Every romantic comedy needs a perfect musical moment — and thankfully for rom-com fans everywhere,
Crazy Rich Asians is packed full of them. All the songs in blends American and Asian culture thanks to a combination of classic Chinese love songs and popular English songs reworked with Chinese lyrics and sung by Asian performers. And according to the film's director, Jon M. Chu, and the music supervisor, Gabe Hilfer, all of those choices Crazy Rich Asians were a conscious decision to underline Rachel (Constance Wu)'s entrance into high society in Singapore.
“I wanted to take hit
American songs and make them Chinese, to give audiences a sense of how we feel as Asian Americans,” Chu said in a recent interview with Quartz. “That crazy blend of identities and cultures that makes up who we are. It felt to me like a critical part of what we were trying to do.”
And like the film itself, the
Crazy Rich Asians soundtrack has become a hit, introducing fans everywhere to new artists and interpretations of classic songs, all of which helped soundtrack some of the film's most emotional and extravagant moments. Keep on reading to find out your new favorite artist ... and to relive the opulence once more.
"Waiting for Your Return" - Jasmine Chen
Jasmine Chen is a well-known Chinese jazz singer who Chu picked to sing multiple songs on the soundtrack — she even appears in the film twice. In an interview with
Mother Jones, Hilfer said that the intention was "to keep it appealing to all generations — so songs that were appealing to an older generation like Jon’s parents, but then to also have younger singers like Jasmine Chen cover them, as a way to modernize classic ideas."
"Money (That’s What I Want)” - Cheryl K
The iconic doo-wop tune — which has famously been covered by The Beatles — is performed in the film by Cheryl K, who was discovered by the creative team after she sent
in a YouTube audition video. Her cover is done half in english and half in Chinese, which Hilfer told Mother Jones was a way to "bridge the cultural associations within the film," which is especially resonant as it plays when Rachel first arrives in Singapore.
"Wo Yao Ni De Ai (I Want Your Love - I Want You to Be My Baby)” - Grace Chang
Grace Chang (better known as Ge Lan) is a famous jazz singer from the 1950s, and her best known song, "I Want You to Be My Baby" appears twice in the film. The first time it plays is early on in the film, before later being covered by Jasmine Chen.
"My New Swag” - VAVA feat. Ty, Nina Wang
Crazy Rich Asians doesn't only rely on Chinese covers of modern pop songs — it also features some famous Asian artists who have yet to become major names in America. That includes rappers VAVA and Ty, who previously had competed against one another on the Chinese rap competition reality show , according to The Rap of China The Irish Times.
"Give Me a Kiss” - Jasmine Chen
In addition to singing three songs on the soundtrack, Chen
appears in the film twice: first at the tan hua party where Rachel first meets Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), and then later, at the wedding that caps off the film.
"Ren Sheng Jiu Shi Xi” - Yao Lee
Yao Lee is another famed Chinese singer from the early 20th century — she began performing in 1935 at the young age of 14. Her song plays when the audience is first introduced to the family matriarch, Shang Su Yi, played by Lisa Lu.
"Ni Dong Bu Dong (Do You Understand)” - Lilan Chen
Another vintage-inspired song, Lilan Chen's version of "Ni Dong Bu Dong" is an upbeat party song with a tropical, 60s feel.
"Wo Yao Fei Shang Qing Tian” - Grace Chang
Another song by Chang, who was an inspiration for a lot of the older Chinese-language songs chosen for the soundtrack. Hilfer told
Mother Jones that as part of the research process for the film, he watched "old Chinese videos on YouTube and [went] down all these paths and finding out how these songs came to be."
"Material Girl (200 Du)” - Sally Yeh
According to Hilfer, Yeh's cover of the classic Madonna single was actually one of the easier songs to get for the soundtrack, because they had already found Yeh's cover floating around the Internet. “This version came out of a whole deep dive into fun Chinese covers,”
he told about the song, which plays when Rachel makes her grand entrance at the wedding. Entertainment Weekly
"Can’t Help Falling in Love” - Kina Grannis
Japanese-American singer and songwriter Kina Grannis had
previously covered the Elvis Presley classic on her own, so when Chu and Hilfer reached out to her about reworking it for the film, she signed on immediately. Grannis had to time the song to match Araminta (Sonoya Mizuno)'s walk up the aisle to Colin (Chris Pang), which included a dramatic moment when the walkway is flooded and she steps into the water to continue her walk.
"Wo Yao Ni De Ai (I Want Your Love - I Want You to Be My Baby)” - Jasmine Chen
"Yellow” - Katherine Ho
Ho's cover of Coldplay's "Yellow" has become the breakout song of the
Crazy Rich Asians soundtrack, but it almost didn't happen. According to Chu, the director had to first convince Warner Bros. that it was worth including the song despite the fact that "yellow" is often used as a slur against Asians. Then, when Coldplay refused to sign off on using the track — presumably because they received criticism for cultural appropriation for their "Princess of China" and "Hymn for the Weekend" music videos — Chu decided to write them a personal letter asking for permission.
In an excerpt of the letter published in
Chu told the band “[The word ‘yellow’] has always had a negative connotation in my life - until I heard your song ... It immediately became an anthem for me and my friends and gave us a new sense of pride we never felt before.” The Hollywood Reporter,
He got permission within hours, and Ho's cover (which plays when Nick (Henry Golding) proposes to Rachel), has become one of the most played and most emotional songs form the soundtrack.
"Money (That’s What I Want)” - Cheryl K feat. Awkwafina
Before she was known as a scene-stealing actor, Awkwafina was famous for her rapping skills, so, naturally, Chu and Hilfer had to find some way to allow her to show off her flow. “We had always been thinking about how to involve Awkwafina more because she’s so incredible,”
Hilfer told Entertainment Weekly about the rapper/actress who plays Peik Lin. “I remember I sent her an email [about contributing to the track], and her answer was just, ‘HELL YES,’ in all caps." Turns out it is possible for someone to steal the show even after the film has ended ... just listen to Awkwafina's verses on this credits song.
With a playlist so perfectly curated to capture every romantic, hysterical and over-the-top moment of the film, it's only a matter of time before the
Crazy Rich Asians soundtrack becomes just as big of a hit as the movie itself.