I'm rambling today. Foreign-language versions of English-language pop songs are the best cover versions of all, I always thought -- until I stepped back and wondered whether it was some form of exoticization on my part. After all, some of the best pop song covers, at least in my mind, happen to have been performed by Japanese bands (for instance, the Pebbles, or Shonen Knife -- the latter's version of the Carpenters' "Top of the World" has to be the greatest cover version ever) and some of the charm, I guiltily confess, does come from their English pronunciation.
But foreign-language covers are a little more difficult to come by, and the real pleasure in them has to do precisely with the unintelligible: . I have a number of versions of "These Boots Are Made For Walking" (back when I was still in the exoticaring), and I have a wonderful breathy French version somewhere around here. I have Tagalog versions of Beatles songs, but unfortunately they're on vinyl. I also have CDs worth of covers of "Whole Lotta Love" and "Red Red Wine," and most are interesting (some are wonderfully horrific) in different ways.
And so, in a tip of the hat to Liza from copy, right?, here's probably the most "famous" foreign-language cover version of a relatively recent English pop song (too many qualifiers there): Faye Wong's "Dream Person." I like her version of the Cocteau Twins' "Evangeline" better, but everyone knows this one because it was prominently featured in Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express. I'll have to ask Madeline whether
Moong joong yun yut fun joong po gun
Jeep sup fun (joong) dik mun
is similar to
Oh, my life is changing everyday,
In every possible way.
I will always be fond of this version -- and not really the Cranberries original -- because of the memories it conjures up of the film. "If memory could be canned, I hope this one will never expire."
Hear it (5.1 mb).Posted by the wily filipino at June 13, 2004 03:50 PM