Leehom Wang, Torchbearer

Hmm, I’m thinking I might make a “Mandopop and the Olympics” tag, because these sorts of stories are bound to pop up with greater frequency over the next few months, and are invariably interesting to me. Making a new category tag is not really all that big of a commitment, so I guess I will. (Okay, done! Now to go back and tag old posts…)

Leehom has been selected to be a torchbearer on the early days of the Olympic torch relay beginning this week in Greece, the ancient home of the Olympic games. His selection apparently has to do with his environmental activism, which ties in with Olympic themes, and his popularity. Now look at the pictures closely (more here):

Leehom and the Olympic Torch

I see “Coca-Cola” logos in the background in Chinese. I wonder if his selection is also linked to his status as a spokesman for that product? Nah, that’s probably too cynical. In all seriousness, I think the honor is well deserved. As much crap as I give the man about his hair and his KTV-style cheesy ballads – and really, someone has to – he’s a great talent and in the last few years it seems like his star is on the rise. (Contrast his fortunes with that of his erstwhile Lust, Caution castmate, Tang Wei, whose fame has turned to notoriety after being blacklisted in China for her sex scenes and her character’s changing loyalties. Nobody ever said that life was fair, eh? Tony Leung, Ang Lee and Leehom have all been very vocal in their support of her, but that’s not really going to change much in her situation for the time being.)

In Olympic song news, both Jay and Leehom have submitted tracks to the committee for consideration. The list supposedly comes out on April 30. Cowboy Jay ran a much-publicized contest for lyrics to his song, accepting thousands of suggestions but always saying that if he did not find anything suitable he would has his regular partner Vincent Fang to write them. Well, it seems it came down to The Public, 0 and Vincent 1, as he submitted his song with professional lyrics. Leehom very wisely did not write his own lyrics either, seeking old friend and professional lyricist Albert Leung’s (林夕) assistance.

And that concludes today’s installment of “Mandopop and the Olympics.” Stay tuned for our next update. :P

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13 Responses to Leehom Wang, Torchbearer

  1. Mich says:

    Anything that leads to more pictures of Leehom is a welcome addition to the blog…

  2. hobielover says:

    I was really looking forward to finding out who won the lyrics until I saw the title “千山萬水” with the name “方文山” for the lyricist. I guess Jay’s just too much of a perfectionist when it comes down to his songs.

    LeeHom’s ballads are kind of cheesy. Why must there be a Mandarin cover of Color Me Bad’s “Forever Love”? It looks like he fighting with that other guy with his torch.

    Every time I tune in to the Chinese channel, there’s some mention of the Olympics. It doesn’t matter what program is on, there’s always some mention about it.

  3. random leon says:

    forever love is an original composition by leehom, as are most of the songs he sings.

  4. Merry says:

    Unfortunately, I actually went to see Color Me Badd live in concert in the early 90s. I was young, I didn’t know any better… but this means I can back up random leon on this. The two songs may have the same title, but they are definitely not the same song. I might note, too, that not *all* of Leehom’s ballads are cheesy, and I even like some of the cheesy ones, though the fact that I like them does not automatically make them not cheesy.

    About Jay – I stopped believing he’s a perfectionist a few albums ago. Now I think he’s just an egotist.

  5. Mich says:

    Very odd how our little youthful indiscretion of paying good money for tickets to see Color Me Badd in concert keeps coming up in the blogosphere…
    http://notfromaroundhere.wordpress.com/2007/07/24/not-the-passport-not-again/

  6. hobielover says:

    Fortunately, I’ve never been to a CMB concert, so I thought the 2 songs sounded a lot alike. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to any concerts at all. Since I only started listening to Chinese music a few months ago, I completely missed the whole “Jay is falling to the dark side” thing, as the first Mandarin album I ever ordered had Cowboy Jay on the cover. It does seem quite possible, though, that Jay’s music is getting worse and LeeHom’s is getting better. However, he did say that the style of the song he just composed for the Olympics would be very different from his other compositions, which could be a good thing or a bad thing considering how different “牛仔很忙” was from his other compositions.

    Of course not all of LeeHom’s ballads are cheesy. If they were all cheesy, then who would listen? I suppose someone would listen, but (hopefully) he wouldn’t be as popular as he is. He deserves to carry the torch. He looks very happy about it, too, and he’s abandoned the peach fuzz for the moment.

  7. Steve says:

    Bwahahahaha! A Milli Vanilli concert VHS? You are truly brave to keep that blog entry on the Internets.

    I don’t know about you, but when I look at that LeeHom picture, I see stubble. Or maybe just a poor shave. Or maybe I’m just fantasizing. Anyway, what a perfect torchbearer. American-born, pop star on both sides of the Strait, hasn’t taken 45,287 pictures of himself getting it on with starlets…..

  8. hobielover says:

    There are no sites about Chinese music that haven’t touched on the subject of Edison’s scandal. How many people are holding that against him over there? It sounds like it’d be worse than the whole Britney-Spears-and-drugs thing over here.

    I think my whole family skipped the 90s. When I was little, I wanted to go see a Barry Manilow concert. I ended up watching it on DirecTV. (What is it with me and guys who play the piano behind their backs?! – Barry Manilow, Jay Chou, Kenji Wu, when will it end?) Anyways, I had to look up “Milli Vanilli” on Wikipedia. Were they lip-syncing at the concert of which you have the VHS? Because, if I’m getting this right, they definitely wouldn’t sound like what’s on the album if they sang it themselves…

  9. Merry says:

    I’d like to stress, first and foremost, that the tape belonged to my sister. Of course, I know I watched it, but what impressionable young girl doesn’t try to be like her big sister?

    Ahem. You’ve hit the nail on the head, hobielover – the scandal with Milli Vanilli is that the two guys pictured on the albums and hopping around on the stage didn’t ever sing any of the music – it was a third guy, behind the scenes, who did it all. Any bit of their old paraphernalia is embarrassing to admit to owning, but the concert is especially bad because they are not only lip-syncing, but lip-syncing to someone else’s voice. *sigh*

    You should note how much my taste in music has improved in the last 15-18 years. Heck, I had better taste by the mid-1990s, even…

  10. asd says:

    Check out http://www.exploring-the-given-life.blogspot.com for full rare video of Leehom live in Jakarta concert. Spread the news!

  11. kippy says:

    A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last achievement. In this way he steadily raises his level of aspiration.

  12. Very good blog post. I definitely appreciate this site. Keep writing!

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