Resorting to music as a means to learn a new language is refreshing and effective. If you wish to learn a language like Mandarin, you ought to listen to Chinese songs. Understanding the meaning of these songs will help you identify the subtle nuances of the language with greater ease.
Mandarin is the official language of China, Taiwan, and Singapore. About 70 to 80% of the population in these countries speak Mandarin. If you know the language, you will have a better insight into the history and culture of these countries.
In this post, we will discuss the importance of learning from Chinese songs as part of your Mandarin studies curriculum and provide a list of 60 Chinese songs to learn from.
Introduction to some renowned Chinese songs everyone knows
Just like in all cultures, Chinese songs are an important part of Chinese life. They are not only entertaining but reflect on deep aspects of life. Thereby, making them both relevant to your studies and enriching at the same time.
Making a conscious decision to listen to these songs as part of your study routine will help you in the long run. When you start appreciating the meaning of these Chinese songs, you gain a lot of insight into Chinese culture. It also lets you have fulfilling and interesting conversations with fellow musicians and pop culture enthusiasts in China.
Why learning about Chinese songs can help you in learning Mandarin Chinese
Once you are able to understand some of the Chinese songs in the list, you will be able to identify and use Mandarin words more accurately. Listening to these songs will boost your Mandarin vocabulary and also give you a glimpse of China’s entertainment industry.
Most of these songs have a lot of emotional depth. There are words that add a lot of value to the song and convey the essence of the verses beautifully. If you familiarize yourself with such words, it will be a huge step-up in your journey.
The exercise of going through the songs will augment your language skills and encourage you to feel more confident and zealous at social gatherings.
How to say “song” in Mandarin Chinese?
The word for “song” in Mandarin Chinese is “歌曲 (gē qǔ)”. It’s a combination of two characters, “歌 (gē)” means song and “曲 (qǔ)” means music. This word is commonly used to refer to songs in Mandarin Chinese. However, in a more colloquial way, it is also often simplified as just “歌 (gē)” which means song alone.
List of 60 Chinese songs
Here’s a list of 60 best Chinese songs that will help you learn Mandarin faster.
Ying chun hua -Zhuo Yi-ting (迎春花-卓依婷 , yíng chūn huā – zhuó yī tíng)
This lovely song was released in the year 2010. Sung by Zhuo Yi Ting, the song has a cheery vibe to it and speaks about the great unseen opportunities that the new year has to offer. The song is till date used to wish ‘Happy New Year’ to near and dear ones.
Medley – George Lam (财神到-林子祥 , cái shén dào – lín zǐ xiáng)
Feeling down? This song will lift your spirits in no time. The peppy beats and the interesting lyrics offer you hope and excitement for the new year. The song is also one of the most popular songs by the artist named George Lam. It is also a great choice for retro-themed new year parties with family and friends.
Wishing you wealth and prosperity – Andy Lau (恭喜你发财-刘德华 , gōng xǐ nǐ fā cái – liú dé huá)
This song by Andy Lau was released in January 2005. It is one of the most preferred songs during new year celebrations. The pompous start will make you dream of dragons and beautiful Chinese lanterns. The song is a great mood uplifter.
I remember – Zhao lei (我记得-赵雷 , wǒ jì dé – zhào léi)
This beautiful song expresses the author’s nostalgia for the deceased and the people that were present in his past. He reminisces about the time he had spent with his late mother and continues to yearn for his mother’s love.
Lotus Blue – Xu Wei (蓝莲花-许巍 , lán lián huā – xǔ wēi)
The original composition was written by Xu Wei to express his love and admiration for the monk – Venerable Xuan Zang of the Tang Dynasty. The song has a soft rock style and no loud tunes. However, it is a mass favorite and has given hope and strength to countless people.
