (Zhi Zhuo) and happens to be one of the best musicians in the country. Proper dues aside, Wang wrote the music for this rocker. Faye says she likes the songs she wrote best on the album, and we agree that those four are probably the best.

Next is Faces (Lian), a more familiar Faye melody that contains the lyrics "It's best that nobody really knows what I'm saying." Wang only wrote the music to this tune and not the lyrics, but it's vintage Faye all the way. Kurt Cobain reincarnated as a Mandarin pop diva.

(Se Jie), or "Adult Warning," (we're struggling on the translation for this one) is one of Faye's best vocal performances on the album, going higher in her range, and backed by a funky bassline. The song also translates well live.

Track four, despite its heavy airplay, "Giving Up Halfway" (Ban Tu Er Fei) is just a boring song. It doesn't let Faye show off her voice, it's just there. The video is the same: Faye the aloof, looking bored, stamping oranges and tossing them at the screen. Boring. Next.

"Flying" (Fei) is another ethereal, over-produced track that does nothing for Faye. Next time, play it on a synthesizer and don't waste her time. This song does, however, have a nice live version, for those who will be seeing her on the Singing Tour.

"You" (Ni): light, acoustic, kind of cutesy. Next. "Little Smarty" (Xiao CongMing) is obviously written for Faye's daughter Tong Tong, as is the final track of the album, "Child" (Tong). Xiao CongMing doesn't stretch Faye's voice, but it has good production value. Not a rocker, but slightly danceable and fairly techno. As for "Child," it, like the last three songs on the album ("Can't Wake Up" and "Red Bean") is slow, are mostly accompanied by piano and guitar, and could be sung by Valen Hsu, Xin Xiaoqi, or just about any other singer. That's sad. Faye Wang has THE voice of Mandarin and Cantonese pop. It shouldn't be wasted on average songs.

Frankly, I like "You're Happy, So I'm Happy," her previous album, more. I'm glad she didn't perform many songs from this album live, especially the so-called hits, or at least the ones getting the most airplay. I'm going to program my CD player to play tracks one, three, and five over and over again. Then I'll go back and listen to Faye's older stuff and wait until next year's album.

Track & Title
1 Emotional Life (感情生活)
2 Face (臉)
3 Sex Commandments
4 To Stop Half Way
5 Fly
6 You[Thou]
7 A Little Cunning
8 Can't Wake Up
9 Red Bean
11Excuse Myself (原諒自己) (Canto of track#4)
12Repayment (償還) (Canto of track#9)
13Love Commandments (Canto of track#3)

Translated Lyrics

Emotional Life (感情生活)

You really love me
You only love me
After hearing this, I don't dare feel lonely

What are you thinking?
What do you want?
If it's??? it will be thus exposed

I don't believe my ears
Yet I have faith in beautiful legends
Descend into the depths; unheeding of everything else

Fondling again with infinite care
This flurry of foam
This emotional life

I don't pretend to be in deep thought
You gained without doing any work
I'd rather love superficially like this

I fear that long nights bring many dreams
I want to cause trepidation in body and soul
It finally weakens my nerves


Face (臉)

Breathing is your face
The spread of your curves
The everchanging shoreline
Sprouting the most beautiful daffodils
Crawling over your face

I didn't expect that it would be so treacherous
After making it to the left side of your face
I couldn't go on
Yet I want to continue on my dangerous journey

It would be best if no one understands what I say
You're the only one who understands my thoughts
The serious expression on your face
I didn't say anything

The moist beads of sweat form more than a trickle
Did your eyebrows encounter rainy weather?
Come and moisten my everchanging life

Your every look
Is a year to me
We haven't seen each other in a long time

Smoking, abstract eyes
The unfaltering rain
Made me lose sleep

Every bit of sediment accumulates into
My wrinkles
In your smiling face


Sex Commandments

Don't think that you only need his consolation
Don't think that eyebrows are only decorations
His face isn't filled with glamour
Who would fantasize about it?

Don't think that youth will
Don't think that his hair will not sprout roses
He will continue to be perfect
As long as your heart is invested by the devil

If you love him
Smiles will always follow you
You will be enveloped by his bosom
His face has been consumed by flames
Would it matter to you?

If you no longer care about who he resembles
Then there's nothing precious about
The so-called "lovers' tears"

The eyebrow at the corner of the eye is not a misunderstanding [?]


To Stop Half Way

You might as well cry your heart out
Might as well submit to him
Don't vainly suppress the pain in your heart

Dazed love doesn't count for anything
Pursuing happiness is equivalent to being decadent
You said that one shouldn't live for love
Don't make excuses
After the hustle and bustle
I wonder what all this was for

Give up halfway
It doesn't matter to you
How could life be boundless if you don't have freedom?
That's really your own fault, your self-pity

Give up halfway
You don't regret it
You can't turn back
There's no way out
Don't even think about happiness
Why trouble yourself?



