Rogue Emperor 流氓皇帝 TVB Theme Songs Review

Hey everyone,

We're here to bring you some thoughts on the three new songs for Rogue Emperor. At first we thought that this drama was shelved forever. They have been talking broadcasting it ever since last summer in 2015 but it just kept getting pushed back. We are surprised that it has three songs, probably sung way before now... because if it was now, we don't' think Voice Ent would even make three songs for a drama they wanted to shelve for so long. After watching some grand anniversary productions, we are back to old school TVB in that pre-modern street and this is even more old-school as it is a remake of The Misadventure of Zoo with Adam Cheng and Lydia Shum back in 1981! It has been considered a classic and we don't really see a point in remaking it even though we haven't seen the original. Anyways, we will still give it a shot and will be talking to you guys about the songs! This review also features our part-time writer Ah Tao!

First up is the opening theme 四方 sung by Hoffman Cheng.

CeeJay - We are seeing a lot of dislikes on this song... don't really know why. In our opinion this song is adequate for the drama and Hoffman sings it with the feeling of the lyrics of the song. It may not be anything spectacular (we weren't expecting it to be anyways) or anything that you might listen to day-to-day but for the drama, we think it's a good fit. First of all, there was no need to remake the drama in the first place so making new songs may cause viewers to dislike the song since it can't replace the original and all. Ah Tao has more comments on this song than we do so for us, very simply put, it is a satisfactory song (tune, lyrics, singing) for the drama.

Ah Tao - It's definitely a lot less common for Hoffman to sing songs among the Voice Ent. singers, but I find he really comes in when we do need a break from the more promoted ones. The instrumentation in this song certainly is inspired by Cantonese opera. This song really gives me that throwback vibe to the glory days of TVB ancient dramas. I wouldn't be surprised if you told me this song came from a drama twenty years ago when acting and script quality with TVB dramas were at its prime. This song certainly makes great background music material as it gives me that atmosphere we will be immersed in a folklore and certainly enjoy a lot of street humour. It's very fitting for this drama.

I'm also glad the lines for this song are comparatively short because the lyrics in this song make way more sense then the average the Voice Entertainment song. I find they just stockpile random adjectives to make long lines in a lot of songs. They don't end up making a lot of sense. This song is so much better in that aspect. I really like "浪蕩四方 男兒倜儻,  放眼遠方 行俠氣壯"  because it seems very retro-TVB and has that adventurous and grand tone to it. On the other hand, "便飯又餐 閒茶能喝, 疲勞時閉眼 天天過, 悶就讀書本 尋問路向, 天生當然天養" conveys a simple-minded way of life I'm sure our main characters will desire after the mishaps they'll have in the drama. The one line that does bug me is "有人愛 作丞相", which I know symbolically means gaining higher status and fame in life, but becoming the prime minister? Couldn't they have found some saying that actually made sense or just say 'becoming famous'? Hoffman's singing feels relatively neutral to me so I don't have any comments about that.

鄭世豪 Hoffman Cheng - 四方 (劇集 "流氓皇帝" 主題曲)


曲: 徐洛鏘 
詞: 楊熙 
編: 徐洛鏘 
監: 韋景雲 

浪蕩四方 男兒倜儻
放眼遠方 行俠氣壯

踏盡萬千山 無人同往
完全無記掛 心花放
獨自用雙腿 遊歷萬國
不需擔心方向

有人愛 作丞相
不如隨心 毫無擔當 天天高興唱歌
為何煩惱太多
奇怪也有人愛 向錢看
不能隨心 四處欣賞 機關打到怯慌
明明誰也有福 要享

要我替你做王 哪可及大地做故鄉
四野作被做帳 手中有也要去分享
我也最怕事忙 每一日坐立亦要趕
快切斷你繩索 懂得胡塗從此命長

浪蕩四方 男兒倜儻
放眼遠方 行俠氣壯

便飯又一餐 閒茶能喝
疲勞時閉眼 天天過
悶就讀書本 尋問路向
天生當然天養

有人愛 作丞相
不如隨心 毫無擔當 天天高興唱歌
為何煩惱太多
奇怪也有人愛 向錢看
不能隨心 四處欣賞 機關打到怯慌
明明誰也有福 仍要享

要我替你做王 哪可及大地做故鄉
四野作被做帳 手中有也要去分享
我也最怕事忙 每一日坐立亦要趕
快切斷你繩索 懂得胡塗從此命長

Second is the sub theme 乾杯 sung by the trio of Ronald Law, Hoffman Cheng, and Yao Bin.

