ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Chinese Music that Rocks

Updated on January 26, 2013

MC Hotdog to warm you up to the subject

Discussion of Chinese rock music

This is a personal review of Chinese music derived from recommendations from friends and music CDs I have combed through. If you can find a bricks and mortar book store with its doors still open, you might find some Chinese music in the World Music section. That Chinese music tends to be traditional, melodic and culturally edifying, but it is not the music that I listen to. I grew up on rock, and music has to have a strong beat for me to want to listen to it. So, I screen Chinese music with a rock music sensibility.

My knowledge of Chinese music is certainly less than that of the average Chinese youth, but probably a great deal more than the average white guy. I hope that my perspective adds some value as that of a somewhat knowledgeable outsider.

Most of my Chinese friends and acquaintances say they don't like rock. After admitting that, they will often point me to Jay Chou. Jay Chou has a reputation for combining traditional Chinese elements and a rap style. He is very popular and I am told his appearance in The Green Hornet is one of the main attractions of that movie. However, none of Jay Chou's songs have done much for me.

If Chinese music, of the kind I like, were just a pale imitation of Western music, it wouldn't be worth delving into. However, just as in the West, music is adapted to local tastes and ideas. It evolves and changes, and then perhaps influences music elsewhere. Below are a few pointers for you to explore on your own, if you wish.

It seems to me that the US music market is strongly segmented into different genres, and you won't get a hip-hop artist putting a country style song on an album, for example. The Chinese music market doesn't seem to be segmented into the same genres, and it is more common for Chinese performers to vary their style. A number of popular music stars will occasionally belt out a song that I like, and then go back to more culturally edifying, but, to me, boring songs. Jolin often produces up tempo tunes that I like. One example would be "36 Strategies of Love" . Even 王菲 (Wang Fei) has done a few songs that match my taste, even if most of her work deserves placement in the world music bins. The "Super Girl" competition of 2006? in the mainland produced a number of pop stars who will occasionally rock out, but most of their songs sound like disco to me.

There is some variation between music originating from Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland. Taiwan and Hong Kong are more influenced by western styles and attitudes. The mainland has more of its own standard. Songs from the mainland often tend to be about wholesome topics and lacking the youthful angst that sometimes makes rock so poignant. For example, 周笔畅 (Zhou BiChang) has a rap about the need to be a good person and that she would like to educate you in this regard. It is called 呃 (eh). I couldn't find a legitimate link to it on-line, though. On the other hand, mainland performers operate in a different business environment. So, it is often easier to find more of their work freely available on line, even if the distribution sites aren't legitimate by our standards.

I also think that Chinese is particularly well suited to the kind of music that I like. Syllables are always distinctly pronounced, and the singer can match the beat of the music without straining the language at all. One song that uses this particularly effectively is a silly and unkind satire, but very fun to listen to. The singer gained a small amount of fame with this song ridiculing a young woman who went viral on the Internet. The internet phenomena goes by 芙蓉姐姐 (fu rong jie jie) The song is called, 芙蓉姐夫 (fu rong jie fu)

莫文蔚 (Mo WenWei) has a clever song about getting dumped, 如果你是李白 (If you were <famous poet's name> [you could write a poem about breaking up with me that later generations admire, but you are not that cute, and I'm not that hurt].) It is a very good song despite the cheesecakey looking video

崔健 (Cui Jian) is a pioneer of rock music from the mainland. He tends to throw lots of weird and experimental sounds into his music, and his career is a bit long in the tooth. Otherwise, his music is pretty much straight up rock and roll. The lyrics tend to be particular to Chinese situations, but could be interpreted more universally.

I think some of the most innovative music, of the kind that I like comes from Taiwan. I have heard Wu Bai called the father of Taiwanese rock. I like some of his songs very much.
Sometimes, he sings Taiwanese (闽南话)rather than Mandarin, which I don't like as much, because I don't understand Taiwanese, but the music is good.

My favorite goes by the English name of, MC Hotdog。Although some Chinese friends know him by his Chinese name 姚种仁 (Yao ZhongRen) One of my favorite of his songs by him is called 黑白配 (black and white match), it is not his most ruckus, but mixes in some interesting Chinese musical elements. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a free link to this song on-line. You might be able to find something interesting of his to listen to on baidu,


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)