Friday Song: ‘Goodbye Kiss’ by Jacky Cheung, Hong Kong’s ‘God of Songs’ - SupChina

Friday Song: ‘Goodbye Kiss’ by Jacky Cheung, Hong Kong’s ‘God of Songs’

The first time I encountered “Goodbye Kiss” (吻别 Wěn Bié) was through Michael Learns to Rock’s “Take Me to Your Heart,” a 2004 English adaptation of Jacky Cheung 张学友’s ballad classic.

“Goodbye Kiss” was released in 1993 on Cheung’s fifth Mandopop album, The Goodbye Kiss, to instant critical and commercial success, catapulting Cheung to global fame and allowing him to break into the Mandopop market of the Greater China region. The album earned numerous awards upon its release and has since become one of Cheung’s best-selling albums of all time, with over 5 million copies sold in Asia alone. The song itself has solidified its spot as one of the most famous Chinese love songs of the contemporary era; there is not one person today who will not stir at the first note of the iconic introduction. Interestingly, “Goodbye Kiss” was originally composed by Yīn Wénqí 殷文琦 as an instrumental soundtrack inspired by music in the renowned historical drama The Last Emperor (1987). One can undoubtedly hear the presence of traditional Chinese instruments in the 35-second introduction of the song.

“Take Me to Your Heart” also became an instant hit upon its release, amassing over 6 million paid downloads by 2006. Though MLTR’s version keeps the romantic sentiments of its predecessor, the song carries a more lighthearted undertone as opposed to the heavy poignancy of “Goodbye Kiss.”

Cheung’s rich, dynamic voice brings “Goodbye Kiss” to life like no other — the song is at times pitifully sad, at times regretfully somber, other times wildly passionate. The range of emotions conveyed in these five minutes of woeful, heart-wrenching longing for a receding love is further intensified by the atmospheric instrumentals that envelop Cheung’s every note. The song is timeless in its volitional capitulation to love and its desperate cling to a hopeless relationship; it plays differently every time, differently to everyone.

The lyrics of “Goodbye Kiss” are written by renowned Taiwanese lyricist Hé Qǐhóng 何启弘, who has written numerous ballad classics by artists such as Faye Wong 王菲, Eason Chan 陈奕迅, Sandy Lam 林忆莲, and Aaron Kwak. The Chinese lyrics of “Goodbye Kiss” read like poetry, abound with beautiful metaphors and figurative language, every line and word showcasing the literary mastery of He Qihong.

Here are the English translations of the song (source):

前尘往事成云烟 / Our past stories have become clouds and smoke
消散在彼此眼前 / Dispersed right before our eyes
就连说过了再见 / Even as we’ve said “goodbye” to each other
也看不见你有些哀怨 / I don’t see you feeling sad at all

给我的一切 / All that you’ve given to me
你不过是在敷衍 / You didn’t mean from your heart
你笑得越无邪 / But the more innocent your smile is
我就会爱你爱得更狂野 / The crazier I’ll be in love with you

总在刹那间有一些了解 / I’d come to an understanding all of a sudden
说过的话不可能会实现 / That what you’ve said would never come true
就在一转眼发现你的脸 / As I took another look at your face
已经陌生不会再像从前 / It was so indifferent and would never be like before

我的世界开始下雪 / My world began to snow
冷得让我无法多爱一天 / So cold that I couldn’t love for one more day
冷得连隐藏的遗憾都那么地明显 / So cold that I could no longer hide my regretfulness

我和你吻别在无人的街 / I kissed you goodbye on that empty street
让风痴笑我不能拒绝 / Let the wind laugh at me and I couldn’t reject that
我和你吻别在狂乱的夜 / I kissed you goodbye in that perplexing night
我的心等着迎接伤悲 / My heart was ready to greet sadness

想要给你的思念 / The message that I miss you
就像风筝断了线 / Is like a kite cut off of its thread
飞不进你的世界 / It can’t fly into your world
也温暖不了你的视线 / Or warm your sight

我已经看见 / I’m seeing that
一出悲剧正上演 / A tragedy show is going on
剧终没有喜悦 / There’s no joy at the end
我仍然躲在你的梦里面 / While I’m still hiding in your dreams

总在刹那间有一些了解 / I’d come to an understanding all of a sudden
说过的话不可能会实现 / That what you’ve said would never come true
就在一转眼发现你的脸 / As I took another look at your face
已经陌生不会再像从前 / It was so indifferent and would never be like before

我的世界开始下雪 / My world began to snow
冷得让我无法多爱一天 / So cold that I couldn’t love for one more day
冷得连隐藏的遗憾都那么地明显 / So cold that I could no longer hide my regretfulness

我和你吻别在无人的街 / I kissed you goodbye on that empty street
让风痴笑我不能拒绝 / Let the wind laugh at me and I couldn’t reject that
我和你吻别在狂乱的夜 / I kissed you goodbye in that perplexing night
我的心等着迎接伤悲 / My heart was ready to greet sadness

For those who are interested, there is also a rock version of “Goodbye Kiss,” released in 2000.


Friday Song is SupChina’s weekly sign-off. Let us know what you thought of the week that was in the comments below, or email editors@supchina.com.

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Chelsea Cheng

Chelsea Cheng was born in Zhongshan and raised in the SF Bay Area. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in English at NYU, and holds a great passion for film, literature, culture, and politics. Follow her twitter @chxsea_