Much like primary school autograph books and CDs/cassettes, old-school Mandopop has long been relegated to the back of our dusty drawers.
But back in the noughties, some of us might have even signed up for a talent competition performing these tracks (no shame, now) when were in school. The less showy lot of us were contented to just burn these songs into CDs.
Here are 18 songs that might have been found their way into your compilation CDs:
They were the Westlife/NSYNC/Backstreet Boys of Mandopop in their heydays. Unfortunately, they’ve all but faded to oblivion save for one of them who now makes his living acting in one of those Taiwan dramas that go on forever.
At their peak, they were the zeitgeist of the Mandopop boyband era and the idol group every school girl went crazy over. Because whether you liked the cocky rich asshole who is actually a giant softie (very specific, we know) or the dark and brooding type, F4 has it.
3. Cyndi Wang
She touted the cute girl image, and you either hated her or loved her. But all of us wished our school uniforms looked like those in her music videos:
We laughed at them for having a name that sounds like a battery brand, then sang their songs out of earshot of our friends. Being cool takes work, ok?
5. Penny Tai (Dai Pei Ni)
Her song made it big as the ending theme of Meteor Garden, and has since then been associated with our younger, schooling days. Also very relatable since we like to emo and apply it to our broken/breaking relationships.
7. David Tao (Tao Ze)
Singing about the friend zone since 1999, except there was no official term for it then.
7. Fahrenheit (Fei Lun Hai)
Another boy band capitalising on heartthrobs. Majority of the school girls fawned over Wu Zhun, followed by Jiro Wang. Never mind that we can’t remember a single song that they sang, we certainly remember their faces.
8. Zhang Zhen Yue
When you practically whined the entire song with your friends because you were absolutely heartbroken. The heartbreak feels a bit stupid thinking back, but eh.
9. Nan Quan Ma Ma
Lara has a delicate yet powerful voice that is almost impossible to emulate, but that didn’t stop us from trying anyway. We also loved butchering Shan Hu Hai – her duet with Jay Chou – during KTV sessions. Whee.
10. Vivian Hsu
#BreakUpAnthem #Empowerment #MovingOn #Bye
11. Lee Sheng Jie
One of the less ambitious duets you could sing with your friends, or just blast it from your Motorola Razr as you walk along, like the lian/beng you
12. Fish Leong (Liang Jing Ru)
Back then we only knew this one song, but it didn’t stop her from catapulting to fame. What we thought was an easy song turned out to be quite a killer when it came to chorus, too. Eeep.
13. Ah Niu
The only song we knew was Dui Mian De Nu Hai (and we’re pretty sure Ah Huat Bai Ka Fei doesn’t count), but the chorus alone is enough to capture the essence of our secondary school/JC crushes.
14. 183 Club
Erm, they were kinda overshadowed by 5566, so no one really knew all of their names. Sorry.
15. Angela Chang
We went crazy over this petite and doe-eyed singer after watching MVP Valentine (or MVP Qing Ren). Maybe that’s why so many girls like to act cute ah.
Everyone recognised Faye and her powerful vocals while the other two members kind of faded into the background. Oops.
17. Rainie Yang (Yang Cheng Ling)
Some of us tried to reach for the high notes in Ai Mei, but some of us had a better estimate of our abilities. But really, too many of us tried to copy her bangs and ended up looking like shit.
18. Elva Hsiao (Xiao Ya Xuan)
For a good amount of time we mistook her hit for “pig brother” when it actually meant “title song” or “main theme”. Tsk.
Bonus: China Dolls (Zhong Guo Wa Wa)
The China Dolls were, funnily enough, not from China, but a duo of girls from Thailand. Their only popular track may have caused a major cringe-fest, but it’s still stuck in our heads…
Since you’re here, why not read this too?