Blast from the Past #136: Heroes of The Earth

~Written by Terri :-}, Managing Editor

Not enough is being said about the talented R&B/Hip-Hop/Classical/Pop artist Leehom Wang these days. So, I thought I’d take a moment to remind everyone that he’s still out there working hard for the world of music (and for the world, in general, actually) in a multitude of ways.

You don’t know of him, you say?  Sadly, that question will likely be asked by most of you reading this blog—even though most of us would consider ourselves to be extremely educated on the Asian music front.  For those of you who don’t know, Leehom Wang is another one of those brilliant artists who was American-born and yet who is completely underexposed and underrated here in the U.S.  Why?  Well, frankly, it’s because he is Asian-American.  After all, don’t most Asian-American artists feel compelled to live and work at least during part of, if not all of, their careers in Asia, because there’s more work for them there than here in the United States.  Let me go ahead and answer that.  Yes.  Yes, they do.

To me that is a travesty and something that needs to be remedied.  The problem is I have a terrible feeling that nothing is going to change on that front—at least not in my lifetime.  That my doubts are accurate can be evidenced by things like this past week’s ESPN Jeremy Lin blunder and Jenny Hyun’s scathingly racist Twitter rant.  Add those incidences to the following facts…

…and it is pretty clear that the trajectory is not headed up.  Sigh.  :-{

But we all do what we can do in the sphere of our own influence, right?  Hence this post.

Back in 2005, Leehom released an album entitled Heroes of the Earth (蓋世英雄). On that album was a little ditty called 完美的互動 The Perfect Interaction [Wan Mei De Hu Dong], which featured two more popular Asian artists of the time.  Their names were Ji-Hoon Jung (Rain) and Jeong-Hee Lim.

Heroes of the Earth was an important and intellectual work.  In 2004, Wang traveled across China and into the remotest of villages to collect rare, tribal sounds of aboriginal Chinese, Tibetan, and Mongolian music.  He then went back to his studio and incorporated these sounds into the R&B and hip-hop music he was working on at the time.

He ultimately coined the style of music he had created as “chinked-out” music, hoping to embrace the once derogatory term “chink” and “make it cool.” (CNN’s Talk Asia Interview).  I’m not sure if he was successful with the phrase.  Probably not.  However, his albums were another story altogether.

The first album to incorporate “chinked-out” music was Wang’s album, Shangri-La ((心中的日月), which he released in December, 2004.  Within ten days of its release, 40,000 copies of the album had been sold.  Ultimately, Shangri-La sold over 2,000,000 copies.

Heroes of the Earth, continuing the trend, was released in December, 2005.  Today, Heroes of the Earth is listed as Wang’s best selling album, with over 3,000,000 units sold.  Both albums, Shangri-La and Heroes of the Earth, were critically acclaimed, and led to Wang’s winning several awards, including the Golden Melody Awards’ coveted Best Male Mandarin Artist Award (2005 & 2006).

At the time of Heroes of the Earth’s release, Rain’s career was only three years old.  Leehom, on the other hand was already an industry professional and an international star;  Heroes of the Earth was his 11th album.  I imagine that Rain felt quite honored to be featured in a song on one of Leehom’s albums.  Another bit of trivia:  this was Rain’s first Chinese song.

Below is the music video of that song, The Perfect Interaction.  You will note that Rain doesn’t appear in the video, even though he is singing in the song.  That is because, at the time, Rain was a really busy guy, and there were scheduling conflicts with the shooting of the music video that simply could not be resolved.  It wasn’t because he didn’t want to be in it.  Just so you know.  It’s just that he couldn’t.  So, he recorded his part later.  :-}

[Video credit: on YouTube]

I have tried like heck to find an English translation of this song, but one does not appear to exist.  If anyone has a good English translation of this song, please send it our way.

Wishing you many Rainy days,

Terri :-}

P.S.  Another interesting tidbit related to Rain and Leehom Wang:  Remember that 2008 Olympics Closing Ceremony, where Rain made a surprise appearance to sing with a group of young artists?  Well, guess who was one of those artists?  You got it, Leehom Wang.

As an added treat, I also recommend you head over to Leehom’s official website and his latest music video.  The song is called “Open Fire.  You can watch it by clicking the following link:  Leehom Wang’s Open Fire.

In light of the unbelievable racist crap going on lately, I think you’ll find it entertaining.  I know I did.  :-}  (I wanted to say something else besides crap here, but I’m trying to keep this blog as PG-13 as I can, okay?)

Just so you’ll know, Leehom doesn’t like to simply make “pop music.”  Instead, he works hard to make music that is meaningful to him, music that he hopes will make people want to change the world around them.  Some people don’t like his music, because they think he is a little heavy-handed, a little too “on-the-nose.”  Others like the honesty of it.  I think that his living all of his young life in the U.S.A. and then moving to Asia and writing his music in Chinese is what has created some of the juxtapositions in his music myself, but that’s just me.  I find his music extremely interesting.  You, however, can decide for yourself.

By the way, the phrase “open fire” in Chinese can apparently also be translated as “full blast,” which is why the translator below translated the phrase in the song that way–because it fit better in the lyrics.  I have a feeling that Leehom may have meant the phrase to be used both ways in the song, somehow.  For example, the end of the chorus of the song could have been translated like this:

This battle is going full blast,
Full blast, full blast,
open fire…fire.

But I guess we’ll never know exactly what he meant unless he tells us, because there is no “official” English translation to be found anywhere.  In the meantime, please do enjoy the video.

Open Fire
by Leehom Wang

(Let’s overthrow) the imperialism.
(Let’s) not agree to be slaves any more.
The main gate of my house is invaded.

Lady Gaga, you say?
I say, why should I fear her?
Oh oh oh oh oh oh.
Don’t bow to those women.

Culture is a weapon
Buried in every nerve
And awakened by a performance of drums.

Never allow failure;
There’s no need to wait for success,
Because Music Man (Wang Leehom) is here.

Suddenly the whole world is shaking.
The rhythm and music invade our blood vessels.
This battle is going full blast,
Full blast, full blast,
full blast.


So many accusations
Of an Asian invasion.
Here they come a pointin’ fingers at me,
Preyin’ on a mass emotion,
Stirrin’ up a big commotion,
trying to assign responsibilities.

Gonna stop this negativity.
Turn it into positivity with integrity,
Givin’ all of me,
For all to see.
This fight for equality,
But even if they blame us,
Try to frame us, nobody can shame us.
I’mma gonna sing this next verse in Chinese

Suddenly the whole world is shaking.
The rhythm and music invade our blood vessels.
This battle is going full blast
Full blast, full blast,
Full blast.

~translation by sayhitoforever,

~Written by :-}

~ by Cloud USA on February 22, 2012.

5 Responses to “Blast from the Past #136: Heroes of The Earth”

  1. I remeber this song. It’s been a good min. sents I’ve heard it.


  2. Yea, I have that song as part of my collection. Soon as I heard Rain’s voice in it, I had to have it. The song rolls and I like the video too. So glad to know who this guy is, very cool. Thanks


  3. OMG I love this song!!!! Thanks Terry for giving me the “behind the scenes” of it. I always wondered why Rain wasn’t in the video! Also, I was curious about that young man, his beautiful voice and his perfect english pronunciation! Now I know! BTW he’s so handsome! 😀


  4. Yes…I remember when RAIN was preparing for the 2008 Olympics ceremony & had these preparations recorded for some of his ‘RAINY DAY’ episodes. I remember when he arrived in Beijing, he had his “do,” down on his forehead and longer length and before the ceremony, changed his hair to flipped up from his forehead and cut shorter….lol…


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