Review: “Xiao Wang” by Mao Buyi is The Song For The Time Wanderers

Lyricist: Mao Buyi
Composer: Mao Buyi
Arranger: Hu Botao, 韦伟Oldbanana, Zheng Nan

“Xiao Wang” @Spotify
Full Album “Xiao Wang” @Spotify


Live performance at “I’m Singer – Songwriter 1”

Lyrics

Verse 1:
shì nà qīng fǔ pí bèi lún kuò de wǎn fēng ā
是那轻抚疲惫轮廓的晚风啊
It was the evening breeze that caressed the weary silhouette


shì nà cáng zhe liàn liàn ér yǔ de huáng hūn ā
是那藏着恋恋耳语的黄昏啊
It was the dusk that concealed nostalgic whispers

shì nà mǎn huái lí qíng yī yī de yī xiù ā
是那满怀离情依依的衣袖啊
It was the sleeves full of reluctance to leave

shì nà zǒu sàn hòu zài méi xiāng yù de rén ā
是那走散后再没相遇的人啊
It was the one who wouldn’t meet again after parting ways

Verse 2:
ràng tā óu ěr tíng xià chén zhòng de jiǎo bù ā
让他偶尔停下沉重的脚步啊
Let him pause the heavy footsteps once in a while

ràng tā duǎn zàn xiǎng qǐ wǎng rì de wēn cún ā
让他短暂想起往日的温存啊
Let him reminisce about the tenderness of the past for a moment

ràng tā yǎn hán lèi guāng bù gǎn zài juàn liàn ā
让他眼含泪光不敢再眷恋啊
Let his eyes fill with tears, no longer dare to emotionally attach to the past

ràng tā yǎn hán lèi guāng bù gǎn zài juàn liàn ā
让他在岁月深处流浪啊
Let him wander in the abyss of time

Chorus 1:
rú guǒ wǒ zài jiǎo luò lǐ yù jiàn tā
如果我在角落里遇见他
If I met him in the corner

pèng qiǎo yǒu fēng chuī luàn tā de tóu fa
碰巧有风吹乱他的头发
When a wind happened to ruffle his hair

wǒ huì màn màn kào jìn gěi tā jiān bǎng
我会慢慢靠近给他肩膀
I would slowly move closer to lend him my shoulder

fēn dān tā yí lù chóng chóng de jué wàng
分担他一路重重的绝望
Would sympathize with his despair

Chorus 2:
rú guǒ wǒ zài jiǎo luò lǐ yù jiàn tā
如果我在角落里遇见他
If I met him in the corner

pèng qiǎo yǒu wū yún zhē zhù tiān kōng ā
碰巧有乌云遮住天空啊
When dark clouds happened to cover the sky

wǒ huì shēn chū hái wēn rè de shóu zhǎng
我会伸出还温热的手掌
I would give him my warm hands

gào su tā míng tiān huì yǒu duō qíng lǎng
告诉他明天会有多晴朗
Would tell him about a bright tomorrow

Verse 3:
yé xǔ tā de jiǎo bù záo yǐ bù gǎn tíng xià
也许他的脚步早已不敢停下
Maybe his footsteps have long been afraid to stop

yé xǔ nà xiē wēn cún tā záo yǐ wàng jì ā
也许那些温存他早已忘记啊
Maybe he has forgotten that tenderness long ago

yé xǔ tā de juàn liàn bú huì zài tí qǐ le
也许他的眷恋不会再提起了
Maybe his emotional attachment will never be mentioned again

ràng tā zài suì yuè shēn chù liú làng ā
也许他早已习惯了流浪啊
Maybe he has long been used to wandering

Chorus 1:
rú guǒ wǒ zài jiǎo luò lǐ yù jiàn tā
如果我在角落里遇见他
If I met him in the corner

pèng qiǎo yǒu fēng chuī luàn tā de tóu fa
碰巧有风吹乱他的头发
When a wind happened to ruffle his hair

wǒ huì màn màn kào jìn gěi tā jiān bǎng
我会慢慢靠近给他肩膀
I would slowly move closer to lend him my shoulder

fēn dān tā yí lù chóng chóng de jué wàng
分担他一路重重的绝望
Would sympathize with his despair

Chorus 2:
rú guǒ wǒ zài jiǎo luò lǐ yù jiàn tā
如果我在角落里遇见他
If I met him in the corner

pèng qiǎo yǒu wū yún zhē zhù tiān kōng ā
碰巧有乌云遮住天空啊
When dark clouds happened to cover the sky

wǒ huì shēn chū hái wēn rè de shóu zhǎng
我会伸出还温热的手掌
I would give him my warm hands

gào su tā míng tiān huì yǒu duō qíng lǎng
告诉他明天会有多晴朗
Would tell him about a bright tomorrow


Review

“Xiao Wang” is the title song from Mao Buyi’s album of the same name which was released in 2020. Mao Buyi’s real name is Wang Weijia (王维家), which explains why “Xiao Wang” or “Little Wang” refers to Mao Buyi himself in the past.

Live performance at “CHUANG 2020” (Follows the audio version)

The song follows AABBABB (A = Verse, B = Chorus) structure with all the parts slowly and calmly flow throughout the story. The song was first sung in the first season of “I am a Singer-Songwriter,” which is also my most favorite version of the song. The audio version (and later live stages) keeps the prelude as well as the delicate and gentle feeling deriving from the pure and slow piano sound of the original version. While the cantata (a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment) is especially added to the last choruses to emphasize the emotion of the whole song, it somewhat crushes the fragile and lonely vibes the original song gives out. 

Mao’s lyrics are not flowery or artificial, they’re natural and simple like daily stories yet still poetic and not embarrassing. Notably, “Xiao Wang”’s verse 2 and verse 3 create 4 pairs of vivid images. While the images in verse 2 describe his reluctance and attachment to the past, those in verse 3 show how his emotions have been calm and thorough, like healed wounds leaving scars in his heart. He has accepted his past and his present. 

“Let him pause the heavy footsteps once in a while” vs. “Maybe his footsteps have long been afraid to stop”

“Let him reminisce about the tenderness of the past for a moment” vs. “Maybe he has forgotten that tenderness long ago”

“Let his eyes fill with tears, no longer dare to emotionally attach to the past” vs. “Maybe his emotional attachment will never be mentioned again”

“Let him wander in the abyss of time” vs. “Maybe he has long been used to wandering”

“Xiao Wang” is an encounter between Mao Buyi and Wang Weijia, his younger self in the past, somewhere in the stream of time. More than anyone else, he misses his young self and sympathizes with his own despair. If he could meet the young Wang Weijia, he would lend him a shoulder and a warm hand. The present Mao Buyi has survived the rough time, yet he has learned it the hard way. He wishes he could tell himself in the past about a bright tomorrow, so the experience wouldn’t be that painful. 

His story hits me right in the feels. I went through a period of time when my low self-esteem continued to gnaw at me. I survived though. Yet whenever thinking about it, I never stop feeling sorry for my past self and I wish I could do something to encourage her. Now it’s also a motivation for the present me to hold on so my future self can thank me later. 

Mao Buyi’s songs are not for those kinds of hot and explosive performances. He just stands quietly with no extra movements, immerses himself in the singing, and tells the story with his whole heart. His baritone voice is usually underrated as it doesn’t hit the climax high notes, yet it sounds undeniably suitable for his slow, storytelling songs. He has a unique tranquil sound that audibly draws a beautiful and vivid picture in front of your eyes.

“Xiao Wang” by Mao Buyi is undoubtedly one of my most favorite pieces of music in recent years. 


Sip Of Tea

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