CeeJay - When we first heard this song, we immediately thought of Chinese New Year haha. It seems very fitting with the lyrics and the theme of the song. Again, having these three sing the song instead of the Big Hits is a nice break however, it's evident that they sang this song a while WHILE back and is didn't get released until now. We suspect their contracts have also ended since Hoffman now has music under Neway Star/Star Entertainment and Ronald and Yao Bin(Yiu Bing) are back to their kelefe roles in dramas. The three of them are also off the banner on the Voice Ent Youtube channel... so obviously their contracts are done. Surprised to see Auston still there since he hasn't had songs since the Come Home Love days! Ok back to the song, there isn't much to say really. The tune is very traditional, the lyrics mean well and there isn't much to say about the singing either as this song doesn't require much vocal skills. Our only comment is that we do think that there is too much repetition in the lyrics 不需歸去 and 不等再會.

Ah Tao - This song is very similar to the opening theme in terms of its instrumentation. That's not necessarily a bad thing because it matches the mood of the drama. The sense of hospitality conveyed in the song feels very realistic with the everyday commoner life in that time era. This is certainly a very simple song, discussing how toasting is the perfect way way to celebrate the happy days of life together. I really like the lyrics in this song because they are very straightforward, make sense, and tie back into the topic. I can see this song being used trying to convey the simple life our main characters have in the beginning of the drama and that sense of 'simple happiness.' Because its about having a toast, we can be sure to hear it whenever theres a celebration or some grand occasion. Add in some firecracker or drumming or trumpet sounds in the scene and it will be perfect.

羅鈞滿/鄭世豪/姚兵 Ronald Law/Hoffman Cheng/Yao Bin - 乾杯(劇集 "流氓皇帝" 插曲)


曲: 徐洛鏘
詞: 楊熙
編: 徐洛鏘
監: 張家誠

飲要盡情大杯
大家今晚高興要乾杯
等一等幫你再添杯
拉隊敬酒又再巡迴

斟滿人人大杯
烈酒分分鐘有幾千杯
等一等幫你再添杯
加多兩粒話梅

在這天 有杯碰杯
十年後 若然又再會
他朝美酒都似水
靠著情 緣份能融匯

來吧不等再會 不等再會
要盡情慶賀要乾杯
不需顧慮 不需歸去
來全日我奉陪
來吧不需再會 不需再會
要是朋友就再飲杯
拋開顧慮 不需歸去
頭暈但我奉陪

飲要萬人大會
大家一聲高叫喂乾杯
等一等幫你再添杯
拉隊敬酒又再巡迴

斟滿人人大杯
烈酒分分鐘有幾千杯
等一等幫你再添杯
加多兩粒話梅

在這天 有杯碰杯
十年後 若然又再會
他朝美酒都似水
靠著情 緣份能融匯

來吧不等再會 不等再會
要盡情慶賀要乾杯
不需顧慮 不需歸去
來全日我奉陪
來吧不需再會 不需再會
要是朋友就再飲杯
拋開顧慮 不需歸去
頭暈但我奉陪

來吧不等再會 不等再會
要盡情慶賀要乾杯
不需顧慮 不需歸去
來全日我奉陪
來吧不需再會 不需再會
要是朋友就再飲杯
拋開顧慮 不需歸去
頭暈但我奉陪

Finally, we will be reviewing 心暖, the ending theme duet from Kenneth Ma and Niki Chow. 

