The Story of Our Chinese Love Song, Cǎihóng by Yu Quan

Yu Quan, 羽泉
The Chinese pop duo Yu Quan, 羽泉 (photo from

On our first official date together, John happened to slip a CD in my portable CD player, Lěngkù Dàodǐ by Yu Quan. I gave him one of the earbuds, turned the CD player on, and we listened to it all the way to the vegetarian restaurant. I’ll never forget how I felt the moment Cǎihóng, or Rainbow, came on, a song in Chinese that described the ultimate love as more gorgeous than a rainbow. Much of their music captured the kind of innocence and beauty that surrounded my love with John, and I couldn’t help but wonder if he even chose that CD on purpose. Let’s just say this: by the time John and I arrived at that restaurant, I already fell in love twice — with him and this new musical group.

There’s a certain irony in John romancing me with music. After all, he is tone-deaf. Then again, when you’re tone deaf, maybe the best way to say “I love you” is giving your girlfriend the perfect love song — in our case, Cǎihóng. I think it took me less than a week to learn how to sing it back to him, and soon, I used to charm John on evening walks in Hangzhou by serenading him with our favorite Yu Quan song.

If only I could have sang it at our wedding. It’s not that John and I couldn’t find the song to play at our ceremony — I happened to lose my voice on our wedding day. I’ll never forget that realization by mid-day, and all the tears that came along with it, tears that didn’t go with my bridal gown or my perfectly made-up face. To make matters worse, we planned to have a karaoke party after the wedding — one of my most favorite things to do, and I couldn’t even sing, let alone talk.

That evening at the karaoke party, my husband’s closest friends and classmates, the guys he always called his “brothers,” called us over to their room in the karaoke joint, and demanded a song. I shook my head in silence, and didn’t know what to do. Then John stood up, chose Cǎihóng by Yu Quan, and belted out the most off-key, off-rhythm version of the song I’d ever heard.

Now that’s love.

What’s your favorite Chinese love song? Why?

P.S.: If you’re curious, you can listen to Cǎihóng, or Rainbow by Yu Quan right here.

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23 thoughts on “The Story of Our Chinese Love Song, Cǎihóng by Yu Quan

  • February 20, 2012 at 2:24 am

    I always loved Jay Chou’s songs, and often fantasized of a guy singing me Blue White Porcelain (青花瓷) Sometimes I even want for a guy to sing me Teresa Teng’s Moon Represents my Heart song.

  • February 20, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Our song would be Jay Chou – Hair Like Snow.
    When my husband was younger, his friends used to say he looks like Jay Chou. And when I visited my husband’s apartment for the first time, he played me this Jay Chou’s music video and said “that’s me”..
    And I almost believed it:D

  • February 20, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for the post Jocelyn. Enjoyed watching the video.

    My big fantasy is singing “Huo Tian Cua” from start to finish in Mandarin, or at least a guy bothering to learn it, and sing it to me. I would probably love it if a guy sang “Fearless” by Jay
    Chou just to impress me.

  • February 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    In my opinion, most Chinese singers are just garbage. None of them sing worth a lick, if you don’t believe me just watch their live concerts, they’re always off-tune, can’t sing, and just exposed.

    There are only 2 that can sing for real.

    One is 张敬轩

    the other is 张学友

    You only need to listen to these 2, then you will realize most other Chinese singers are not worth your time.

  • February 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Jason – Every one has his own favorite singers, there is no point to start war here.

  • February 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    @jason, one man’s meat is another’s poison (萝卜白菜,各有所爱). The concept of ‘favourite’ is really varying from person to person; favour depends on different experiences and various occasions. Even for the the same person, some songs seem appealing at one moment and not at another. Hope you could share your stories about songs which make you emotional rather wage war here arguing who’s best singer. 🙂

  • February 21, 2012 at 2:43 am

    Oh goodie! I find my best way of learning Chinese is through pop music — I’m so happy to have a whole new slew of songs to check out 🙂

    My personal favorite is 今天你要嫁给 by David Tao & Jolin Tsai. I always tell my boyfriend that we need to learn the lyrics in Chinese so we can KTV them and impress everyone! Besides, it’s an easy song to learn. (We’re both waiguoren)

  • February 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    JJ Lin 林俊傑 is pretty good live.
    So is Jam Xiao 蕭敬騰.
    For female singers, Jane Zhang 張靚穎 is also good singing live.
    They’ve got too many good songs to choose from, IMO and some are very easy to sing to in KTV. I also learn how to pronounce some Chinese words through music.

