Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

13 more songs to learn Chinese and expand your horizons

This is the third part in my miniseries about listening to music in Chinese. So far, the following articles have been published. It is likely that there will be more articles in the future when I have discovered more great music I want to share.

  1. Why learning Chinese through music is underrated
  2. 12 songs to learn Chinese and expand your horizons
  3. 13 more songs to learn Chinese and expand your horizons (this article)
  4. 14 extra songs to learn Chinese and expand your horizons

The following is the same introduction as that found in the previous article, included here for clarity.

Click here to skip directly to the music.

Not everybody will like everything, but you will like something

The purpose of this article is to get you started on using Chinese music to learn Chinese Therefore, I’ve picked a wide variety of music and included links to YouTube versions of these songs. There might be better versions out there with more suitable subtitles and so on, but the goal here is to introduce you to good music, not teach you the lyrics.

Image credit: sxc.hu/profile/sraburton

I have used four criteria when selecting the songs:

  1. I think they are good in some way (which is not related to lyrics)
  2. They are unique in some way (voice, instruments, style)
  3. They represent a genre which isn’t mainstream
  4. They have interesting lyrics

Note that I don’t claim that all songs and artists are famous (although most are) in China. Neither do I claim that they are all good for language learning purposes (I might not even like listening to them, but you might!). The goal is to find music you like, which is, in my opinion, more important than finding the perfect song for language learning. If you like all kinds of music, then pick a song I’ve written “clear Mandarin” or similar next to.

If you want to recommend other artists or songs to me or other readers, please leave a comment!

13 more songs to learn Chinese and expand your horizons

龙神道 – 心在指引方向

Reggae! Apart from this, also check out Matzka. Perhaps I’m not a great fan of reggae ordinarily, but I still find it very pleasant to listen to.

前進樂團 – 對不起我的中文不好

No list with music for learning Chinese would be complete without these guys. A song about not speaking Chinese very well and being misunderstood. Easy lyrics for everybody.

P.K.14 – 多麼美妙的夜晚

This is a recommendation from commenter Scott in my first music recommendation post and is some kind of indie rock. Thanks guys, this band is awesome!

果味VC – 超音速列車

Saying that this is more of the same stuff is a bit unfair, but there are indeed similarities, so if you like the above PK14, you might want to try this out as well. Thanks to Laurenth who mentioned this band in the comments to this article.

張宇 – 月亮惹的禍

More rock similar to 崔健 and 黑豹. Fairly mainstream, but still good. As I’ve said before, there’s much more out there if you like this. Clear pronunciation and easy to sing along with.

春秋 – 猎人

This is one of two worthwhile metal bands I’ve found (the other is 唐朝). I’m not a connoisseur of metal and these two bands sound quite similar to me. Both are good!

黄丽玲 – 失恋无罪

A mixture of standard Chinese ballad and rock song, which turns out okay. If you’re not into ballads, do at least listen to tho chorus before you dismiss the song entirely.

任贤齐 – 对面的女孩看过来

This song seems to be quite popular among Chinese learners, perhaps because it’s reasonably pleasant to listen to, is quite melodious and invites the listener to sing along. Not a personal favourite, but still deserves a place here.

蘇打綠 – 小宇宙

Pop performed by an artist who seem to be a model example of what at least Taiwanese girls like. What makes it stand out from the rest is the singer’s voice. The chorus is quite catchy, even though the verses are a bit boring.

熊寶貝樂團 – 年年

Peaceful and pleasant singer/songwriter pop. The text should be easy to learn, even though it might be slightly hard to pick up simply because of the softness of the singing in general.

Tizzy Bac – 俄羅斯輪盤

Happy and energetic pop with touches of more traditional instruments. This song made the list for its upbeat tone and the good feeling it generates.

張懸 –  寶貝

This song is cute and extremely popular. I include it because it’s a beginner friendly and simple (actually, I have to admit I like it, too, but I’m not sure why).

S.H.E – 中國話 (官方版MV)

Lastly, I’d like to include this song after Sara’s comment here. This isn’t really my cup of tea, but I have to agree with here that it should be included because 1) it deals specifically with learning Chinese and 2) it’s popular and if you’ll score thousands of points if you pull off the tongue twister in a KTV. Enjoy!

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  1. Michael Knight says:

    Thanks for the great article! I think the first three links need to be changed to point to the public versions (they currently seem to be the ‘edit’ versions).

    1. Olle Linge says:

      Thanks for pointing this out, don’t know why it happened, but it’s fixed now!

  2. Sara K. says:

    You know, the first time I heard the 對不起 song, I thought he wanted to sleep too, in spite of the context.

    1. Olle Linge says:

      That means you’ve grown used to tones, congratulations. 😀

  3. Ya know, there is a reason why 唐朝 and 春秋 sound so similar. Kaiser Kuo was a part of 唐朝 until shortly after the Belgrade embasy bombings (there were some nationalist tensions within the band that cuased him to leave), and he is half of the duo which makes up 春秋 as well. He is sort of a pioneer in Chinese metal.

    1. Olle Linge says:

      Thanks for enlightening me (us)! As I said , I don’t listen much to this kind of music normally and I know even less about what’s going on in the community.

  4. Erik says:

    This seems to be a bit different from the stuff posted hear, I but really enjoy the group “Da Mouth” from Taiwan. Here is my favorite song of theirs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCSQHXhXDDU

  5. Scott says:

    Another recommendation from me. I recently saw this guy play in a night club and loved it. He only played for four songs which was disappointing, However I still love the style of his rapping. Really relaxed flowing hip hop


    1. Scott says:

      Also would like to say that although I really like this song of PK 14’s it isn’t really representative of their style. Their other stuff is a lot faster paced and sort of rock/punk.

      1. Olle Linge says:

        That’s what you get when you recommend a band and not a specific song. 😀

        1. D. says:

          Here’s a more typical PK14 number, the song 每一种分离背后的疼痛 (Behind All Ruptures):

          A live version with lyrics and translation can be found here:

  6. Mary says:

    Thanks for your recommendations, I love the Reggae one! Here’s another great Rock song: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTYzMjQyNjA4.html

  7. Max says:

    This song is catchy and have clear subtitles. Love it.

  8. Max says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDQ5O-jmh6w This song is catchy and have clear subtitles. Love it.

  9. Learning Chinese or any other language with the help of songs is good choice and fun. But one should have prior knowledge of the words which are being used in the song.

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