Critique of the set of English-language songs released in 2020 [The Yuenyong and Friends Project]

First posted to Facebook October 11, 2020

[Background, during the covid-19 epidemic, when everyone was mostly locked down, Add Carabao and his friends put together a set of English-language songs. A long-time goal of mine was to convince Add Carabao (Yuenyong Opakul) to do English-language songs, but my proposed way of doing it would be to have a translator turn his existing Thai songs, or new ones, into rhyming English, thus freeing him to write anything he wants in his usual way, and leaving the translation portion (the easy part) to someone else. I’m not 100% sure that would be the best approach but I’m 90% sure it is. He did actually use my approach on one song, and that song worked well and is published. For this new set of songs (which perhaps constitutes an album, I’m not sure), he teamed up with ทิวา สาระจูฑะ Teewa Sarachuta, who previously wrote a set of songs for him to sing in his solo album ซึม เศร้า เหงา แฮงค์ Soaked Sad Lonely Hungover (2005). That earlier project was a huge success in my opinion, as it gave Add the opportunity to sing some very emotional and sentimental songs about love and longing–standard love songs–which aren’t his usual thing. Teewa Sarachuta’s best songs written for Add Carabao are เวลาที่เหลือ Wayla Tee Leua (The Time Remaining) and ไม่อยากให้เพลงนี้จบลง Mai Yaak Hai Playng Nee Jop Long (I Don’t Want This Song to End), which was stunning in performance. Some of Teewa’s songs branched out tentatively into English for a few verses, which I didn’t mind. But the English wasn’t perfect. Entrusting Teewa Surachata to write a whole set of English-language songs for an Add Carabao album, turned out to be a bad idea. Not only is the English distractingly bad, the songs are lacking the “secret sauce” that makes an Add Carabao song, an Add Carabao song. In the end, I don’t think these songs were even intended for Farang. I think they are aimed at other Thais, who (understandably) enjoy branching out into English sometimes. I understand because I like playing around with the Thai language, even though I am terrible at it. Below is my frustrated post as of October 11, 2020]

So I’m just going to put it out there: Add Carabao’s new English language songs are pathetic. “My Song” has some charm to it, but also has mistakes that could have been fixed for $50 by running it past an English-language editor. There is like one song out of like 7 that we have seen so far with no English language mistakes, but it is only OK. 1) An Add Carabao song should be written by Yuenyong Opakul and not Teewa Sarachuta, who is good, but has already proved he doesn’t know English well enough to write for an English-language audience. 2) All the songs are safe and boring, not like the Thai songs that made Add Carabao famous. It’s as if they (the writers) didn’t have enough confidence in English to be edgy or even interesting. 3) Add Carabao has a gazillion dollars and tons of friends who would have helped him for free. Why oh why, is there no English-language editing of these songs? Below is the one song I really like, but it will be liked by me and like 10 other Farang who understand the Thai parts of the song.