Best C-Pop Songs


Learning Mandarin doesn't have to always be difficult or boring. Listening to pop music can help you mix up your learning process so you stay interested and connected. No matter how busy you are, it's always possible to find time to listen to your favorite songs. That's why many people like to listen to music for a fun and quick way to improve their Mandarin skills.

This list of the best C-pop songs is a great place to start if you are looking for popular Chinese Mandarin songs that are also great for beginners. Mandarin can be complicated, but there is something for everybody in C-pop.

What is C-Pop?

You've likely heard of K-pop, but not C-pop. So, what exactly is C-pop?

C-pop just means popular Chinese songs made by Chinese artists. This Chinese music can be from anywhere Mandarin is spoken, from China to Singapore. The term C-pop also covers a wide variety of genres, from rock to hip-hop and everything in between.

If you are learning Mandarin, you will want to listen to the subgenre Mandopop, which is the term for C-pop in the Mandarin dialect. Other popular C-pop subgenres include Cantopop (Cantonese) and Hokkien pop (Taiwanese Hokkien).

Mandopop originated in Shanghai in the 1920s and was called shidaiqu (时代曲, music of the time). C-pop has undergone many changes over the years, but Mandopop still remains the most popular subgenre due to its wide appeal and popular groups like TFBOYS and Nine Percent which resemble popular South Korean groups (Blackpink, BTS) and Japanese bands (AKB48).

C-pop is mostly popular today in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. While it's not as well-known internationally, C-pop is still an important part of Chinese culture and language.

Best C-Pop Songs and Artists

If you are new to Mandarin, you will want to start out with clearer and slower-paced songs at first. Keep in mind also that how people pronounce words in songs may be different than how they talk. Rap is usually easier to learn, but so are slower, classic ballads. There are many different popular artists and genres to choose from, so you are likely to find something you like.

Here is a list of some of the best C-pop songs and artists for beginners to Mandarin:

Jay Chou (周杰伦 Zhōu Jiélún)

Pictures Jay Chou

Jay Chou is considered the "King of Mandopop" and one of the most well-known with over 30 million records since his debut in 2000. Chou combines Western and Eastern styles and even starred in the Hollywood movie Green Hornet.

Chou has tried just about every genre, but his favorite styles are Rap, R&B, and Rock. You may be tempted to start out with his music due to his popularity, but be aware he has a unique pronunciation style that is not often clear.

Some easier songs are his classic slower songs, such as 简单爱 (jiǎn dān ài), 开不了口 (kāi bù liǎo kǒu), and 安静 (ān jìng), from the album 范特西 (fàn tè xī, transliteration of "fantasy"), and 告白气球 (gào bái qì qiú), 七里香 (qī lǐ xiāng), 晴天 (qíng tiān), and 彩虹 (cǎi hóng) from various albums.

He also has many songs that are fusion with different styles, such as traditional Chinese music (青花瓷 qīng huā cí, 东风破 dōng fēng pò and 千里之外 qiān lǐ zhī wài), square dancing (牛仔很忙 niú zǎi hěn máng), classical music (夜曲 yè qǔ - nocturne and Greatest Works of Art), Latin (Mojito) and more.

Jolin Tsai (蔡依林 Cài Yīlín)

Pictures of Jolin Tsai

Jolin Tsai is a Taiwanese singer, songwriter, and actress. She is considered the "Queen of C-Pop", and one of the most influential figures in Chinese pop culture.

Her career started in 1998, after she participated in and won a television singing competition produced by MTV Mandarin, and released her debut album, 1019, in 1999.

She maintained her popularity even until today in the Chinese-speaking world, owing to the continual reinvention and versatility in her musical style and visual image. Apart from being an excellent singer, she has also become a key figure in the dance-pop culture. Some of her later songs focus on social themes and advocate for equality, like 我呸 (wǒ pēi, Play), 玫瑰少年 (méi guī shào nián, Womxnly), 怪美的 (guài měi de, Ugly Beauty), and Equal in the Darkness (this song is in English).