You’re Not Really Happy – Mayday (你不是真正的快乐-五月天 , nǐ bú shì zhēn zhèng de kuài lè – wǔ yuè tiān)
“You’re Not Really Happy” is a sentimental piece. The younger generation has been able to relate with it quite profoundly. It describes a person who, after a short period of happiness, will fall into an endless pit of emptiness and anxiety. This is because the main character in the song has had overwhelming experiences such as falling in love, family issues, and hurdles in career.
Nan Shan Nan – Ma Di (南山南-马頔 , nán shān nán – mǎ dí)
The song has a sad undertone. It is written for a beloved who for some reason is apart. Nature-themed metaphors make the lyrics soothing to the ears. It was released on September 26, 2014 and won the “Most Popular Song” award.
A prose poem written by my father – Xu Fei (父亲写的散文诗-许飞 , fù qīn xiě de sàn wén shī – xǔ fēi)
Singer Xu Fei dedicated this song to his father. Through this song, he thanks his father for his unending support through thick and thin. He also mentions how his father never complained about anything and continued to back him without any expectations. The song ideally represents an ordinary Chinese father’s selfless love for his children.
Love – The Little Tigers (爱-小虎队 , ài – xiǎo hǔ duì)
The song was released on 1st August, 1991. The song is a timeless masterpiece and was composed to promote love and acceptance towards the deaf and mute. The song won the ‘Taiwan’s most popular Song’ award in the same year.
Butterfly Fly Away – The Little Tigers (蝴蝶飞呀-小虎队 , hú dié fēi ya – xiǎo hǔ duì)
‘Butterfly fly away’ by The Little Tigers expresses a teenager’s longing for true love and a promising career. The song is one of the most beautiful compositions by the band and will make you nostalgic in no time.
Hello Zhengzhou – Li Zhi (关于郑州的记忆-李志 , guān yú zhèng zhōu de jì yì -lǐ zhì)
Zhengzhou is the name of a girl Li Zhi once fell in love with. For some reason, the love never culminated. Through this song, he reminisces the good old days of being in love followed by the helplessness he had to go through upon its loss.
Accompany you through the long years – Eason Chan (陪你走过漫长岁月-陈奕迅 , péi nǐ zǒu guò màn zhǎng suì yuè -chén yì xùn)
“Stay with you through the long years” is the theme song of the movie “Stay with Anthony through the long years”. The lyrics are written by Ge Dawei, and the music is composed by Li Xiaoyang and Xie Guowei. The song has lovely notes and lyrics that will emotionally charge you. It was arranged by C.Y.Kong (Jiang Zhiren), and sung by Hong Kong male pop singer Eason Chan.
In this world there are crowds of people – Karen Mok (这世界有那么多人-莫文蔚,zhè shì jiè yǒu nà me duō rén – mò wén wèi)
This song is sung by Karen Mok. It is high on emotions and beautifully depicts the sad regrets of being in love. The song has a delicate touch to it. Karen Mok also thanks his love and remembers the moments that were spent in the past. The listener will appreciate what they have when it comes to loving someone and feel the joy of the same.
Bright – Zhou Shen (光亮-周深 , guāng liàng – zhōu shēn)
Sung by Zhou Shen and composed by Qian Lei, ‘Bright’ is a song that talks about the various folds of life. The song embodies the unyielding spirit of the Chinese nation in the face of adversity and talks about the courageous attitude of the Chinese people in the face of difficulties and the unknown.
A Lifelong Journey – Lei Jia (人世间-雷佳 ,rén shì jiān – léi jiā)
The song talks about how a child grows up like a flower bud and learns to love the people around it. It advises us to love passionately and live life to the fullest. The soothing tunes will give you hope for a better future.
Little love song – Sodagreen (小情歌-苏打绿 , xiǎo qíng gē – sū dǎ lǜ)
The simple yet heart-warming love song is a must-have for your playlist. The lyrics have a beautiful flow to them and express the tiny joys of being in love. The singer has sung about pure love and romantic feelings that young people feel when they are in love.
