The English title of this reality show keeps changing, really confusing me. The first season is known as Our Song, while the second season somehow changes to Singing with Legends, and now the third season is known as Young Forever. Regardless of the confusion, I am a fan of Season 1 of the series, which really captures the original essence of the series – to introduce the songs of yesteryears through duet between an elder singer and a younger singer. Season 1 is won by the crowd favourite Qin Shen Shen, the duo of Hacken Lee and Zhou Shen, which packs a power house.
I started Season 2 but is immediately put off with the ridiculously choreographed scenes and didn’t even get to Episode 2. I followed through some of the duets, especially the ones with Coco Lee and Xiao Gui but never really finishing the whole season. When Season 3 airs, I am skeptical whether to follow through. Starting episode 1 gives mixed feelings, as the introduction is a little weird but the live matching process is unpredictable & amazing. That leads to finishing the series & loving the series again.
Great Beginning to Our Songs (Episode 1 & 2)
The first 2 episodes start with 4 senior singers – Miriam Yeung, Joker Xue Zhi Qian, Chyi Chin, George Lam and 5 younger singers – Hu Xia, Eric Chou, Chui Na Lisa, Zhang Bi Chen, Sunny (eliminated). The singers are paired off as follows:
- Miriam Yeung – Eric Chou
- Joker Xue – Chui Na Lisa
- Chyi Chin – Zhang Bi Chen
- George Lam – Hu Xia
During the live matching process, one particular song Dream Chaser @ Zhui Meng Ren 追梦人 really evokes old memories. I remembered the song as the theme song for a 1990 movie “A Moment of Romance” 天若有情 with Andy Lau and Wu Chien-lien as star-crossed lovers with very tragic ending. The movie & the song especially with the scene of Andy Lau riding the bike with his bride, with blood trickling down his nose – a recipe to squeeze out all the girls’ tears.
The song is also used as the theme song in The Crossing 太平轮 – a 2-part movie aired in 2014-2015 with 3 main couples starring Takeshi Kaneshiro – Masami Nagasawa, Huang Xiao Ming – Song Hye-Kyo, Tong Da Wei – Zhang Zhi Yi. Updated next in my list to watch the 2-part movies.
An piano arrangement for the song is listed below.
During the matching process, this particular song is sung by 2 males – Joker Xue and Eric Chou, of which the performance is slightly tweaked to a little more rock-style. The change is subtle, leaving the song with the heart-breaking feel but with a stunning effect. Totally loving it. I am quite sad that Joker Xue did not pair up with Eric Chou, as it would be interesting to see the 2 singer-composers collaborate together with different ideas.
Life in Numbers
The performances are selected based on “one song, one story”. All the performances of the newly matched singers are very good – fast songs, with catchy tunes. But my favourite is George Lam & Hu Xia’s Life in Numbers @ Shu Zhi Ren Sheng 数字人生, first released in 1983. It is really a difficult song as a variation of Baroque JS Bach’s Minuet in G, often a piano exam piece. The original tune is ¾ tempo but revised to 4/4. It is obvious that Hu Xia struggles quite a bit with the song – as the song is in Cantonese, really fast tempo, with changes in keys at a short breath away. He even commented that he lost weight while practising for the song! But the two singers completed the song marvellously.
The story behind the song is even better – really reflective of many aspects. The song is inspired from a movie Electric Dreams whereby the old-style computer is able to learn and re-play the Minuet in G. On hindsight, apps such as synthesia takes its cue from its predecessor in the movie! The song uses number as the main lyrics which is unusual, mainly focusing the theme that our lives are trickled with numbers eg Identity Card, Bank Accounts No, Mobile No, Car Plate Number, Intelligence Quotient and the list goes on.
Their 2nd duet collaboration is a 1988’s theme song for a TVB series And Yet We Live @ Dang Dai Nan Er 當代男兒. The song Real Chivalrous @ Zhen De Han Zhi 真的汉子 is equally good, if not better.
Hu Xia’s command of Cantonese is still lacking, the pronunciation slightly off. But he tries very hard, and I really like the camaderie between the 74-year George and Hu Xia. George is surprising quiet, but his one-liner are all great punch lines. Hu Xia does seem under pressure, especially in performing together with George in these difficult songs, but I have to say he aces them. Hu Xia usually sings slower paced, gentler songs. For him to be learning to sing in Cantonese and picking up the tempo of the tunes are key challenges for him, but it is really beneficial for him to be expanding his horizons.
After listening to these 2 songs, George’s unique and distinct voice shine through. At 74, it is really impressive that he can still sing so well and can control the breathing techniques. His unique voice trails back to the 80s when he sings many great songs accompanying various movies and series. Seniority and experiences with career spanning over decades really make a difference.
2nd Batch & Matching Performances (Episode 3 & 4)
Episodes 3 and 4 introduces the next 4 senior singers – Lui Fong, Da Zhang Wei, Penny Tai, Bibi Zhou and 5 younger singers – Liu Yu Ning, Wang Su Long, Xiao Yi Chun, Zhai Xiao Wen, Meng Hui Yuan (eliminated).
