涟漪 Lian Yi 1/30/23 & 2/6/23: Best of 2022 in Cpop!

Since everyone’s doing a “Top Songs of 2022”, I thought I’d do one too for Cpop! As always, song titles with unofficial translations are denoted with *.



  1. Nothing from before 2022, even if it charted
  2. Has to be on a top 2022 chart or have a significant number of listens (20k+ listens)


Most of the songs in the first part of the list do something/some things really well, but there’s just something that doesn’t make me go back and listen to them.


  1. 归途有风:王菲/The Way Back Has Wind by Faye Wong
  • Great vocals
  • Song builds up in a satisfying way
  • Melody and lyrics not memorable–mostly on this list for the vibe
  • End credits song


  1. 给你一瓶魔法药水:告五人/ You Are My Magic by Accusefive
  • Earwormy
  • Great instrumentation
  • Kinda basic
  • Not something I would listen to a lot but I appreciate the artistry
  • Something about the chorus is off-putting


  1. 晚风心里吹:阿梨粤/ When the Spring Breeze Blows by A Li Yue
  • Throwback 90s Cantopop sound
  • Extremely pleasant to listen to
  • Doesn’t really develop or provide any deep emotion
  • Like the second or third cup of tea that you make with tea leaves–comforting and mild, but missing something


The songs starting here have elements that I want to highlight in depth that go beyond just “good vibes”.


  1. 花开忘忧:周深/ Blooming Flowers Forget Sorrows* by Zhou Shen
  • Nostalgic sound–instantly transports you back to your past
  • Fitting for a song about how when you get old, you return to childhood
    • Lyrics are very evocative and can be interpreted different ways
    • Is this an old couple who are reminiscing about youth together? Is this someone who’s trying to escape their current stresses by thinking of “better times”?
  • Instrumentation isn’t overly “large” and balances sweetness with a little bit of minor key fun
  • Zhou Shen’s voice really brings out the nuances of the lyrics such that you don’t really need to know what he’s singing to know what the song is about


  1. 人啊人:陈奕迅/ Homo Sapiens by Eason Chan
  • Chorus is a little repetitive but it fits with the theme of the song
  • Amazing instrumentation that pushes the song to greater levels
    • The kick drum that sounds like a heartbeat going through the entire piece
    • Deep synth-y bass with slinky brass is an amazing combination leading into the piece
    • And when the rock guitar, drums, and Chinese flute come in in the middle–another highlight
  • Love the rock solo
  • Eason’s voice fits the song very well–wish he could make music that sounds this dark and foreboding
  • The arrangement of all the elements create this crescendo of despair, which along with the lyrics, make you feel like you’re having this mental breakdown about the meaning of life


  1. 李小龙:安溥/ Bruce Lee* by Anpu
  • Fun surf rock (?) song with a unique musical fingerprint
  • Funky vocals funky guitar funky samples
  • The samples of Bruce Lee are on beat and incorporated very smoothly
  • Just a really enjoyable listen. Very replayable


  1. 夜的尽头:邓紫棋/ The End of Night by G.E.M.
  • Finally, a song by G.E.M. that lives up to the bombast of her voice
  • I’ve had trouble enjoying her music before because of her oversinging, and she just doesn’t need to do all that for 95% of her songs. 
  • This song comes from Revelation, a concept album with music videos that tell a story (did not watch).
    • Maybe the songs in the album make more sense with the music videos, but I think they should stand on their own merits
  • But when she hits, she hits a home run–this is up there with Intoxicated (你把我灌醉)
  • A massive highlight in an otherwise frustratingly boring and derivative project
  • Massive driving bassline. Big drums big vocals big everything
  • Chant with the clapping fits with the religious motifs in the album
  • She’s still doing her Christina Aguilera thing but with material that fits a lot better. Maybe she should go into musicals?


