Songs for the Shanghai Laowai Love Affair Part 2: Sweet Candy

Posted on May 14, 2012


Old Love in New Shanghai  foto@me

A continuation of my observations of some Shanghai Laowai 老外 Love Affairs. Part 1 in previous post.

Part 2 here deals with (somewhat) happier engagements.

(Disclaimer [1]: If your relationship isn’t described here, please do not hesitate to keep it to yourself. I could not give less of a shit.)

(Disclaimed [2]: Any resemblance to persons living or dead is quite certainly intentional, although I will deny it to my grave.)


4. The Long Distance

Everyone takes romantic walks except you foto@me

It sucks.

–  V.K., C.J., H.S., C.W., C.R., R.D., K.C. at everywhere

Jessie Baylin “Hurry Hurry”



To wit:

I’m in your city and you’re nowhere near me
I’m surrounded by the words you told me
Things you love
, things you love

I’m in the middle of your favorite grocery
I’m walking down the street you showed me
Things you love, things you love

What is it all without you
What is it all without you
Oh hurry hurry home my baby
Hurry hurry home my love
Hurry hurry home my baby

and etc.

To balance off the maudlin but undeniably sweet sentiments of the song, I will note that long distance relationships in this City of Expats are as common as gobs of spit that dot the pavement. As I type this, legions of lonely hearts are busying Skype-ing, sexting, wanking, moping, what’s app-ing and generally filling the ether with professions of yearning and/or resentful queries about who exactly that chick/dude in your Facebook photo is.

I didn’t link to the original mv cos it’s boring as can be – Jessie Baylin has a gorgeous, unique voice but seriously, “Jessie’s people”, she’s not the most photogenic and would it have killed you to do a storyboard? Anyway, if you wanna – here.

This song was also used in this really cute short film made for Pret-A-Surf. Click through, you will like it. It has a beach, a stunning babe, super cute beachwear and an adorable narrative.


Beach House “Myth”



Only because of that one line: “HELP ME TO MAKE IT, HELP ME TO MAKE IT…”


5. The Friendly

City of Super Chill foto@me

I’d love to have brunch with you! Just need to get this guy out of my bed first.

– H.P., to her so-called “favourite boyfriend”, at home

Aerosmith “Crazy”



For those who have few expectations, life can be as awesome, heartmelting and sexy as the song and mv here. Short-term relationships – FWB, open arrangements, temporary arrangements and such – abound in this transient city, a precious firefly-flicker that dies away when one (or more) partner moves on, leaving sweetness and happy memories. Indeed, many will look back on their era in Shanghai as one of the best times of their lives. “Crazy”, featuring a gloriously radiant Alicia Silverstone of her Clueless era and a luminously youthful Liv Tyler, is almost painful in its bittersweet beauty, its paean to the too-quickly passing loveliness of youth and love. Many thanks to Steve Tyler and his decrepit gang for interpersing footage of the girls with their gnarly, sweaty selves. Let’s try not to think about how creepy it is to feature your own daughter in something that looks like the opening scene of a softcore lesbo flick. 

In the same vein:

Peter & Gordon “I Go to Pieces”



For all you puppy-eyed lovers out there.


5. The Lucky

The first time I saw you, you refused to talk to me! You didn’t even look at me!

Yes, because you were with your friggin girlfriend.

– K.L. and J.M., to be married in Fall, at Kaiba

The Perishers “Nothing Like You and I”



Despite the city’s reputation for being a festering, polluted dog-rip-out-dog-throat world, there are actually many places to “spend some time together” in Shanghai. It can be really lovely, and full of charming nooks and crannies in which full-blown lurve can be conducted. Against several odds, many people do meet their Ones here. Somewhere, somehow, in the gritty, greedy depths of this city, there is love and innocence and hope and sweetness.

Of love, sweetness and all those disgusting Hallmarky things:

The Explorers Club “Don’t Forget the Sun”



A young band with an old sound. The Beach Boys-inspired Explorers Club makes top-notch pop rock and right now, where there is tons of rain when there should be sun, any sun-themed tunes get my vote immediately.

Strangely enough, as I was doing research for this post, I came across quite the collection of breakup songs. You guys! Does love not conquer all? No? Ok, then, stay tuned for the soundtrack to your goodbyes.