My taste in music depends on the song. I’ll listen to just about any song out there as long as it has a good beat or a catchy lyric. It doesn’t really matter what language it’s in either. I’ll listen to a song even if I don’t understand what they’re saying. I could be singing along to something that’s bad but if it’s catchy, it can’t be helped.
Growing up, I rarely listened to Cambodian songs. My dad played in a Cambodian band with some of his friends and they went around playing for Cambodian parties. That was the only exposure that I got to Cambodian music. It didn’t quite catch my attention because most of it was slow rock, disco and cha cha cha. It wasn’t the type of music that kids in Canada were into back then.
During the 80’s I was listening to music by Paula Adbul, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Vanilla Ice and don’t laugh, The New Kids on the Block. Their music were catchy and being someone who was learning English, I used it to help me understand the language better.
As I moved around from school to school, I was introduced to other cultures. Hess Street School had a lot of Asian kids attending it so I started getting introduced to their culture. But it wasn’t until high school that I started listening to music in another language.
I had a Korean friend in my science class and he introduced me to H.O.T (High-Five of Teenagers). The first song that my friend told me about was called “We are the Future” and it was great! It had a fast beat and something about the lyrics got me hooked. I wanted to learn every single word of the song. It took me a while to get the correct pronunciation but when I sang it at a friend’s birthday party, everyone thought I was able to read Korean. Little did they know that I was singing from memory.
I slowly got into Cambodian music when I heard an English song sung in Khmer. I thought it was kind of cool that there was a Cambodian version of that song and I happened to like that song a lot. But then I started thinking that if they are copying songs from other languages, when are they going to be original and make their own?
I came across this song a fast beat song called “Oit Pas Oit” sung by Pich Sophea. I think the title translates to “Brag Too Much” but I’m not too sure about that. The original song is called “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas. The beats are the same and I think the lyrics are similar. The Cambodian song has the girl bragging about her good looks while the English has the girl talking about her assets.
If you compare Pich Sophea with Fergie, I’d say that Pich Sophea is hotter. Asian girls are beautiful because of their natural appearance. Western girls tend to wear a lot of make up to make themselves appear more pretty. I’m sure that they look fine without the makeup but it’s nothing compared to Asian girls.
But the two other guys that are singing, I’d have to say that the guys from Black Eyed Peas are way cooler. That one man looks like he’s 100 years old and he dresses like a thug. The only thing that he’s missing are some gold grills on his teeth. Actually, I don’t think he has any teeth to put the grills on.
And what exactly are they doing rapping with a bunch of dogs? Over here, the slang word for a guy is “dawg” so I think there was a little confusion in the translation. Rapping to a song with a bunch of cute dogs isn’t very thug-like but I guess I can’t blame them for trying.
After seeing those two videos, I looked around for some more. Since I was already watching Pich Sophea, I clicked on the next song that caught my eye. The title was already in English but it’s a song from a Korean drama series called “Full House” that I watched during the summer. If I hadn’t seen that movie, I wouldn’t have recognized the song when I heard it. The song is called “I Think I” and it’s originally by Byul. Pich Sophea does a good job at singing this song because most Cambodian singers will sound fobby when they sing in English.
Full House is about a couple that met and made some very bad first impressions. The two looks to be total opposite and they look like they hated each other’s guts. But after spending some time under the same roof, they start to fall for each other. There were complications along the way but in the end, the turned out to be the perfect match.
After watching that, I saw a link to another song but by a male Cambodian singer this time. Nothing about the song title caught my eye. I couldn’t even read the whole title to understand what it was but the singer’s name was familiar though. The title looks like it says, “Grass doesn’t have something.” The thing that caught my eye was the preview of the video. It had a Cambodian girl wearing glasses that grabbed my attention. I was curious about the song so I clicked on the link.
As soon as I heard the first few notes, I know exactly what song this was that they had copied from. It was a song that I heard in the summer. My friend was bored and decided to send me a few songs. One of those songs was “Mo Lai” by Ronald Cheng. I’m not sure what the song is about since I can only read about five Chinese words.
I think I would have a lot more interest in Cambodian songs if they were original. I like to hear songs that I haven’t heard before. If I like it, I’ll end up playing it over and over. That was what happened when I found a song that was sung by a Cambodian girl. The song started out in English but when the second verse started, it was in Khmer. I liked that song very much and it was playing over and over again. But with Cambodian songs that are copying songs from others, there’s no interest because I’ve already heard the original. It’s nice to hear songs translated into my native language but I can only take so much.