CeeJay - So far this is the only song that hasn't garnered that many dislikes and we think it's just because tof Niki singing it and how people miss Niki so they're excited to hear the new song. We have always thought that Kenneth should stick to improving his acting because his voice just isn't suited for singing. It sounds very different from his speaking voice and is very unnatural, sometimes strained (but edited in hear). When we heard some live performances of him performing on Youtube, we found his voice to be "hollow", it's not deep enough so his singing doesn't sound great. He sounds kinda flat in this song. Niki on the other hand is an alright singer but we don't think that this song is difficult to sing so she handles it well. 

The song itself however, is on the short side and we would have liked it to be longer. The tune is alright but not a memorable one yet. We do enjoy the lyrics and they are significantly more poetic than the usual lyrics in a drama theme song. 

Ah Tao - Of course we need to have a duet with our main characters, and in retro TVB ancient drama style, to wrap up the drama. I'm surprised a small production even gets three songs when even grand productions like Two Steps from Heaven only got one. But I digress.

Compared to other siu sangs like Bosco or Ron or Sammul Chan back in the day, Kenneth hasn't sung much. There's not much to say about his voice - it's just okay and that's about it. All I can say is that it sounds very similar to his actual voice which is pretty low, and the parts where he sings along isn't as enjoyable. Niki on the other hand really gives that harmonizing effect to the song and her voice is very soothing and comforting despite being higher pitched. She didn't overdo it with her pitch and kept it at just the right level not to sound like she's straining her voice. Along with the relatively calm and slow instrumental, it's a decent duet that is very tailored to the drama's atmosphere.

Lyrics wise, I'm happy they've really kept the lyrics succinct, yet fairly rich and descriptive. Kenneth's first lines "白翠菊 開於我手邊, 摘兩朵 好等得嫣相見" sets us a very pleasant mood with white Chinese Aster flower (if I translated this correctly) filling our mental imagery. My favourite line has to be " 圓滿 我的素願. 償遍 最美思念," which leads to that atmosphere of perfection and bliss. Or at least that's the ideal state because "你可知 好境遇過萬千, 沒你在旁沒那樣甜," and nothing in life, even the best luxuries in life, can get better than being together. Overall, the message this song is conveying is very solid for the Voice Ent. standards. It also makes sense considering this drama is all about Kenneth being with Niki and trying to find her back after so many years. The content is much better than the usual stockpiling of words in lyrics of songs about random romances irrelevant to the drama they are assigned to.

馬國明 周麗淇  Kenneth Ma/Niki Chow - 心暖 (劇集 "流氓皇帝" 片尾曲)


曲 : 徐洛鏘 
詞 : 楊熙 
編:徐洛鏘 
監: 何哲圖/韋景雲 

(A = Kenneth, B = Niki, C = duet)

A1 白翠菊 開於我手邊
摘兩朵 好等得嫣相見
柳飄飄 沙影日照路邊
在你面前是那樣甜

B1 萬尺高 不比兩手牽
在你肩 勝過再活萬年
這一秒 春風滑過白天
陪著你能叫心中暖

C1 圓滿 我的素願
償遍 最美思念
人在這天 唯願能不改變
柔柔像春風使我心中暖

A2 任我想 只想你到此
大半生 只等這一張臉
你可知 好境遇過萬千
沒你在旁沒那樣甜

Thank you for reading this as always and have a great day! We will be back with the TVB Anniversary Awards and a Dead Wrong Review (both with Ah Tao!!) so be sure to tune back soon!

-CeeJay and Ah Tao

Comments

  1. Hi there! Before I start, I need to preface my comments with the following: I watched the original Misadventure of Zoo back in the 80s, but was not very fond of the series so didn’t bother re-watching it over the years….therefore, my memory of the series is somewhat vague compared to other TVB classics. With that said though, some of the things I do remember might help to answer some of the questions that were brought up here.

    First, the number of songs – the original series actually had 4 main songs (2 theme songs and 2 sub-theme songs), so technically, for TVB to only do 3 songs for the remake, they already “cut down” so to speak. Actually, this was very common with TVB series back then – multiple songs and/or music for 1 series, regardless of whether the series was a grand production or not. Part of this was due to TVB truly having some great music people on their side back then (the theme and sub theme songs for the original series were written by the legendary duo of Joseph Koo and James Wong, who were actually responsible for writing majority of TVB’s theme songs back then) plus a lot of great singers to song those songs, so TVB did extremely well in the theme song department. Of course, one of the differences is that the star of the original series – Adam Cheng – was also a professional singer in real life, so having so many songs in the series and having him sing pretty much all of them made sense (not like now, where the stars of the remake are technically non-singers and so they need to get Voice people to sing the songs, except for the duet, which I’ll get to later).

