From Vancouver to Beijing, Chinese pop music betrays infinite love sickness
Too many gushing Chinese love songs leave The SinoFile desperately searching for Faye Wong on YouTube. She wasn't afraid of boredom, being misunderstood, or loss.
Chinese music has by and large sucked in the past decade since famously weird superstar Faye Wong left the recording studio.
Innovation in style and lyrics has been stymied.
But don't blame the artists, blame the fans. In my experience, many Chinese audiences love a good old helping of cheese – a chronic stream of gushing love songs, NutraSweet enough to give one the runs.
Among my Chinese friends, many most loved her cheesiest, most Disney-esque song, 红豆 (hongdou -- red bean), which until today is more often played on Chinese radio stations than any other:
Faye Wong was soon replaced by whining melodramatic divas, generic boy bands, fully-grown women dressing and singing as lovestruck schoolgirls (a kind of fetishist-mongering black face, really), and mediocre attempts at rap and R&B.
All almost entirely lend their craft – the good, the bad and the ugly – to love: professing it, bemoaning its loss, longing for it. Surely, there are other emotions, in a place as diverse in experiences as the massive -- in population and geography -- Greater China Region?
I've linked to some of the not-so-hot love songs above. This one's OK, but also conveys how profoundly love-obsessed China is, particularly in the chorus: “I just want us to be together,” the desperate vocalist repeats. Typical.
This one – from Vancouver-based singer songwriter Qu Wanting – is also decent, but the song, like so many others, relies on love as a crutch – as if the only way to touch audiences is through their libido and/ or heartstrings. In it, she describes her first meeting with her lover, and how despite his absence, he'll “continue to survive on in her deep consciousness, her dreams, her heart, her song lyrics.” Whatevs.
Know what, folks -- I almost find this stuff insulting and politically offensive to the MANY people who've never experienced love, as it exists in what is allegedly art. I'm sure I'm not the only one. If you're in a relationship, I'm sure you realize that it has been made less exciting by the great expectations we learn in moody, little songs like these.
But she also sang of boredom,
(In this song, entitled 闷 – men, stuffy/ boring – Wong describes how security and a lover aren't her objectives in life).
(In this song, 脸 – lian, face – she sings an incomprehensibly poetic refrain and the chorus, which touches me most goes:
zui hao meiyou ren mingbai wo shuo shenme
It's better that no one understands what I'm saying