Many of her earlier hits are also worth listening to (and overall simpler), such as 日不落 (rì bù luò, Sun Will Never Set), 说爱你 (shuō ài nǐ), 看我72变 (kàn wǒ 72 biàn), 倒带 (dào dài), and 舞娘 (wǔniáng, Dancing Diva).

Daivd Tao (陶喆 Táo Zhé)

Pictures of David Tao

David Tao is a Taiwanese singer and songwriter. Grew up in Taiwan and the US, and his music is influenced and inspired by different cultures.

He is one of the first singers in Taiwan that create a crossover genre of R&B and hard rock and popularized R&B in the Mandopop industry. He was given the title of "R&B 教父" (the Godfather of R&B).

He started his music career in 1997 and has since released 7 albums (the last one came out in 2013).

Some of his songs are catchy and great for beginners, such as 爱很简单 (ài hěn jiǎn dān, I Love You), 小镇姑娘 (xiǎo zhèn gū niáng), 就是爱你 (jiù shì ài nǐ), and 普通朋友 (pǔ tōng péng yǒu).

Other popular songs also include 爱我还是他 (ài wǒ háishì tā), Melody, 黑色柳丁 (hēi sè liǔ dīng), 孙子兵法 (sūn zi bīng fǎ, The Art of War) and 找自己 (zhǎo zì jǐ).

Stefanie Sun (孙燕姿 Sūn Yànzī)

Pictures of Stefanie Sun

Stefanie Sun is a Singaporean singer and songwriter. She released her debut album in 2000, Yan Zi (燕姿, same as her name), which won her the Golden Melody Awards for Best New Artist. She has since released 15 albums and sold more than 30 million records.

Some of her hits that are great to start with include: 第一天 (dì yī tiān), 天黑黑 (tiān hēi hēi), 绿光 (lǜ guāng), 逆光 (nì guāng) and 遇见 (yù jiàn).

JJ Lin (林俊杰 Lín Jùnjié)

Pictures of JJ Lin

Being a Singaporean singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor, JJ Lin started his singing career in 2003 and has been active since. He has many songs that are popular and suitable for Chinese learners.

Here are some good examples: 就是我 (jiù shì wǒ), 江南 (jiāng nán), 一千年以后 (yī qiān nián yǐhòu), 曹操 (cáo cāo) and 美人鱼 (měi rén yú, Mermaid).

In 2017, Lin worked with Luis Fonsi and made the Mandarin version of Despacito (缓缓 huǎn huǎn), which is a fun mash-up.

G.E.M. (邓紫棋 Dèng Zǐqí)

Pictures of G.E.M.

She is one of the newer and younger popular C-pop artists, as well as a singer and songwriter, also known as G.E.M. Born in Shanghai, She started her career in Hong Kong and shot to fame in greater China after her debut on the Chinese singing competition show "I am Singer."

In 2015 she released the popular Mandopop album, Heartbeat (新的心跳 xīn de xīn tiào). In 2022, she came out with the album, REVELATION (启示录 qǐ shì lù), in which the serial music videos of the 14 tracks together make up a story, exploring love and life.

She has a variety of hits like 泡沫 (pào mò), Full Stop, 光年之外 (guāng nián zhī wài), Away, and Light Years Away (theme song for movie Passengers) to name just a few.

Eason Chan (陈奕迅 Chén Yìxùn)

Pictures of Eason Chan

Eason Chan is a Hong Kong singer and actor, who started his music career in 1995. Over the years, he has won a number of the Golden Melody Awards, among various other awards. From 2016 to 2020, he was the most-streamed artist in Hong Kong on Spotify. And his album, U87, was named by Time magazine as one of the "five Asian albums worth buying" in 2006.

Many of his songs are considered the sound of an era for Millennials in the Chinese-speaking world.

Although a lot of his songs are in Cantonese, there are many in Mandarin and suitable for Chinese learners, for example, 十年 (shí nián), 孤勇者 (gū yǒng zhě), 红玫瑰 (hóng méi guī), 你的背包 (nǐ de bèi bāo), K 歌之王 (K gē zhī wáng), and 爱情转移 (ài qíng zhuǎn yí).

