If you come to China and stay here, I think there is a big chance that you will go to the KTV. And it is quite likely that you will sing Backstreet Boys or Britney Spears. What a pity! You miss a good opportunity to learn and practice your oral Chinese I think. Because learning Chinese with music is one of the best possible ways to learn the language and culture. And the question is: what songs should you learn Chinese from?
1) The One and Only by Wang Li Hong (2001) (唯一Wéiyī by 王力宏)
“The One and Only” is a slow jam that has long been a favourite of Wang Li Hong’s fans. In places, the melody is backed by a tricky chord progression for singers, but the vocabulary is mostly commonly used words like the following: “It is not easy to get back. I’m sure you are my only one.”
2) I’m Willing by Wang Fei (1994) (我愿意Wǒ yuànyì by 王菲)
“I’m Willing” is so popular that it’s been covered by other singers, notably Sammi Cheng and Jay Chou. It’s also a karaoke favourite. For anyone who’s ever been in love, the lyrics have a strong emotional pull.
3) “Sweet” by Teresa Teng (甜蜜蜜Tiánmìmì by 邓丽君）
One of the most famous Taiwanese Chinese pop singers of recent times, Teresa Teng tragically died in 1995 from a severe respiratory attack. But she left behind a wonderful body of folk songs and ballads.
4) “Friends” by Zhou Huajian (朋友Péngyou by 周华健)
“Friends” is a beautiful ballad with a soaring chorus that’s bolstered by powerful backing vocals that make you want to wave a lighter and your arms in the air.
5) “Simple Love” by Jay Chou (简单爱Jiǎndān ài by 周杰伦)
“Simple Love” is about declaring a simple and profound love for the object of his affections.
6) “Hey Girl Look This Way” by Richie Ren (对面的女孩看过来Duìmiàn de nǚhái kàn guòlai by 任贤齐)
This is THE song that most people learn first while learning Chinese. The overall happy feeling and easy vocabulary probably make it a favorite for Chinese teachers.
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