I’ve been listening to a lot of Chinese pop music lately. I was inspired to go down this rabbit hole after I was shared a modern song and noticed how similar the music style and how coherent the occasional English lyrics were. I just had to know how much has changed since the late 1990s and early 2000s. I used to listen to Chinese pop music around that time — putting popular Hong Kong songs into my MD Player.
It always seemed off way back then. Now the beats and musical style aligns so closely to western tastes, that the only differentiator is language. Even how artists use English lyrics have improved tremendously. In the past, English lyrics were strewn in an incoherent manner. They were used as buzz words and uttered with thick accents. Now? I can listen to a song from Ztao and Wiz Khalifa. What a weird world.
I was also inspired to get in touch with my Chinese side. I’m a Canadian Born Chinese and my comprehension of Mandarin has slipped into oblivion. It’s tough for me to even pick out words I recognize anymore. But listening to this music for the past few days has helped. I can pick out more and more words and maybe I’ll be able to actually relearn what I’ve forgotten. I was never great in the first place but I feel like I should put in more of an effort to at least get listening comprehension back to a basic level.
So what do I think of what I’ve listened to thus far? Much of it was sourced from Spotify playlists and I’ve really enjoyed the melodies. I can’t say I understand an entire song yet but that’s alright. I’m hoping it gets better with time. I really wish my comprehension was better immediately because I would love to know what Chinese rap is all about. It sounds cringeworthy and I want to know if it’s warranted.