Jonathan Lee (李宗盛 Lǐ Zōngshèng)

Pictures of Jonathan Lee

Jonathan Lee is a Taiwanese musician, producer, and luthier. Born in 1958, he is now considered one of the most influential and respected figures in Mandopop music.

Started his music career in 1980, and plenty of his music is still popular. Some of his hits that are also considered classic include 山丘 (shān qiū), 给自己的歌 (gěi zì jǐ de gē), 真心英雄 (zhēn xīn yīng xióng), and 漂洋过海来看你 (piāo yáng guò hǎi lái kàn nǐ).

Teresa Teng (邓丽君 Dèng Lìjūn)

Pictures of Teresa Teng

Teresa Teng passed away in 1995 but still remains popular today. She was a Taiwanese singer, actress, musician and philanthropist. She has become a cultural icon in Mandopop and is sometimes referred to as "Asia's eternal queen of pop".

Her easy lyrics and clear voice make her songs great for beginners. Some good and classic songs to start with include 甜蜜蜜 (tián mì mì), 月亮代表我的心 (yuè liàng dàibiǎo wǒ de xīn, The Moon Represents My Heart), 小城故事 (xiǎo chéng gù shì), 夜来香 (yè lái xiāng) and 我只在乎你 (wǒ zhǐ zài hū nǐ).

Faye Wong (王菲 Wáng Fēi)

Pictures of Faye Wong

Born in Beijing in 1969, Faye Wong started her career as a singer and songwriter in Hong Kong in 1989. Early in her career, she used the stage name Shirley Wong as well.

She is hugely popular in the Chinese-speaking world, and is often called the "Diva of Asia". She was also recognized by Guinness World Records as the Best Selling Canto-Pop Female in 2000.

Many of her songs, with beautiful melodies and her recognizable voice, are still popular today. Some good examples (in Mandarin Chinese) are 红豆 (hóng dòu), 如愿 (rú yuàn), 旋木 (xuán mù), 传奇 (chuán qí), 闷 (mèn) and 因为爱情 (yīn wèi ài qíng, this is collaborated with Eason Chan mentioned above).

Mayday (五月天 wǔ yuè tiān)

Pictures of Mayday

Mayday is a Taiwanese C-pop rock band that released their debut album in 1999. The band has five members and is dubbed the Beatles of the Chinese-speaking world. The band is also one of the most popular bands in Mandopop.

Their songs are generally easy for beginners, and you are sure to find something you enjoy from their over 20-year career. Some good songs to start with are 突然好想你 (tú rán hǎo xiǎng nǐ), 知足 (zhī zú), 伤心的人别听慢歌 (shāng xīn de rén bié tīng màn gē), 你不是真正的快乐 (nǐ bú shì zhēn zhèng de kuài lè), 倔强 (jué jiàng), and more.

F.I.R. (飞儿乐团 fēi er yuè tuán)

Pictures of F.I.R.

F.I.R. is a C-pop rock band from Taiwan. Formed in 2002, the band consists of three members including Faye (lead vocals), Ian Chen (keyboards), and Real Huang (guitar, vocals). The name of the band is made up of their English initials. However, Faye left the band in 2018 and they announced a new lead singer, Lydia, in the same year.

Their first album, F.I.R. (same as the band name), came out in 2004 and they won the Golden Melody Awards for Best New Artist the same year. They gained most of their popularity while Faye was the lead singer, partially due to her memorable and unique voice.

Many of their songs come with a beautiful melody, and they are generally easy, which is suitable for beginners. Some of their hits include 你的微笑 (nǐ de wéi xiào), Lydia, 我们的爱 (wǒ men de ài), 千年之恋 (qiān nián zhī liàn), 月牙湾 (yuè yá wān), and 光芒 (guāng máng).


Pictures of S.H.E.

