"一无所有" ("Nothing to My Name") by Cui Jian from 新长征路上的摇滚 (“Rock ‘n’ Roll on the New Long March”) (1989)
I have no idea how and when I got to discover this album, but now that we’re finally starting with 1989, it was time to listen to it. Cui Jian is considered the “Father of Chinese Rock” and is worldwidely respected ( The Rolling Stones even played with him!) though not very popular outside China.
This is his most acclaimed song and it became an anthem when he played it at the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Wikipedia has a rather complete article in English and there is a long explanation on the lyrics. This paragrapph particularly called my attention:
Interpretations of the song’s meaning vary from one listener to the next; some people view it as a song about love and desire, while others understand it as a political metaphor, the lyrics being addressed as much to the Chinese nation as to a girlfriend. University of Florida scholar Jonathan Matusitz describes the song’s lyrics as a means of expressing politically sensitive ideas that could not be stated through any other medium. In this interpretation, the lyrics near the beginning, “I’ve asked you without end / When will you go with me / But you always laughed at me / for having nothing to my name” (“我曾经问个不休/你何时跟我走/可你却总是笑我/一无所有”) are taken to express the “humiliation and lack of individuality, possession, and personal freedom”, the “sense of loss and disorientation” among China’s youth in the 1980s. Ethnomusicologist Timothy Brace has described this common analysis of the song lyrics as “recast[ing] the setting of this piece from that of a boy talking to his girlfriend to that of a youthful generation talking to the nation as a whole.” The ambiguity is heightened by the structure of the phrase yī wú suŏ yŏu, an idiomatic chengyu. It literally means “to have nothing” and has no grammatical subject. Therefore, it can be interpreted as meaning “I have nothing” (implying that it is a song about two people), or “we have nothing” (understanding it as social commentary)
I found an interview that the CNN did to Cui Jian and the last question was if he thought that songs should have a social and serious message. Although I don’t agree that it is a compulsury element of songs, I definitely see his point when he says that “right now, most of the rock music just don’t want to touch this, it is not fashion any more and the young people think it’s not cool”.
Neon Bunny - “Bubbles” (2012)
Seoul electro-pop artist Neon Bunny made one of my favorite songs of the year so far, “It’s You,” and that one has made me revisit her earlier albums and EPs. This is one of my personal favorites, filter-disco-inspired pop with a chorus that reminds me of what Yasutaka Nakata used to pull off with Capsule. So good, and makes a Friday night spent at home trying to edit stories way more fun.
Tofubeats I think this plan backfired
By day, she is a mild-mannered office clerk, whose modest make-up and conservative hairstyle allow her to blend in with any crowd. By night, she dresses in …
This is a great story
So yeah, Lady Gaga will be having Hatsune Miku open the first leg of her American tour, in continued “Gaga loves Asian pop, I guess”
Oricon Trail For The Week Of 4/7 - 4/13
#1: SMAP - “Yes We Are/Koko Kara” (138, 968 Copies Sold)
It’s almost comforting…almost…knowing that the elderly-by-boy-band-standards SMAP can release anything and watch it skyrocket to number one, outselling everything behind it by double easily. Like knowing that how shitty your day is the sun will rise the next morning, being fully aware that SMAP don’t even have to try…look at them sit on those planets, barely moving there hands! Gaze upon the stars, and see the most depressing constellation imaginable!…to stand on top of the charts.
There is nothing to say about these songs, as there has been nothing to say about there music for quite some time. This hasn’t always been the case, even if the most interesting talking points in SMAP’s career have been the equivalent of “did you see who they were talking to at the dinner party?” Niles Rodgers produced a song for them, as did Yasutaka Nakata. That was cool, right? Yet those facts feel like the Dead Sea Scrolls, as they’ve been amazingly boring in recent years. They might take the time to party rock with LMFAO, yet even that in retrospect looks like your drunk uncle dancing to “Turn Down For What.” At least Red Foo got to say “ho” on national TV.
whenever you feel skeptical about job postings consider that this piece of questionable clip art was the one that could’ve made you a Spice Girl
E-Girls are a 28-member-strong idol pop collective constructed by Avex. The ‘E’ stands for ‘Exile,’ as in this is the female version of greased-up R&B doofs Exile. The songwriters …
This is my favorite pop album of 2014 so far, despite the fact this is supposed to be the women-filled equivalent to EXILE, who are terrible and the producers for all these songs usually work on projects I don’t like. And yet somehow they came together and agreed to make the album I sorta wish Perfume’s Level 3 actually was.
Yeah, RIYL: Glistening, every-detail-perfected pop with monster hooks (just skip the ballads). This isn’t for everyone, but if you like Perfume or Capsule, you should really check this out. Especially if you thought Perfume should be even more direct about their Yellow Magic Orchestra influence, or if they should cover more Bananarama songs (plus this one).
Great, legit surprising album.
It won’t be business as usual at Big Love Records this Saturday, April 19. The store, one of the best places to shop for records in Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku neighborhood, …
Wrote about Record Store Day Japan, which is having its biggest installment yet this year (it has been pretty negligible until now). Lots of servicey stuff for anyone who happens to live in Japan, but also a bit of an overview of why it is happening (and why some people think the folks involved don’t know what they are doing).
Great EP from one of Japan’s best young producers