    I will be honest and say that even though I didn’t really like the original series much, I did enjoy the songs quite a bit, which is why I was quite disappointed with the songs they did for the remake. Of course, like everyone else has said, TVB shouldn’t have even remade this series in the first place (I hate it when TVB remakes classics nowadays, since I already know they will butcher the original series due to the lack of talent they have now)…..but since they chose to remake it, they should’ve done a better job overall. I’m not sure why TVB decided to do brand new songs for the remake instead of using the original songs, especially since the originals were so “defining” for the series (especially the ending duet sub theme-song, which was a wildly popular song back then). Besides, the original songs were on a way higher level (whether we’re talking about the songwriting, singing, music choreography, etc.), so it kind of irks me that TVB got their in-house songwriters and producers (who are nowhere near Joseph Koo/James Wong level and never will be) to re-do the songs and the Voice people to sing them (which to me is definitely a downgrade from the original). Granted, there is no rule out there that says remakes have to use the original songs, but seeing that TVB lacks talent in their music department nowadays, I would personally prefer they use the original songs written and sung by “real” music people.

    In terms of the duet, I definitely prefer the Adam Cheng/Louise Lee version (the original one was not actually sung by Louise Lee – the female part was sung by one of Shaw Brothers’ usual behind-the-scenes singers). The new version doesn’t have as much meaning as the original one in my opinion….also, it doesn’t help that Kenneth is a horrible singer, which really detracts from the song (Niki isn’t that great either but at least I don’t get goosebumps when she sings, lol).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey @llwky12!

    FIrst of all, I just wanted to say that from reading all the posts and your comments that I really appreciate all the times you add some past context to the reviews! I know my knowledge of TVB is very limited to the post-2005 era while Cee and Jay are more so post-2000, so you being able to tell us about things from the glory days is very appreciated!

    Yeah, it definitely seems like TVB of the past was focused on putting out works of art rather than the stuff that comes out of a stale production line with no originality... whether that's in terms of plot holes in the script, repetitive songs, or less-than-ideal acting. Sigh...but I guess on the other hand if they used the old songs but remade them with new singers they would still have that canned quality that would in no way match up to the original song.

    I guess they could have even used the songs from the original version of the drama...but knowing TVB they wouldn't do that. For Triumph in the Skies II they even used Eason Chen's original theme songs in promotes only to shove down a new song in the actual opening. But ehh...the drama itself isn't that appetizing thus far and got put in one of the least-watched slots of the year...so maybe the Voice Ent. songs will end up matching that quality? Who knows. TVB probably just wants to get it out of the warehouse.

    Thank you for the comment though no matter what! =)

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Ah Tao: You're very welcome and thank you for the appreciation! I'm always happy to share on topics of relevance whenever I can! :0)

    You bring up a good point about using the original songs but having new singers sing them (which is most likely the path that TVB would've taken if they did use the original songs -- it's in line with TVB's usual tactics). I actually would've been even more pissed if that happened, since no doubt the singers would butcher the songs. At he end of the day, the best solution would've been for TVB to not do the remake period, lol.

    Omg, don't get me started on that Triumph II theme song debacle. Shame on TVB for trying to pull a fast one on audiences with the "theme song switcheroo" that they did -- it was yet another example of how much TVB disrespects their audiences and doesn't give a crap about how we feel. But what made me especially ticked in that instance was how TVB once again made innocent people their scapegoats, as veteran singer George Lam (who sang the new theme song) as well as songwriter Cheng Kwok Kong (who penned the lyrics) ended up bearing the brunt of audience's wrath towards the theme song being switched out. I remember at that time reading alot of comments from younger audiences and fans of the first Triumph who had no clue who George Lam was anyway (not surprising of course) so they had no qualms about taking out their anger on him instead of on the true "culprit" TVB!