S.H.E is a Taiwanese C-pop girl group whose members are Selina Jen, Hebe Tien, and Ella Chen, and each member has her own unique and recognizable voice. The group's name comes from the initials of their English names.

Formed in 2000, they released their first album in 2001 named Girl's Dom (女生宿舍 nǚ shēng sù shè), and have since recorded 13 albums with total sales exceeding 10 million. They are considered one of the most successful Mandopop groups.

Their songs are overall brisk and lively, and the lyrics are generally easy. They have one of the best songs for Chinese learners, which is literally named 中国话 (zhōng guó huà, Chinese Language), and the lyrics include many fun and classic Chinese tongue twisters.

Their other popular songs that are also wonderful for beginning learners include 美丽新世界 (měi lì xīn shì jiè), Super Star, 热带雨林 (rè dài yǔ lín), SHERO, 不想长大 (bù xiǎng zhǎng dà) and 波斯猫 (bōsī māo, Persian Cat).

Wowkie Da (大张伟 Dà Zhāng Wěi)

Pictures of Wowkie Da

Wowkie Da (real name 张伟 Zhāng Wěi) is a Chinese singer, songwriter, actor and show host.

In 1998, he and other three members formed a rock/punk band in Beijing, named The Flowers (花儿乐队 huā er yuè duì), and he was the lead vocals. Before the band disbanded in 2009, they released a number of songs that were popular throughout China and won them various awards, such as 穷开心 (qióng kāi xīn), 我的果汁分你一半 (wǒ de guǒ zhī fēn nǐ yī bàn), 嘻唰唰 (xī shuā shuā), 我是你的罗密欧 (wǒ shì nǐ de luó mì ōu), and 静止 (jìng zhǐ).

After starting his solo career, he continued The Flower's overall happy and cheerful music style, with the addition of EDM elements. His popularity was not hurt but increased. He also dabbled in the variety show business.

With the mission of spreading happiness, his music is generally fun, happy, and high energy, and the lyrics are simple and often quite funny, which is great for beginners. Some of his hits include 倍儿爽 (bèi er shuǎng), 阳光彩虹小白马 (yáng guāng cǎi hóng xiǎo bái mǎ), 我怎么这么好看 (wǒ zěn me zhè me hǎo kàn), and 我是一颗跳跳糖 (wǒ shì yī kē tiào tiào táng).

New Pants (新裤子 xīn kù zi)

Pictures of New Pants

New Pants is a Chinese rock band established in 1996, currently with four members Peng Lei (vocal), Pang Kuan (keyboard), Zhao Meng (bass), and Hayato Kitō (drum).

They are one of the most representative bands influenced by the New wave in mainland China. Although well-known in the rock music industry, they gained their popularity after participating in a variety show called The Big Band (乐队的夏天 yuè duì de xià tiān) and won first place.

Some of their popular songs include 没有理想的人不伤心 (méi yǒu lǐ xiǎng de rén bù shāng xīn), 你要跳舞吗 (nǐ yào tiào wǔ ma), and 别再问我什么是迪斯科 (bié zài wèn wǒ shén me shì dísīkē).

汪峰 Wāng Fēng

Pictures of Wang Feng

Wang Feng is a Chinese singer, rock musician, and composer. He was the founder and lead vocals of the Chinese rock band No.43 Baojia Street, which was formed in 1994. He later started his solo career in 2000 after releasing his own album Fireworks (花火 huā huǒ).

His music is known to be passionate and often reflects on people's lives, and the lyrics are poetic (but not hard, which is great for Chinese learning).

Over the years, he has had a number of hits that are highly received and won him various awards. Some of these include 飞得更高 (fēi dé gèng gāo), 存在 (cún zài), 怒放的生命 (nù fàng de shēng mìng), 花火 (huā huǒ), and 春天里 (chūn tiān lǐ).


Pictures of Vava

Rap is a great way to learn Mandarin.

Vava (real name 毛衍七 Máo Yǎnqī) gained her fame after taking part in the variety show The Rap of China. The show aimed at bringing underground rappers into the spotlight, and she was the only female in season 1 that reached the top four. A few of her songs performed in the show maintained their popularity, such as 我的新衣 (wǒ de xīn yī, My New Swag, which also was featured in the film Crazy Rich Asians) and Life's a Struggle.

Bibi Zhou (周笔畅 Zhōu Bǐchàng)

Pictures of Bibi Zhou

Zhou Bichang (also known as Bibi Zhou) is a Chinese singer, songwriter, and actress. She started her career and gained huge popularity after winning second place in a singing contest variety show called Super Girl in 2005.

She has been active since, and until 2021, she received over 200 awards in China as well as overseas.

Some of her popular songs include 是谁动了我的琴弦 (shì shéi dòng le wǒ de qín xián), 对嘴 (duì zuǐ), 笔记 (bǐ jì), 鱼罐头 (yú guàn tóu), and 大家一起喜羊羊 (dà jiā yì qǐ xǐ yáng yáng, this song is sorta a children's song, which is simple and happy).


Pictures of TFBoys

TFBOYS (sometimes also referred to as The Fighting Boys) is a Chinese boy/idol group with three members including Karry Wang (王俊凯 Wáng Jùnkǎi), Roy Wang (王源 Wáng Yuán), and Jackson Yee (易烊千玺 Yì Yángqiānxǐ).

The group debuted in 2013 when the three were around the age of 12, and they soon became one of the most popular idol groups in China. They are considered one of the most influential groups in the Mandopop industry for young idol groups.

Now each member is focusing more on their solo careers as singers and actors, and each has their own huge fan base.

Their songs are generally simple, lively, and brisk, definitely a great choice for new Chinese learners. Some good examples are 青春修炼手册 (qīng chūn xiū liàn shǒu cè), 宠爱 (chǒng ài), 大梦想家 (dà mèng xiǎng jiā), AMIGO, and 魔法城堡 (mó fǎ chéng bǎo).

Phoenix Legend (凤凰传奇 fèng huáng chuán qí)

Pictures of Phoenix Legend

Phoenix Legend is a C-pop music duo with female vocalists 杨魏玲花 (Yáng Wèi Línghuā) and 曾毅 (Zēng yì). Their music features a mixture of Chinese folk music with pop elements like rap and hip-hop.

Their first album, Above the Moon (月亮之上 yuè liàng zhī shàng), came out in 2005 and they gained national attention. Some of their songs went viral among all ages of people, and are frequently played in parks where groups of people (typically women over 40) dance together as their social and exercising activities.

If you want to learn about the unique Chinese folk music style blended with pop elements, this duo is absolutely the one. Their popular songs include 最炫民族风 (zuì xuàn mín zú fēng), 月亮之上, 自由飞翔 (zì yóu fēi xiáng), and 云山 (yún shān).

Where To Listen to The Best C-Pop Songs

You can find most of the best C-pop songs listed and many others on popular websites like YouTube, Apple Music, and Spotify. Chinese streaming apps like QQ Music, NetEase Cloud Music, and KuGou are also great ways to listen to C-pop as they can help you grow your playlist with recommendations for similar songs you already enjoy.

How to Listen to The Best C-Pop Songs

Once you find the Mandarin pop songs you like the best, you can listen to them often. Repetition is important in learning a new language, and luckily music makes this easy to do.

It's also a good idea to find your favorite songs and music videos that have subtitles. This can make it easier to follow allow and learn the words.

You can also make a vocabulary list of the words to help you learn as you listen. If a song is too complicated, move on to something easier and come back to it later.

Final Thoughts

The Pandaist app is still the most comprehensive way to learn Mandarin, but listening to the best C-pop songs is a fun and important way to study. Music can help you easily improve your vocabulary and listening skills while learning about the popular culture. Before you know it, you will be light-years away from where you started.

Even though C-pop is not as well known as K-pop, it is a very valuable learning tool and there are many, many songs to choose from. There really is something for everyone!

We hope you enjoy this list of the best C-pop songs, and that you will be impressing people with your Karaoke skills in no time.