The pairing are as follows:
- Da Zhang Wei – Wang Su Long
- Bibi Zhou – Xiao Yi Chun
- Lui Fong – Zhai Xiao Wen
- Penny Tai – Liu Yu Ning
The only pair that got matched during the “blind” duets is Bibi Zhou and Yi Chun. The 2nd batch of pairings are a little disappointing, with the songs a little less distinctive.
Waking Up from Dream
I have some great expectations from the pairing of Da Zhang Wei & Wang Su Long. Frankly, the differences in age for the 2 singers are not really that great, but both are singer-composers hence expecting variations in their performances. Da Zhang Wei is quite the funny person, while Wang Su Long is a little more reserved. Both are quite familiar with each other and natural with their interactions. Da Zhang Wei & Wang Su Long’s first collaboration is Waking Up from Dream @ Meng Xing Shi Fen 梦醒时分, of which they had infused the original song with a little Peking operatic performance & story-telling, with a little comedic wittiness. Very different and interesting, really varied the original song. Their second rendition brings a little bit of endearing cuteness. Their tacit understanding in their collaboration is a key strength to their performance. Strong team.
Penny Tai & Liu Yu Ning’s pairing is quite cute – Liu Yu Ning is almost 1.5 heads taller than Penny! Penny does have a very nice smooth voice, totally loving it. I almost did not recognise Lui Fong as he puts on so much weight. However, Xiao Wen does have a boy-band voice and it helps that he is a looker. Surely the girls will go ga-ga over him.
Stealing Memories of Those Years (Episode 5 & 6)
Jam Hsiao replaces Chyi Chin to partner Zhang Bi Cheng, whose schedule is affected and is unable to continue with the series. Their first duet collaboration is Interstellar, of which the arrangement & lyrics are driven by Bi Chen. Her voice is moderate, but the song is quite catchy and the matching voice of Jam Hsiao and Bi Chen provides a strong foundation to the song. Not my favourite pairing, as Jam Hsiao does look a little shy while Bi Chen looks a little domineering. Jam Hsiao is a little young, hence would be interesting to see his other collaboration with Zhang Bi Chen.
Chui Na Lisa and Xue Zhi Qian’s collaboration is actually a strong contender to George Lam – Hu Xia. Their selection of songs is very interesting, and both have great ideas with a strong fundamental voice to boot. If George and Hu Xia are warming your heart, Chu Na Lisa and Xue Zhi Qian’s collaboration brings the variation to the original songs, reintroducing different emotions to these songs.
Miriam Yeung & Eric Chou’s collaboration is very nice too. Eric can play the piano, and composes his own tunes too. His only issue is his pronunciation when singing Cantonese songs.
Hu Xia’s original song Those Years @ Na Xie Nian 那些年 which propels him to stardom is used for the duet with George Lam and is really an eye-opener. George mentions that he really likes this song, prompting both to present the performance, with Hu Xia as the younger version while George singing as the elder person. The fact that George Lam learns a new song to sing, and both singing it so well! Totally loving this song.
George’s mastering of the breathing techniques and his voices, really brings out the essence of the song. Very touching lyrics, beautiful melody, and the voices bring us the song – emotional & expressive. They nailed the song. And what a powerful voice George has!
The backdrop for the song is very meaningful, with a tree with 2 shades – one summery green and another autumn gray, representing the 2 generations. Singing a slightly different flavour of a spring/ summer full of anticipation and autum/ winter full of wisdom. What George says is very true – slow down to express the emotions, enjoying the process as you sing. I am equally guilty of rushing through life, running through a piece without really focusing on the melody.
All of the singers stood up to give respect upon the conclusion of the performance. Miriam & Xue Zhi Qian are moved to tears. Xue Zhi Qian and Chui Na Lisa announce their defeat, giving the crown of the day to George & Hu Xia. Definitely well-deserved.
Stealing A Glance with Mischief
Da Zhang Wei & Wang Su Long’s version of Stealing a Glance At Your Eyes @ Wo Qiao Qiao Meng Shang Ni De Yan Jing 我悄悄蒙上你的眼睛 is a little weird, although sung with a bit of mischief. The original is a catchy duet reflecting the shy first love, sung by Chen Ai Mei and Gao Ming Jun.
Dreaming of Wu Xia
The surprise here is the collaboration between Penny & Yu Ning – I Am Here to Curse You @ Wo Shi Lai Zhou Ni De 我是来揍你的. The song is chivalrous in nature, and the fast tempo is very nicely performed. The original song is sung by Jason Zhang Jie as the theme song for Master Z : Ip Man. The voices are mixed very well. One of their best performances to-date.
Well, songs are great. Variations interesting. Thusfar pairings of singers very interesting to watch. Looking forward to the next half of the series.