Taiwanonymous

January 24, 2006

Chinese cover songs test market saturation

Music executives in Taiwan and Singapore are testing the limits of market saturation with the simultaneous release of two new covers of a European song that was released in Taiwan just months ago. The original song is called "Dragostea din tei" by Romanian group O-Zone, which translates, according to music video subtitles, as "Love of the linden tree." It is a song whose catchiness and cross-cultural appeal is only matched in recent years by "Macarena." For the song's release in Taiwan, the music video was subtitled with Taiwanese and Mandarin lyrics that are near-homophones for the Romanian lyrics. This created such nonsense lyrics as "suck railroad/fish skin ramen." The video showed cartoon characters performing to match the nonsense lyrics.

The two Chinese versions of the song that were just released in Taiwan are by Jocie Kok (郭美美) of Singapore, and the male duo 2moro from Taiwan. The lyrics for the Jocie Guo version of the song, "Bu Pa Bu Pa" (不怕不怕) are about not being afraid of cockroaches. The lyrics for the 2moro version, '"Shabu Shabu" tell of the joys of eating hot pot (shabu shabu).

Two Chinese versions of the song were originally scheduled to be released one month apart. Elva Hsiao was slated to sing the first Mandarin version of the song. However, after Elva recorded the song, it was decided that the song did not suit her, so the song was transferred to Jocie Guo (Meimei), just in time for the release by Taiwanese identical twins, 2moro. Osborn Kuo (郭彥均) of 2moro tried to put the best face on this unfortunate timing by saying "Different versions, different feelings."

For more on "Dragostea din tei," check out the Wikipedia entry.

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