  1. 以上皆非:徐佳莹/None of the Above by LaLa Hsu
  • A great song that works very well within the context of the album, which is about the disappointment at the end of a relationship that you put so much into and her rebirth.
  • Amazing use of electronic elements in the vein of songs like Jolin’s Necessary Evil (恶之必要)
    • This static-y noise in the intro that sounds like screaming
    • The oppressive, low drum-like synths
    • Blends very well with string hits and piano arpeggios
  • Theatrical style matching with lyrics about performance, screens, and stage lights to show the stress of being under so much public scrutiny all the time
  • Music theory note: chorus doesn’t end on a resolved chord, upping the feeling of pressure and anxiety
  • I’ve never heard a song that sounds quite like this.
  • It’s so good at making you feel stressed that I can’t listen to it too much


  1. 想要吐:柏霖/ Purge by PoLin
  • Guitar riff!!!
  • PoLin plays an extremely charismatic, relatable character
    • Very easy to get real greasy vibes off this kind of song but not here!
  • There’s a frustration clear to see in this song that’s so strong
    • Definitely some times this year when I was so frustrated and upset about everything that I felt physically nauseous
  • This song finds where you’re staying stagnant and gives you a nice kick
  • Also you can dance to it!
    • Great hooks with brass embellishments, electric guitar solos, and a great groove


  1. 莫加戴:万妮达/ MoJiaDai by Vinida Wang
  • Afrobeats with a rap over it in the Fuzhou dialect, which is in the Southern Min family of Sinitic languages spoken in Southern China and SE Asia
    • “Mojiadai”: there’s not something like this
  • She talks about how her father taught her to focus on her work and studies and not to follow men around
    • Storytelling in almost a country/folk songwriting fashion
  • Chanting near the end adds to the feeling of this song being sung by a crowd in a village, dancing together
  • It just sounds really unique and fun!
  • Can’t imagine a version of this song without all of these elements


The songs starting here are just as good as the ones before, but my own resonance with them has pushed them to the top of the list. 


  1. 天生就要飞:INTO1/Born to Fly by INTO1
  • Killed my bias against Cpop boy bands
  • Makes you feel happy, which is what idol bands are supposed to do!
  • Feels like a posse cut: something satisfying about seeing each member’s addition into the melody
  • Great hook, mixed very well


  1. 终身浪漫的开始:郁可唯/Romance by Yisa Yu
  • Gorgeous instrumentals!!! Love a trumpet solo
  • Amazing vocal runs
  • Sooooo smooth sounding and uplifting
  • Jazzy and fun and just impossibly happy sounding–but doesn’t overdo it


  1. GANMA: 刘柏辛/ GANMA by Lexie Liu
  • Driving bass feels oppressive–like the headache you get from staying up too late or having a hangover
  • Sounds really futuristic
  • Her voice is really unique: feels like I’m listening to a robot (but in a good way)
    • She voices a character in the League of Legends group K/DA, which makes sense
  • Check out the rest of the album! Really good accessible electro pop 


  1. 山川:李荣浩/Mountain by Ronghao Li
  • He tells a moving story about two people who love their roots and their community but are forced to leave it all behind to be together
  • It starts out so strong that you don’t think it can keep building but it does!
  • His husky voice fits the folksy vibe
  • The instrumental drop is great!
  • Hooks! I keep singing “人们呐 只不过是蹦出山体的泥/oh, people are only chunks of clay that leapt out from the base of the mountain” from the end of the chorus


  1. ……醉鬼阿Q:吴青峰,孙燕姿/……Drunkard Ah Q by Wu Qingfeng and Stefanie Sun
  • Just a great dance song!
  • Duet of the year
  • The instrumental breakdown is my favorite 10 seconds of pop music this year
  • Perfectly encapsulates the feeling of wanting to lose yourself in something and forget your worries for a while

Special shoutouts:

Two of my favorite live performances from this year!

  • “The One of Dreams” by Fiona Sit and Liu Lian, originally by Faye Wong
  • “The Wind Rises Like the Flowing Years”* by Li Jian and Miriam Yeung, originally “When the Wind Rises Again”* by Leslie Cheung and “The Years Flow Like Water”* by Anita Mui