A Diao – Zhao Lei (阿刁-赵雷 , ā diāo – zhào léi)
A Diao, this song was written and sung by Zhao Lei in 2016. It tells the story of A Diao, a girl who operated an inn in Tibet in the year 2000. When Zhao traveled to Tibet in 2000, A Diao was very kind to Zhao, just like an elder sister. The business of the inn was not good at that time and A Diao was in an unhappy relationship. At the same time, the singer also wishes his future as a singer to be smoother and broader and wishes himself to be strong and brave in the face of the future.
Anhe Bridge – Song Dong Ye (安河桥-宋冬野 ,ān hé qiáo – sòng dōng yě)
“Anhe Bridge” is a sad song. The singer Song Dong Ye, through this song, talks about the memories of the demolition of many rural buildings during the process of urbanization. The song scathingly reveals the helplessness felt by the villagers towards the impetuous and unkind demands of time.
Rice Field – Jay Chou (稻香-周杰伦 , dào xiāng – zhōu jié lún)
In this song, Jay Chou talks about the fragrance of rice as a metaphorical expression of his childhood. He relives the fun and lovely moments of his childhood and talks about the pure joy of staying contented.
Lan Ting Xu – Jay Chou (兰亭序-周杰伦 , lán tíng xù – zhōu jié lún)
Jay Chou once again transports us to an era of the past. The song will make you feel as if you are in the ancient style of Wei and Jin style, Tang poetry, and Song Ci. It also talks about the sermons spoken and practiced by the older Chinese generation.
The Story of Time – Tayu Lo (光阴的故事-罗大佑 , guāng yīn de gù shì – luó dà yòu)
This song by Tayu Lo has a classic feel to it. It will make you nostalgic and motivate you to re-think the doings of the past. Also, it has also been rated as “one of 100 will listen to classic oldies”
Mercury Records – Guo Ding (水星记-郭顶 , shuǐ xīng jì – guō dǐng)
“Mercury Records” was inspired by the planet – Mercury. Since it is the closest planet to the sun, it cannot get out of its orbit, nor can it get close to the sun, so Guo Ding used Mercury’s placement with respect to the sun as a metaphor for the distant and close emotional relationship between humans.
Get Rid of Blues – Mao Bu Yi (消愁-毛不易, xiāo chóu – máo bú yì)
The song by Mao Bu Yi talks about moving forward in life. When you listen to it, you will understand the need for moving on from the past and building new dreams when things are not well in the present or have not been alright in the past.
A Thousand Sad Reasons – Jacky Cheung (一千个伤心的理由-张学友 , yī qiān gè shāng xīn de lǐ yóu – zhāng xué yǒu)
The song starts with a unique and engaging tune. It has a sad layer and talks about the grief and yearning that two loved ones experience for each other. In the past few years, the song has been appreciated by many people as they have resonated with the sorrow the song talks about.
Womxnly – Jolin Tsai (玫瑰少年-蔡依林,méi guī shǎo nián – cài yī lín)
The song is about gender equality in general. It was released in 2018 and talks about a teenager who died from bullying. With this song, the author hopes that more people will understand the consequences of such behavior and thus, work towards making a safe and kind environment for people of all genders.
I Am What I Am – Cheung Kwok Wing (我-张国荣 , wǒ – zhāng guó róng)
‘I Am What I Am”- is a song written by Cheung Kwok Wing. It tells its listeners to stand by their choices and cherish themselves for who they are. The singer expresses his own attitude towards life through the song. He has also advised people to respect the choices of others, because everyone is unique.
The Moon Represents My Heart – Teresa Teng (月亮代表我的心-邓丽君 , yuè liàng dài biǎo wǒ de xīn – dèng lì jun)
The soothing and melodious voice of Teresa Teng will put all your worries to rest. Released in 1982, the song talks about the yearning of two star-crossed lovers. It has a surreal vibe to it and will be a classic addition to your playlist.