    They’re are in the mainstream, but there’s plenty of Indie artists who are good too.

  • February 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    彩虹 is a romantic song. But I don’t think it is easy to sing well. That you are able to Jocelyn, it’s great! Nowadays I hardly listen to songs be it Chinese, Malay or English because I don’t have the time. It is true though that we often associate songs with events in our life that are meaningful to us. Where will we be without music and songs? @Jason, strong opinion you have got! What may be music to your ears may be thrash to others.

  • February 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I don’t have a lot of cpop on my ipod, but I do listen to A-Mei/張惠妹 on a daily basis. 😀 I simply can’t pick one song by her. There’s “Ku Bu Chu Lai (Can’t Cry It Out),” as an example. There are so many. I do also listen to S.H.E, as well. 🙂

  • February 22, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Our song would be 我愛你/Wo Ai Ni by S.H.E. If you know the story to the song it’s about a love that even if broken apart is so strong it overcomes all obstacles…I can sing most of it to my boyfriend, and he thinks it’s cute I try so hard! 🙂
    Here is the short version of the video, however I DO suggest checking out the long version(13 minutes long).

  • February 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I like the song Bu De Bu Ai by Pan Wei Bo but not for any particular reason – probably because I could make out the title in the song…

    Since watching Chungking Express, I have loved the song Dreams by The Cranberries. I like the English and Cantonese version (by Faye Wong) equally because I can’t understand either version without looking the lyrics up! haha 😀 (Cantonese) (English)

  • February 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Claire – I love Dreams by Cranberries ever since it plays on the radio. It was on US billboard hot 100. Not sure it qualifies as love song, more like a song about crush 🙂

  • February 24, 2012 at 7:25 am

    @ Claire: Thank you SO much for the link to Bu De Bu Ai by Pan Wei Bo. This is the most beautiful song. She sings like a bird … I am very grateful! 🙂

  • March 3, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Now that you’ve writte about music as well, I’d like to ask: which Chinese dramas can you recommend? 🙂 I’ve read your post about “Five Things Taiwanese Idol Dramas Say About Love in China” and loved “Down with love”. Now I’m looking for more lighthearted Chinese dramas but no luck so far 🙁

  • March 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    @Bukki A lot of the Taiwanese dramas have lighthearted moments, but they all carry some sort of a message. They usually have some sort of love triangle to them.
    Some of my favorites are:
    The Rose(NOT light at all! This is SO one of my favorites!)
    It Started With A Kiss(1&2…ISWAK2 has an AM/WF couple with the beautiful Rui Sha-Larisa Baukarova and the SUPER HOT(does anyone else get this pun?) Jiro Wang…I <3 him!!).
    Hana Kimi Taiwan(SO cute, I <3 Ella Chen, she is the funniest girl ever!)
    Devil Beside You(Mike He!!!!! Kingone Wang!!!! <3)
    Miss No Good(Will Pan!!! <3)
    Down With Love(@Bukki, I know you said you already said you saw this)
    (Drunken)to Love You(Joseph Chang is SOOOOO hot in this!)
    Autumn's Concerto(Vanness!)
    The X-Family(which is connected to K.O. One)
    Meteor Garden
    Smiling Pasta
    Tokyo Juliet
    Bull Fighting
    These are just a few…..and it is so nice to watch them. No mater the outcome you always walk away feeling satisfied(EXCEPT ISWAK & HANA KIMI, they KILLED me with the endings to these!).
    If you haven;t already checked these out you should. I am waiting for Absolute Boyfriend to start this month…..I cannot wait for JIRO! lol! 🙂

  • March 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Sorry Jocelyn,
    I didn’t realize how long that was! You can send this to the drama post or I can re-post it there if you want me to….XD

    • March 4, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks Rebekah, actually you listed most of my favorites and many more, so I have nothing to add there.

      Yeah, I’m trying to figure out how to move this thread, but my “Move comments” function isn’t working right. No worries for now.


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