Crazy Rich Asians movie soundtrack

My blog post on “Who I’d Cast in Crazy Rich Asians the Movie” gets the most views on my blog to this day, even though I wrote it almost a year ago… so I thought I would follow up with a post on a “soundtrack.” 

If you haven’t heard, they’re working on the movie, a sequel is in the works and production is to start early next year/hopefully end of this year. The paperback version recently hit bookstores and the book has been topping bestseller lists so if you haven’t read the book (and you really should), now is a great time- it’s a perfect summer read!

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The paperback cover!

Music is inextricably connected to film. Good films/shows are usually accompanied with an equally strong soundtrack. It’s true with korean dramas which come with their OSTs. It’s true with some of the best television hits (think Gossip Girl, Scandal and Sex and the City). Music is a creative tool used to color the world it depicts. It reflects the pace and feel of overarching themes ultimately strengthening the impact of the movie. Without music, movies- or arguably the world- just wouldn’t be the same.

The soundtrack I have in mind blends influences from the east and west and the old with the new, capturing the essence of the world of Crazy Rich Asians. The book is a universal story which will appeal to a global audience (and not just the US), so the music needs to reflect that. I’ve chosen a diverse group of artists with broad global appeal (I was sure to check the top music lists for Singapore, Hong Kong etc on Spotify and iTunes).

The music below is what I imagine Rachel and Nicholas’ love, the energy of a jet set life, the absurd excess and the clean green sunny island of Singapore would sound like. They are songs that fit the novel both in sound and lyrics. So without further ado…(in no particular order)…

*Full disclosure: This made up soundtrack includes a few of my favorite artists/songs. Also, I realize that these songs will be “old” by the time the movie comes out. (How great would it be to hear an original soundtrack produced especially for this movie a la The Great Gatsby (2013)?)

For your viewing pleasure, I’ve used the ‘Savage Grace’ editorial from the December issue of Vogue China magazine and the most recent Spring/Summer campaign from Shanghai Tang as a moodboard. (I just imagine that Crazy Rich Asians the movie will come out as a summer blockbuster….)* 

Crazy Rich Asians movie soundtrack 1

Crazy Rich Asians movie soundtrack 2

Crazy Rich Asians movie soundtrack 3

1) The soundtrack HAS to include “This must be the place” by the Talking Heads. After all, it’s the song author Kevin Kwan would love to see as part of the soundtrack. He mentions in an interview with wordandfilm.com, “There’s a scene in the book where a street musician sings it for our hero and heroine in New York’s Washington Square Park. Wouldn’t it be great to get someone like Jason Mraz to do a cameo and play that song in the movie?”

Instead of Jason Mraz making a cameo, I vote Nathan Hartono. I just discovered him the other day and I would love to hear him perform his rendition of the song.

This is the song:

 and here’s Nathan Hartono singing

 I had a hard time deciding which song to share! There were too many good options. He has the voice and look for a cameo in this movie. Besides, I’m always in support of young talent.

2) Tropicalia by Beck has to be on the soundtrack as well, considering how it is mentioned as Rachel and Nick’s favorite song.

3) Lights up by Khalil Fong.

Edit: seems like the video got deleted from youtube. You can preview the track here on itunes

This funky and beat driven song perfectly sums up the “lights, camera, action” mentality of the ultra rich lifestyle described in the book. It’s a catchy song and you probably would have never guessed that it is sung by someone who has become a Mandopop star in Hong Kong in the past decade. Mr. Fong defies the standard labels of Mandopop and Cantopop, so naturally he produces music easily liked by anyone.

4) Magic by Coldplay.

“Call it magic… Call it truth… Dont want anybody else but you.” This song sums up Nick and Rachel’s relationship pretty well. The two are lovestruck. Their relationship is dreamy it’s almost like magic. Coldplay’s music is generally received well internationally. Also note that Chinese Actress, Zhang Ziyi is featured in this music video, merging the world of Coldplay and fans of the actress together.

5) Midas Touch- Ellie Goulding

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/104383902″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Midas touch usually refers to the ability to make, manage, and keep huge amounts of money but I add this to the list with Rachel in mind. She certainly has a “midas touch” in making even the simplest of dresses look spectacular and the most eligible of bachelors fall in love, undoubtedly due to her effortless charm and grace.

6) Team- Lorde

The moment Lorde made a splash in the music world with her breakout single “Royals,” I knew she had to be part of this list. Vocally striking and lyrically thought provoking, her album Pure Heroine masterfully narrates a realist and honest perspective on a fantasy lifestyle.  Her songs address an uneasy tension that is very real in both her own life and the life portrayed in the novel.

7) The Shanghai Restoration Project has grown in popularity over the years by wooing audiences with their fusion of electronic and classical, Eastern and Western sounds. Any of their tracks would be a welcome addition to my list.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/28316210″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /] I can imagine Rachel approaching the Young family home in Singapore with this playing in the background.

8) [soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/88811600″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /] This track reminds me of the many gossipy women in the book, most notably Eleanor Young, the scornful mother of Nicholas Young. The sound of this track mimics an elegant lady of leisure who tiptoes into the affairs of others.

9)

Miss Shanghai. My favorite Shanghai Restoration Project track. This song is perfect for any scene where Rachel and Nicholas are in Singapore, exploring the country, young and in love. 