Elimination – Eason Chan (淘汰-陈奕迅 , táo tài – chén yì xùn)
“Elimination” tells the story of the girlfriend’s speculation and doubt about the protagonist’s idea and perception of love. She disagrees and chooses to escape. Initially, he tries to give up his emotions but when he recalls the past, he realizes that love in real life cannot be as perfect as the lyrics in a love song. He accepts his broken heart and acknowledges that his loved one left because the love had ended.
Lonely Warrior – Eason Chan (孤勇者-陈奕迅 , gū yǒng zhě – chén yì xùn)
‘Lonely Warrior” is the Chinese theme song of the game “League of Legends”. The song is unique and has a period drama vibe to it. The encouraging lyrics will offer everyone the strength to fight for their dreams.
The Drum Tower – Zhao Lei (鼓楼-赵雷 , gǔ lóu – zhào léi)
Peppy and vibrant, this song is about the most famous and oldest building in Beijing, the Drum Tower. Through this song, Zhao Lei expresses his love for his hometown which is Beijing and its architectural wonders.
Cinderella – Zheng Jun (灰姑娘-郑钧 , huī gū niáng – zhèng jūn)
Zheng Jun dedicated this song to his ex-wife. The song talks about his pursuit of love in depth. It is a beautiful song with meaningful lyrics. You will get to know some new words after listening to this song.
After Next Year – AFMC Heizi/Jia Ying (来年后•少年-AFMC黑子 / 嘉滢 , lái nián hòu – shǎo nián)
The song was released in 2022, and is a hip-hop favorite among many young people. The song is a huge hit among the rap and hip-hop circuit. You will get to hear and learn a lot of new words through this song.
Playboy – Ma Si Wei (花花公子-马思唯 , huā huā gōng zǐ – mǎ sī wéi )
The song is perfect for clubs and lounges. The rap is low-key, and the soothing tune makes it a favorite for off-beat parties and gatherings. Through this song, Ma Si Wei tells everyone he is misunderstood as a Playboy.
Loneliness – G.E.M. 孤独-邓紫棋 gū dú – dèng zǐ qí
Even though the song has unique and groovy beats, it is a sad song that talks about the trials and tribulations of being a woman in a cut-throat world. The out-of-the-box lyrics offer a refreshing take on the current social system.
Addiction – Bo Peep (瘾-Bo Peepyǐn – Bo Peep)
Honest and heart-wrenching, this song by Bo Peep is more like a confession. A drug addict talks about his experiences and the hardships he had to go through while fighting drug abuse. The song advises to accept and love life; invest time and energy to the things that truly matter.
Woyuchengfeng – Safe Landing (我欲乘风-安全着陆 , wǒ yù chéng fēng – ān quán zhuó lù)
The song was released in 2016, and received a lot of positive feedback from the audience. The words are simple and pure. You will get to learn the enunciations of each word properly while focusing on the lyrics.
Never hesitate – Beyond (不再犹豫-Beyond , bú zài yóu yù -Beyond)
In this song, Beyond uses their vocals to express courage and encourage people not to give up during difficulties. It tells us to not feel discouraged or believe that your life is insignificant. Never Hesitate is a true mood booster and will make you believe that you can do anything.
Glory Days – Beyond (光辉岁月 – Beyond , guāng huī suì yuè – Beyond)
Glory Days is a soft rock song. It used to be a youth anthem at one point in time. The song is rich in lyrics and pays tribute to the black leader Nelson Mandela. It talks about his lifelong efforts to eliminate racial discrimination in South Africa and to achieve a democratic and free society.
Like you – Beyond (喜欢你-Beyond , xǐ huān nǐ – Beyond)
Unique and melodious, the song is a true gem. In 1988, “Like You” entered the radio charts for 10 weeks, peaking at #2, and was named one of the most played songs on the radio. The song talks about a young boy’s grief and the bitterness he experiences toward life when he loses his beloved.
