Yaogun Mixtapes


The One that Started it All:

“Nothing to My Name” 一无所有

Cui Jian 崔健

from the album

Rock and Roll on the New Long March (1989)

Recorded at the 1989 Salem Music Awards in London

Mix 1: In the Beginning... 1986-1996

Hair Yaogun

“Don’t Break My Heart”

Black Panther 黑豹
from the album Black Panther (1992)

The Dawn of Metal

“A Dream Return to Tang Dynasty” 梦回唐朝  (meng hui tangchao)

Tang Dynasty 唐朝
from the album

A Dream Return to Tang Dynasty (1992)

(c) Jonathan Campbell all rights reserved


“Garbage Dump” 垃圾场

He Yong 何勇
from the album

Garbage Dump (1994)


“Higher Being” 高級動物

Dou Wei 窦唯

from the album

Dark Dream (1994)


“Marsman” 火星人

Zhou Ren  周韧
from the compilation  China Fire Vol II (1996)

From grunge to punk

“All the Same” 都一样

Underbaby  地下婴儿
from the compilation China Fire Vol II (1996) and 觉醒 juexing, Awake, (1999)

Blues, rock, angst

“Cynicism” (玩世不恭 wanshibugong)
Chang Kuan 常宽

from the 1991 album Making Plans for Now (重新计划现在 chongxin jihua xianzai), and from Yaogun Beijing I (1993)

Sample lyrics
(translation via Geremie Barme, via Linda Jaivin)

While the granddads in their seventies lead the nation         Uncles in their sixties take care of modernization,

Those in their fifties retire and take it easy;         Our brothers in their forties are with money-making busy.

They say only once you're thirty do you really understand.         But where in all this do we twenty-year-olds stand?

Some are busy with Reform, others go overseas.         So what's left for us twenty-year-olds
Can someone tell me, please?

Sample lyrics:
(translation by Matthew Corbin Clark via Cui Jian’s homepage)

I have asked you endlessly,            When will you go with me?
But you always laugh at me with,        Nothing to my name
I want to give you my dreams,        And give you my freedom.
But you always laugh at me with,        Nothing to my name.
Ohhh….         When will you go with me?

A link to the extant (and incomplete) video of Cui’s original performance of the tune in 1986 is here.

I wrote about the recent re-invention of this song in the wake of July, 2011’s high-speed train crash in Wenzhou, China

Sample lyrics (translation: jWc)

Don't break my heart.
Be gentle again, I don’t want to see you remain silent.
Waiting along, quietly enduring.

Happiness always appears in my dreams.

Sample Lyrics
translation by “nancyjio”, with tweaks by jWc
Follow the destiny enter the fantasy        In my dream return to the Tang Dynasty

Tonight’s bright moon shining in the goblet        All the people bustling on the silk road

  Tonight’s bright moon shining in the goblet         Here gathering wonders of heaven and earth

Tonight’s bright moon shining in the goblet         Paper and ink fragrance floating over rivers

  Tonight’s bright moon shining in the goblet         Heros show their spirits in the vast universe

  Tonight’s bright moon ain't in the goblet        Neon lights glittering peaceful and prosperous

Sample Lyrics
translation by Andrew Jones in Like a Knife
The place where we live        Is like a garbage dump
The people are like insects        Everyone’s struggling and stealing
We eat our consciences and it’s ideology that we’re shitting

Sure, there’s a green tree growing        You can smell the flower’s scent
The Forbidden City’s really pretty        There’s even a really great wall
They’re growing on top of a garbage dump

The place where we live        Is a slaughterhouse
All you have to know is dirt        And you’re already good enough to be sold in pounds and ounces
Cixi’s foot-binding cloth was long and stinky (note: Cixi was the empress dowager at the tail end of the Qing Dynasty)

Is this a joke?        No!        Tear it down!

(note: In the above version of the song, as well as the version He sang at Tiananmen Square in 1989, ends with “Is there any hope?” rather than “Is this a joke?/No!”)

Sample Lyrics
translation by jWc
Brilliance dreariness pride sentimentality

Malice revenge insolence blame
Where is happiness? Where is happiness?

Sample Lyrics
translation by jWc
For ideals I fly up        For goals I chase forward

Sample Lyrics
translation by jWc
Looking at something I’ve never seen    Hearing a sound that’s never been heard
Thinking of a beautiful vision of the future    Then looking again at ourselves
It’s all the same

Rock ‘n’ Roll with Chinese Characteristics

“Don’t Live Too Hard” (玩世不恭 bu yao huode tai lei)
Wang Di (王迪)

from the compilation album Past Rock ‘n’ Roll (1989)
Various Artists

A great example of the badai (扒带) phenomenon – ba: “strip off or skin”; dai: “tape”. Badai means ‘transcription’, but it’s about more than that: it’s about producers adapting (covering, stealing, butchering) overseas pop songs with Chinese lyrics (‘badai’ also came to refer to pirated tapes generally). Here, Wang Di, a pop singer who also played in Cui Jian’s original band, has at Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name”.

Bon Jovi: “Shot through the heart/And you’re to blame/Darling you give love/A bad name”

Wang Di: “Go away with me/Put away your tears/As soon as you feel too tired”