10) Rather be- Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne is also suitable for the couple’s adventures in the country, from the airport to the hawkers of exotic food.

“We’re a thousand miles from comfort, we have travelled land and sea

But as long as you are with me, there’s no place I’d rather be”

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11) The XX- Angels

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/53270803″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Yet another song that embodies Rachel and Nick’s relationship. The more he and Rachel get caught in his crazy world and family, the more he realizes how special she is and how much he loves her.

“Light reflects from your shadow/It is more than I thought could exist/You move through the room/Like breathing was easy/If someone believed me

They would be/As in love with you as I am

And everyday/I’m learning about you/The things that no one else sees”

12) Disclosure -Latch feat Sam Smith.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/59051244″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

A song that I played on repeat when it was first released, Latch sums up the delirious feeling of falling head over heels in love with someone.

13) Big Jet Plane (Adam G Prog Remix) Angus & Julia Stone

This remix “takes us on a ride on a big jet plane” with instrumentals that imitate flight and a flow of beats that resemble the restless energy of the Asian jet-set.

14)

In a world where family pedigree, hefty salaries and next season’s couture dictate who’s who, how long does love really last? This remix of Ellie Goulding’s How long will I love you, asks the question that hovers on everyone’s mind . Note: Start the track at :30 seconds.

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16)  Kanye West – Black Skinhead vs. Tame Impala – Elephant 

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/98920608″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”170″ iframe=”true” /]

Although the lyrics “Enter the Kingdom…But watch who you bring home” is good reason to include this song, I added this into the list just for Bernard and the “grand” bachelor weekend he plans for Colin in Macau. It just goes to show that this world is not all opulent sunshine and rainbows but also over the top zaniness and bad behavior.

16) Stefan Biniak – The Read All About It Bootleg

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/79899754″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

This track acts as the voice of the characters who want to escape the attention and pressure of high society, especially It-girl Astrid Leong. In a world filled with affectations, she defies familial expectations to marry her non-pedigree sweetheart and desires an invisibility and anonymity.

“I wanna sing, I wanna shout/I wanna scream ’til the words dry out/So put it in all of the papers/I’m not afraid/They can read all about it”

17)

And of course there has to be a song alluding to the “crazy” in Crazy Rich Asians… This remix of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy epitomizes the uproarious, addictive world of hypnotizing opulence. The song asks, “Maybe [they’re] crazy…? Probably…”

18) Marilyn Monroe- Pharrell

This song is an “homage to beautiful women,” and in this book, beautiful women living beautiful lives are aplenty. Also, the first 30 seconds of the song are exactly what plays in my head when I think of the book Crazy Rich Asians.

So that’s my “soundtrack” for Crazy Rich Asians…What songs would you add?

Just in case you missed it, here’s my post on Who I’d Cast in Crazy Rich Asians: the Movie.

As mentioned, my casting choices were pure speculation. However, I do believe that they will be introducing new or lesser known talent, following in the footsteps of many other film adaptations such as Twilight, The Hunger Games, 50 shades of Grey and the Harry Potter series. With Ivanhoe Pictures leading the production of the film, the movie is sure to have an all Asian cast. I don’t count on being disappointed since author Kevin Kwan is heavily involved with the process and the teams behind the movie are committed to staying authentic to the story. Needless to say, I am so very excited to see which new faces they will cast to bring the story to life.

Even if you haven’t read the book, I hope you’ll enjoy the songs I’ve selected as a summer soundtrack!

Want to know the title of his sequel? here’s an interview from Entertainment Weekly

For all the latest updates on Crazy Rich Asians head over to Kevin Kwan’s facebook page . You can also follow the author as he writes the sequel in Paris via his instagram or twitter! How fabulous.

Now if only I could put together a trailer that looks convincing… like the 50 shades of grey trailer. Just kidding. Maybe I’ll do a post on the wardrobe/fashion, we’ll see. Thank you so much for reading!!

Related Posts/links

Who I’d Cast in Crazy Rich Asians: The Movie

New York Travel

Exclusive interview with Acceptance filmmaker Ryan Matthew Chan

Shanghai Tang

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HBT (@HADSTERIFIC)
June 22, 2014 2:13 pm

Love this post. I actually found out about your blog from your original CRA and am glad I did. 🙂 I am almost certain they will use Glamorous by Fergie or something very typical and do a pan around or montage of the riches when they introduce us to Astrid or at Araminta’s Bachelorette. I can’t wait!

HBT (@HADSTERIFIC)
August 4, 2014 12:30 pm

Ditto. I can’t wait!! I’m hunting for a signed copy in NYC because I read CRA from the library haha.

Famhm
Famhm
June 16, 2015 5:10 pm

Where is it mentioned Tropicalia is Rachel and Nick’s favorite song, please?
LOVE all your posts about CRA! I can see I’m not the only one THAT obsessed with this book 😉

Famhm
Famhm
June 17, 2015 4:11 am
Reply to  AndreaM

Thank you for replying so fast!
haha So did you savour the pleasure of unboxing it?? 😀

Wow, thanks! I would appreciate so much if you could even just tell me if it’s around the beginning or the end lol Because I had re-read the book a couple of times, and I just can’t find that part and I have a french copy (I’m french ^^)… So I wonder if the french translator has cut some parts of the text O.o Now that would be a shame!