Kill The Shijiazhuang Guy – Omnipotent Youth Society (杀死那个石家庄人-万能青年旅店 , shā sǐ nà gè shí jiā zhuāng rén – wàn néng qīng nián lǚ diàn)
The song talks about the drastic transformation of the city of Shijiazhuang. Shijiazhuang used to be a heavy industrial city in northern China. When it went through the transition from a planned economy to a market economy, a lot of lives were left behind or abandoned. The song is a sad song and talks about how people have become money-oriented at the present and do not care for other humans in the process to acquire more money.
Let Life Be Beautiful like Summer Flowers – Pu Shu (生如夏花-朴树 , shēng rú xià huā – pǔ shù)
The writer believes that life is like a flower garden. It should be as beautiful as summer flowers. We as humans should strive to bloom and add beauty to our life in every way possible. Imperfections and unhappy endings are inevitable. Yet, we should make the most of it and try to live life without any regrets.
Goodbye, Goodbye- Escape Plan (再见再见-逃跑计划 , zài jiàn zài jiàn – táo pǎo jì huá)
Sung by four zealous band members of Escape Plan, this song talks about youth and the kinds of aspirations we hold in our younger days. It was released on December 31, 2011, and remains an absolute favorite of the masses, till date.
New Boy – Pu Shu (New Boy – 朴树 , New Boy – pǔ shù)
This song was released in 1999. A new century was approaching which led the singer to believe that the world would immediately change for the better and all his wishes will come true.
Somewhere in time – Accusefive (爱人错过-告五人 , ài rén cuò guò – gào wǔ rén)
This song offers a realistic take on love. It talks about a couple who cannot proceed with their love due to societal and worldly factors. The song will offer a deep, insightful take on reasons that come in the way of love.
Once You – Xu Wei (曾经的你-许巍 , céng jīng de nǐ – xǔ wēi)
This song by Xu Wei can overwhelm the listener. With this melody of nostalgia, Xu Wei pays tribute to the youth and declares having no regrets. By listening to his song, we can get a glimpse of Xu Wei’s life journey and understand the origins of his firm courage and confidence. These natural strengths are evident in his lyrics, inspiring us to embrace our past with courage and confidence while looking towards the future..
Song of the Road – Tong Young (公路之歌-痛仰乐队 , gōng lù zhī gē – tòng yǎng yuè duì)
“The Song Of Road” is a popular Chinese song by Tong Young. It was written after Tong Young was traveling through Yunnan, Tibet, Nepal and the XinTibet Railway. The song will inspire you to reflect on the artistic aspirations of the youth. It also talks about the youth’s unyielding need for freedom.
In The Spring – (Wang Feng , 春天里-汪峰 , chūn tiān lǐ – wāng fēng)
Wang Feng’s “In The Spring” is a brutally honest take on life’s curveballs. It talks about the various confusions, reasons of sadness, and anxiety issues one has to deal with in the entire course of life.
Rock ‘n’ Roll on the New Long March – Cui Jian (新长征路上的摇滚-崔健 , xīn cháng zhēng lù shàng de yáo gǔn – cuī jiàn)
This song has unique tunes and will keep the listeners engaged till the end. It reflects people’s confusion, wandering and longing for freedom in an era of spiritual turmoil. At the same time, the lyrics speak about a caring and critical spirit, who is involved in self-analysis and self-cognition. The self-analysis by the author is carried out while he is keenly observing norms and real emotions in social set-ups.
Chun Feng Shili – Lu Xiansen (春风十里-鹿先森乐队 , chūn fēng shí lǐ – lù xiān sēn yuè duì)
Lu Xiansen’s first single “Chunfeng Shili” was officially released in October 2015. The folk song became an overnight success. It attracted many listeners because of its soothing melody, literary lyrics, and deep meaning behind the song.
The Moon Over a Fountain – A Bing (二泉映月-阿炳èr quán yìng yuè – ā bǐng)
The marvelous piece of music reveals the thoughts and emotions of a blind artist who has suffered the pains and sufferings of the world. Through his music, A Bing exposes the wrongdoings of Chinese society at the time. The song gradually unfolds the bitterness, pain, and hardships of A Bing’s life.