    I honestly haven't come across a single theme song I've liked from any of the Voice singers except for maybe Hubert Wu, whose singing I've liked since his competition days (to this day, I still feel he should've won that year's Voice competition instead of Mag Lam -- he was absolutely robbed in my opinion). I guess I should just be glad that Jinny Ng is out of the picture now with her marriage and pregnancy (was sick and tired of hearing her sing the theme/sub-theme song to like every other TVB series, lol).

    In terms of the remake itself -- I did watch the first episode and will honestly say that if the remake succeeds, it will absolutely be the credit of the veterans such as Lee Kwok Lun, Ching Hor Wai, Henry Lo Chun Shun, etc. -- they were absolutely brilliant in the first episode (Lee Kwok Lun especially -- always love his acting!!!) and kept me laughing almost the entire time. Since I'm not fond of Kenneth's or Niki's acting (or Benjamin or Mandy's for that matter), I'm pretty sure I will drop this series the minute it starts switching focus to their storylines (which technically already started with episode 2, so I already started not paying much attention anymore).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. You're very welcome. =) It's just so all or nothing, hey? Either just make original scripts or put your full heart into remaking older dramas. Yeah, I don't think remastering the old songs would do it justice either.

      People just love attributing things to the easiest target. I agree with you, I don't know much about George Lam but I didn't think his execution of the song was bad nor the song itself. If it was for any other non-sequel or remake drama it would be fairly respected because it was a very stable execution. It grew on me after a while because it was a very passionate song and I liked the vocal power from George Lam singers these days don't offer. It was as if TVB set the audience up to hate the song by putting such an obvious comparision out there...they could have saved on costs and a debate if they just played Easons song. But that's just TVB these days trying to keep up its superior image. Just look at Under the Veil, which is another remake, with the crappy 80s CGI. They could have just saved the money. Sigh.

      I'm so glad Jinny is out of the picture. Her 'recording room' singing isn't bad but when she does it live, she's so shaky and unstable and on a totally different pitch just so it's easier for her. Even her performances on Jade Solid Gold are like that and you'd think TVB would try to cover that up. Hubert is very stable and you can tell he sings from the diaphragm and doesn't strain his throat to belt out the notes. I've really come to appreciate that after hearing his duet with Alfred for Eye in the Sky... Alfreds singing just bugs me and I feel bad for his throat. His notes are stuck at the top of it. Sigh again.

      I'm also happy though they are going back to having the main cast sing the songs, as long as it's someone who can actually sing or were once professional singers. I'd rather hear more of Vincent or Edwin or Ruco for example. It's funny how ten years ago we hated this trend so much but we've gotten an even worse system with the Voice entertainment. How times change and how it can get even worse.

      Lastly but surely, the veterans totally do dramas justice! They have such diverse acting ranges and while I cringed at the storyline, their executions were definitely well-done. Kenneth is just so cringeworthy in this drama and continuing down the road of playing roles with no apparent intelligence like in Inspector Gourmet. I find Mandy pretty stable even though her acting and character mannerism can be a little systematic and not flexible. But the same goes to nearly everyone these days. The audience isn't dumb, TVB. They want more intelligent characters and more intricate storylines. Too bad HKTV didn't succeed because they knew TVB dramas can be far too shallow for the audience. Sigh sigh.

      Can we just became executives at TVB and implement some changes? LOL

      Delete
  4. @Ah Tao: Totally agree! I really wish HK had laws against false advertising like we do here in the U.S. – if they did, TVB would’ve gotten their arses sued off big time, since the “stunt” they pulled with the Triumph II theme song issue (using the old theme song in the promo sequences but then dropping a new theme song on audiences when the series actually aired) definitely amounts to false advertising. Not to mention TVB would’ve gotten in trouble time and time again for their stupid sales presentation show thing which rarely ever represents what the series end up being, especially in terms of the cast. But I guess since the industry is not really regulated and even if laws exist they are probably not strictly enforced (which is obvious from the ATV debacle – I mean, how can a TV station get away with not paying their employees for 6 months straight and pretty much suffer zero repercussions except get their broadcasting license taken away???), plus the fact that TVB has virtually no competition and still holds a monopoly on the industry, they are able to get away with doing whatever the hell they want over and over again….

