The perfect way to soothe you into that sweet Friday feeling: meet the Lifestyle Asia BK Playlist. Taking inspiration from our favourite venues about town, every last Friday of the month we’re inviting a Bangkok cool cat to curate an exclusive playlist for our readers (and listeners) to tune in to. Whatever your jam, consider it the ideal pre-gam, house party, solo party, or even casual commute track list at your handy disposal. We only give our guest DJs one prerequisite: make it really, really vibe-y.  

We’re doing things a little differently for this month’s playlist. 

Whilst we normally feature our favourite restaurants and bars about town to curate a personal track list for us, January is all about new beginnings — both as we readjust our goggles to #2020Vision, and as we douse ourselves in red satin and longevity noodles for the Chinese New Year. 

This month our playlist comes a few days early, and is a celebration of the Chinese Year of the Rat

Image Credit: Paulo Evangelista/Unsplash

With a handy in-house Chinese music lover within our headquarters, we’ve compiled a list of songs that go from the classic to the contemporary, with many a crowd-pleaser in between, though you may not even expect it. It is a journey not only through Chinese music history and celebration, but also a way to draw connections between cultures. 

We begin with Teresa Teng (duh) and the notoriously infamous Tian Mi Mi. Renowned amongst Asian communities worldwide, Teresa has always has a special bond with Thailand, as she visited the country very often, and passed away here in her home in Chiang Mai. As we’re told “Tian Mi Mi is a cool one, because these kinds of songs actually span three generations: we know them, our parents know them, and our grandparents know them too. It’s a perfect soundtrack for Chinese New Year, where reunions are a central component, and everyone can sing along.”

playlist Chinese New Year
Image Credit: Henry Co/Unsplash

Gradually, the playlist evolves into more Chinese soap opera music (if you know, you know). “What’s really cool is that they usually combine contemporary instruments with traditional ones. A good example is the Untamed OST, which gives a modern twist to the Chinese flute and guqin.”

Following on from soap operas, we slide into the era of C-Pop music, featuring Jay Chou and the works, as well as F4 and Mayday. Definitely also don’t miss the track by Phil Lam, a Hong Kong artist. The wild ride of our Lifestyle Asia playlist ends on a futuristic note. Underground artists, indie tunes, and a few “super chill” Chinese folk numbers inspired by old tribal songs (“listen to Your Woman Sleep with Others — they’re my favourite”). It’s a play on the past in the spirit of the present in many ways; as we come full circle, as we commemorate the old year and welcome the new, and as we end the track list with eight treasure rice over Chinese New Year dinner

Whether you play it for your guests on Saturday pre-temple or post-reunion meal, the Lifestyle Asia playlist this month is a fantastic one to get into the spirit of things.

Year of the Rat? We’re ready for you. Here’s wishing you and yours an auspicious one. 

Like what you hear? Follow us on Spotify and stay updated with all the best tracks about town.

Lisa Gries
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.