Colorful Clouds Pursue The Moon – China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra (彩云追月-中国广播民族乐团 , cǎi yún zhuī yuè – zhōng guó guǎng bō mín zú yuè tuán)
The song is inspired by Chinese classical literature. It says that immortals and heavenly beings walk on colorful clouds and visit the moon palace. This piece talks about the fairyland of the moon palace which exists in some corner of an ordinary man’s mind. The hint of a fantastical world is what relaxes the common people and keeps them going against all odds.
The Tipsy Fisherman Sings in the Evening – China National Symphony Orchestra (渔舟唱晚-中国国家交响乐团 , yú zhōu chàng wǎn -zhōng guó guó jiā jiāo xiǎng yuè tuán)
The song talks about the fulfilling view of a sunset in the west. The author generously praises the beauty of the glittering evening sun, the fishermen singing and the fishermen laden with the harvest. The author also talks about the beautiful rivers and mountains present in his motherland.
Jasmine – Song Zuying (茉莉花-宋祖英 , mò lì huā -sòng zǔ yīng)
The song “Jasmine” talks about the scenic beauty that nature has to offer to mankind. The song is simple and instills a lovely feeling in your heart. The tune has distinctive national characteristics, showing the one-of-a-kind beauty, elegance, and grace of the Chinese land and culture. It also talks about how friendly and welcoming Chinese people are.
Birds paying homage to the Phoenix – China National Orchestra (百鸟朝凤-中央民族乐团 , bǎi niǎo cháo fèng – zhōng yāng mín zú yuè tuán)
The charming piece of music evokes people’s love for nature, their memories of fruitful labor, and their desire and pursuit of a free and beautiful life. The warm and cheerful melody is sure to lift your spirits in no time.
Butterfly Lovers – China National Orchestra (梁祝-中央民族乐团 , liáng zhù – zhōng yāng mín zú yuè tuán)
The song talks about the story of the Butterfly Lovers. The story has been widely spoken and discussed in China for more than 1,700 years. The timeless love song expresses the ancient people’s yearning for a free and beautiful life. It also mentions the pursuit of freedom in marriage, and the brave pursuit of true love by women in ancient Chinese society.
Hua Mulan joins the army – China Women Orchestra (木兰从军-中国女子乐团 , mù lán cóng jūn – zhōng guó nǚ zǐ yuè tuán)
The song tells the age-old story of Mulan, the warrior who went to war instead of her father. It talks about how she took over the responsibilities of her father and did everything to defend her home and homeland. The song helps you imagine her heroic spirit, and her actions that help to preserve her father’s honor in the long run.
Youth Dance – Amuti (青春舞曲-阿木提 , qīng chūn wǔ qǔ – ā mù tí)
Uygur was one of the most prestigious ethnic languages of China. The song is a well-known folk song in Xinjiang, that talks about the evolution of the language and the people speaking the language.
The Couple Back To Home Together – Zhuo Yi-ting (夫妻双双把家还-卓依婷 , fū qī shuāng shuāng bǎ jiā huán – zhuó yī tíng)
The song originated from a thousand-year-old Chinese story about the Goddess of Marriage (or Tianxianpei). Through its lyrics, this song captures the universal aspiration of the general public for a fulfilling life and a happy marriage. The message is clear and relatable, as it echoes the common dreams and desires shared by many. By listening to this song, we can connect with its uplifting themes and be reminded of our own hopes for a joyful and satisfying life with our loved ones..
What are the most popular Chinese songs?
In addition to the above list, there are a few other Chinese songs that everyone knows. Some of them include Stranger in north by Namewee; Those bygone years by Hu Xia; The road to ordinary by Pu Shu; The most romantic thing by Cindy Chaw; and My exciting solitary life by Elva Hsiao.
Improve your Mandarin by listening to popular Chinese songs
In conclusion, learning and researching famous Chinese songs will help you gain a better understanding of the Mandarin language. By familiarizing yourself with these songs, you can expand your vocabulary and also achieve some insight into the music industry of China.