    Yea, unfortunately the Voice Entertainment singers seem to be worse than the series’ cast singing the theme songs – with that said though, I actually don’t like either system and would of course prefer to go back to the way it was in the old days when actual professional singers (meaning those who are signed to actual record labels and actually released albums) were hired to sing the theme songs (or in some cases, even write the songs). But it looks like that will never happen now given how badly TVB has severed its relationship with most of the big record companies in recent years. Both the record companies and TVB had barely recovered from the severe aftermath of the royalty issue from 2009 when TVB made the bonehead decision last year/year before to let Sandy Yu’s husband (former Stars Shine CEO and now Voice Entertainment’s CEO) Herman Ho take over TVB’s entire music department. Herman basically gave the middle finger to the big record labels that were previously at odds with them, so now those record labels (especially Universal, who has stood the firmest against TVB the past few years) are essentially taking the “screw you TVB” attitude. I know Universal has pretty much cut TVB out of the picture entirely, preferring to work with ViuTV and giving them many “exclusives” related to their artists (i.e. debuting the MV for Eason Chan’s new song exclusively on ViuTV, having veterans like Alan Tam host talk shows for them, and most recent instance was giving ViuTV exclusive coverage of Jacky Cheung’s concert tour).

    LOL…don’t get me started on HKTV (literally because after ‘following’ HKTV and the license issue for the past 4 years or so, I have a lot to say about them and won’t be able to shut up…)

    Haha…interestingly enough, I’ve been asked several times before, with all the (constructive) criticism I’ve been throwing at TVB the past few years, why don’t I just get a job over there and actually make things right? My response has always been: 1) TVB won’t want me in any position of authority over there because the first thing I would do if I were an exec is “clean house” and fire all the current management…let’s just say that a lot of people would be out of jobs – and not just management ranks either, and 2) sorry, but I consider TVB as being way beneath me nowadays and not worth my time to even try turning them around – they are beyond salvageable and it would be a huge waste of time on my part (plus with how cheap they are, they would never be able to pay me enough to get me to do anything for them, lol).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey llwy12! Sorry for the late reply, we have been working on some more posts coming up. Definitely agree about the false advertisement! They always change up the cast and the scenes they show aren't even in the drama. I would say that Law Disorder mislead us a little bit because we thought there would be more court scenes from the trailer. This year's Sales Presentation was also a joke! Why have a trailer on Heart and Greed in the first place if it's going to be so silly! It looks stupid because they were fighting and looking scared like oh my! Serial killer alert in some fake HK Cafe.

    The monopoly is not doing HK TV any good and now ATV is gone too! Why not take measures to help out and promote ATV in the first place so the station could go on and not just claim bankruptcy and not pay their workers. There should be something in place to build and diversify the TV scene in HK. All we are seeing is TVB making more channels and stuff, like myTVSuper! Heck we were watching the Sales Presentation and they talked about this 'business/informative' channel called J5 or whatever. As if TVB Jade and Pearl and J2 and whatever else they have isn't enough to DOMINATE HK TV! J5! What a joke... The content looked very boring and even J2 showed nothing that appealed to younger generations. They're like, we are gonna air new kdramas (the ones they air after two months of the original broadcast because they need to buy it and dub it)! Whatever, enough of this rant!

    Voice. Entertainment. Wow. With Jinny gone at the awards, the big four couldn't even snatch an award? Luck is not on their side haha even though they churn out songs like no tomorrow that contain no meaning. Hopefully one day they either have a huge remake and change the entire face of music production there or just FOLD and go out of business. But let's be real, neither will happen.

    That is a true and funny comment about working at TVB. We will just treat it as entertainment while having good rants out of it!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Dead Wrong 致命復活 TVB Review

Burning Hands 乘勝狙擊 TVB Review

Over Run Over EU超時任務 TVB Review