Lukas Graham & 汪峰: Artistic Parallels
Last night at home, I heard Chinese singer 汪峰’s hit song from 2017, titled ‘那年我五岁’ (That year when I was five), and surprisingly, I found that the lyrics and even the music video parallels the song ‘7 Years’ from Danish band Lukas Graham. After scrolling through the Internet, I have yet to find anyone else juxtaposing these two songs; henceforth, here’s my take:
‘7 Years’ is a single from Lukas Graham’s second studio album, released on September 15, 2015. It topped at #2 at Billboard Hot 100, and was nominated for three Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. ‘那年我五岁’ is 汪峰’s latest single, released on October 12, 2017. 汪峰 actually took a 5 month break from performances and concerts to concentrate and work on this song. It is a very long song, clocking in at 10 minutes 45 seconds.
‘7 Years’ starts with the following chorus:
Once I was 7 years old my momma told me Go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely Once I was 7 years old...
‘那年我五岁’ has the following starting chorus:
那年我五岁 爸爸对我说 (That year I was five, my daddy told me) 学一点东西 否则你会一事无成 (Learn something, or you will be nothing) 那年我五岁… (That year I was five...)
The same pattern repeats as the song progresses; while Lukas Graham sings about turning 11, 20, 30, 60…汪峰 sings in increments of 5s: 5, 10, 15, 25, 35, 45, 70. It was interesting to note that Lukas Graham starts with ‘momma’, while 汪峰 starts with ‘daddy’ (they both alternate between mother and father in their chorus throughout the song).
One more parallel in the chorus worth noting: Lukas Graham sings about the father’s advice on marriage:
Once I was 11 years old my daddy told me Go get yourself a wife or you’ll be lonely Once I was 11 years old
Similarly, 汪峰 sings about the mother’s advice on marriage:
那年我二十五岁 妈妈对我说 (That year I was 25, my momma told me) 成个家吧 总是这样 你会空虚难过 (Get married, or else you’ll be sad) 那年我二十五岁... (That year I was 25...)
But wait… there’s more! Check out these two verses from the two respective songs:
By eleven smoking herb and drinking burning liquor Never rich so we were out to make that steady figure
十年后我成了个大孩子 (10 years later I become a big boy) 变得忧郁敏感沉默寡言 (I’ve become melancholic and dumb) 我在厕所里学会了抽烟 (I learned how to smoke in the bathroom)
Both these songs are very personal for their respective artists: 汪峰 is singing from his own perspective, and Lukas Graham’s frontman Lukas Forchhammer described ‘7 Years’ as a song about his life so far and what he hopes to achieve in the future.
Both music videos are shot in black and white, perhaps to convey the melancholic feeling of the song. 汪峰’s is significantly longer, clocking in at 11 minutes 4 seconds, while Lukas Graham’s finished in just under 4 minutes.
I like 汪峰’s music. I also like Lukas Graham’s music. While I don’t know if 汪峰 was inspired by ‘7 Years’ to make ‘那年我五岁’, I am pleased to see both artists conveying feelings of nostalgia, melancholy, and hope in different styles, languages, and cultures.
Fans of Lukas Graham may never have listened to 汪峰’s songs before, and vice versa. Hopefully this article can serve as a connection between the two, allowing for both sides to appreciate new music from different parts of the world.