Could the little bird on the roof be you?
The white cloud flying in the sky
Must be you

Because I know
You love, you relish freedom
Because I know
You cannot bear to leave me

I look at the setting sun
And think of you
Did you see my hard work?
[Last time: Did you receive my longing heart?]

Don't worry
I will take care of myself
Don't worry
You will be on mind forever
Don't worry about me
Fly at ease



In the beginning
Everything was meaningless
You granted me a set of truths
I will follow you from now on

This is the sky
That is the ground
This is you
That is me

People and events
Love and reason
They all comply with your demands

You name it
So it exists
You create it
So I worship it

You say it exists
So it exists
You tell me to love
So I love

Teach me your truths
Except for those suspicions

The moment one strays from your tracks
The world suffocates

You are the sky
I am the ground

I am not myself

People and events
Love and reason
All rely on you to sustain them

You name it
So it exists
You create it
So I worship it

You say it exists
So it exists
You tell me to love
So I love

You name it
So it exists
You create it
So I worship it

You say it exists
So it exists
You say it is love
And so it is love


A Little Cunning

Think of tears as shooting stars
It is a good view even if one remains silent
(The face that left for good will forever be young)

For one to think of crowded conditions as tenderness
Requires a little cunning
(Turn a blind eye to the cracks in sky and earth)

Who's heart has no problems?
Your speech is like ???
I easily forget myself
And laugh non-stop

Think of pallidity as a crystal
Deliberately blur the difference between love and hate
(I treat you well, but I don't want to make you uneasy by my attentiveness)

Think of reality as a dream
Loving you requires a little cunning
(Turn a blind eye to imperfection)


Wake Up

Can't clearly distinguish daylight
Can't see the dark night
My moods are aloof, wandering about day and night

Can't clearly distinguish right from wrong
Can't see perfection
Completely drunk, extremely tired
(2nd time: Trapped in the boundary of day and night)

It's not that I want to slip into deep slumber
Oh... can't wake up
You wouldn't be there even if I were awake

It's not that I can't wake up
Oh... Even if I were awake, I'd only be staring into space

My friends all say that I'm more beautiful at night
It's only because they cannot see my face when I'm fully conscious
My friends all say that I'm more aloof at night
It's only because they cannot see my sorrow

The sun has risen
Oh... can't wake up
There wouldn't be a future even if I were awake
Moonlight is sprinkling down
Oh... can't wake up
Even if I were awake, I'd only be staring into space


Red Bean

I have never really felt
The ??? of a snowfall
We shiver together
So that we can truly understand
The meaning of tenderness

We have never walked hand in hand
On a deserted beach
Perhaps from now on
We can learn to cherish

There are times, there are times
When I believe that everything has a limit
There are times when we are together and times when we are apart
There isn't anything which can last forever

But there are times, when I'd rather
Choose to keep this love alive and not let go
And wait until we've had this view
Perhaps you will keep me company
And watch the trickle of water flow forever

I have never taken red beans
And cooked them into an entangled wound [?]
We will share it together
So that we will better understand
The pain of longing

I have never really felt
The tenderness of a kiss
Perhaps you only pursue the loneliness of freedom
When you are close to me



The day you came there were snowflakes flying
So my tears were flowing
Surrounded with glamour and beauty
You left my warm fortress
You are my dependence
You are God's arrangement
You're here to fill the blank
You just came as you did
You shouldn't become a bad girl
Nor do you have to be too good
My love

I'm afraid you don't know who I am
You made me understand bit by bit
You with your sparkling glory
lightened up the darkness in my heart
Gave me a world of roses
or freezing tears
There is actually no way back
Now that you're my baby
I shouldn't love you too much
How can I not love you too much
My love


Repayment (償還)

Music: Jim Lau			Lyrics: Lin Xi

I have never taken your photo
And admired it from left to right
I have never rested on your locks
To relieve the tingling in your skin
How could I treat them as ordinary things?

I have never listened to the sound
Of you fondling flower petals with your thumb
I have never really let go
And so I believed
That our embrace would last forever

You can only get your way after repaying
If I still haven't paid off this heartfelt wish
The stars won't change
The lies won't be discovered
Because of this, I cherish the opportunity and continue with this romance

You will only be willing after repaying
I close my eyes and admit that the story has ended
Nothing matters
Don't be reproachful
No matter how far you go

I have never watched your eyes
Shift from sleep to consciousness
I have never gone swimming with you
How could I know
That I could forget myself in my happiness?

I have never had an ice-drink with you
Nor have we admired a view in freezing weather
I have never scaled a snow-capped mountain
And so I believed
That the sky will continue to be sunny