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Nian Ni (Chinese: 唸你, literally means “Remember You”) is a 2011 ballad single sung by Taiwanese pop singer Jeremy Liu (劉子千), the son of a well-known 80s singer Liu Jiachang (劉家昌). Since the video’s debut on YouTube, the song became a popular subject of online mockeries for its all-too-retro vibes and repetitive tunes, as well as the fact that the song was written by his father Liu Jiachang.
The song was composed by the Taiwanese singer Lui Jiachang, best known for his eccentric and smart hit singles in the 80s, and produced by his son and pop singer Jeremy Lui (劉子千). The music video also features another Taiwanese celebrity Gui Gui (鬼鬼).
The music video for “Nian Ni” was first uploaded via Taiwanese MTV on July 7th, 2011 and re-uploaded via YouTube on July 8th, 2011. The song began to spread through Chinese and Taiwanese forums for a brief period of time before the music video aired on MTV later that month. Upon its broadcast, both the song and the music video were poked fun at for its “brainwashing” tune, lyrics that are hard to follow and the singer’s less-than-flattering voice. The YouTube video also became notable for its high dislike-to-like ratio, with a count of 3828 likes and 12581 dislikes (as of August 24th).
Initially, the majority of online interest in the video mostly came from Taiwan. In the following week in June, the video entered circulation on Facebook and other popular blogs like Avocado Sushi Diary which boosted the number of views up to one million in just over a week. The original video was allegedly taken down from Youtube due to copyright issues from the Hong Kong Recording Industry Alliance Limited.
On July 14th, 2011, the Taiwanese media also reported on the growing ironic fandom of “Nian Ni,” which was subsequently picked up by Hong Kong’s news agencies as well:
Beginning in late July 2011, the volume of search queries for “Nian Ni” in Hong Kong region started to surpass that of Taiwan, according to Google Insights:
Similar to the outbreak of Rebecca Black’s viral video fame, parodies and remixes of Liu’s song began to flood in through YouTube:
Speculations of alternate motives and strategies behind the song and video were also covered by the Taiwanese news media, with the most notable segment aired on ETTV:
In the broadcast, the host analyzes the song and its impact on the marketability of Liu’s album, eventually hypothesizing that the awfulness of the song may have been engineered by Jeremy Lui’s father:
1. Because everyone had played the song repetitively, now everyone knows how to sing this song.
2. Because this song is in such poor quality, the other songs in the same album will sound better. (“People lowered their expectations for him…..which will surprise them later, gaining positive reputation”)
3. No need for advertisement now, it is popular enough.
The Singer’s Response
…Many people jokingly suggested that they should sue me. …And when I was walking around the road, people all looked at me as if I am some superstar. …And when I saw the news coverage on TV I was like “oh, crap.” …I followed my father’s suggestions. I didn’t expect it to be so famous, and I would gladly face any result that came after.
Liu Jiachang’s Response
Later in an interview, Jeremy Liu’s father Liu Jiachang pointed to post-production issues in response to the widespread criticism of his vocal caliber. Responding to the plain style of the music video, the singer disagreed that the music video was created in bad style. He also added that Lady Gaga’s meat dress and her music video is too fancy.
Hong Kong comedian Wong Cholam produced a parody of the music video to promote his own stand-up talk show. Aptly titled “Daddy,” the song is about Jeremy Liu forgetting his father and saying sorry. There are also Hitler’s reaction videos discussing the phenomenon, as well as remixes and mash-up videos featuring Taiwanese pop culture references:
Wong Cholam of The Gods, a comedy group from Hong Kong, also put together a comedy sketch during the group’s 2011 summer show called “Hot Fun Gods.” The sketch is about 3 girls preparing a present for their school teacher who they’re all infatuated with (0:59):
Taiwanese Netizens made a Vocaloid tribute of Miku Hatsune singing the song:
Celebrity Imitated Show
Taiwanese comedy show Celebrity Imitated Show (全民最大黨) also created a parody of the song: