A dance-pop duo from Thailand. "Okay," you say, "then why are they called the China Dolls?" Their name stems from their appearance; the two girls are in their early twenties and have black hair in a bob. Their album art and music videos often feature 3D cartoon representations, with heads bobbing. It's extremely cute, on the scale of about 0.74 Hello Kitties.

The two girls, Wawa and Bell, were found during a talent search conducted by a Thai record label. They burst on the scene in 1999 with a Thai album, featuring the single Single Eyelid, which quickly became a DJ favorite in Thai clubs. It sold over 1 million copies, becoming the bestselling album in 2 years, despite rampant piracy. A song from that album, the ballad Wo Ai Ni (I Love You), became immensely popular in Thailand, even though the song has a verse in Mandarin (which most Thais do not understand). The song is currently the official song of Thai Airlines.

Their second album goes back to their roots, as it is in Mandarin. This increased their popularity in other Asian countries, such as Taiwan and Singapore.

I first saw China Dolls in the music video for Ai Ai Ai (Oh Oh Oh) on MTV Asia while vacationing in the Philippines. I didn't understand a single word they said, but the pair exuded an energy that was irresistable. The production on the song pulled the right strings. The song had a fun party sound.

Upon arriving back home in the States, I proceeded to try and find some songs on Napster. This proved difficult because of the character set differences, as well as the crappy bandwidth between here and Asia. I managed to score a bunch of their songs and remixes, which thoroughly annoy my sister, but are extremely fun to listen to. I am trying to find the albums, but no domestic store carries it, even as an import. I just might have to buy it straight from Thailand. Now, if I could just understand what those characters meant...

Update 29 Jan 2001: I found a domestic (U.S.) store that sells all sorts of Asian imports. http://www.YesAsia.com for those that are interested. This is not a recommendation, as my order has not arrived yet.


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