Chinese
Rock has had a tumultuous lifespan since its inception to the place it is
today. In the past, rock music in the country was affiliated to protests
against the Chinese government. This was the phenomenon in the 1980’s, and a
factor that contributed to its going underground. Owing to the manner of the
start, Chinese rock has sparsely been documented, and most visits on the rock
music’s past and present is etched in news articles from popular magazines
(Knight, 2015).

I delved into available literature from web
magazines such as BBC, the New Yorker and New York Times to try gaining some
perspective of Chinese rock music and comparing it with its American
equivalent. A good review of Chinese Rock artists, however, was given by
culturetrip.com. This search included looking into the manner in which the
music has grown, some challenges, and the spot it takes in the country. The
main reason that tempted me to perform this search is my obvious and glaring
interest in diverse cultures, and my inadvertent liking of rock music. I am so
much interested in rock; such that I always find myself listening to rock
anytime am seated down to relax. I am fond of attending popular rock shows
whenever I have time, and can afford it. Having once attended a show by Liang
Long at Beijing, my preference of Chinese rock is ever increasing.

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Incidentally, I always find myself comparing their music to contemporary American
artists like Linkin Park.

Comparison

One of the distinctive features that
characterize Chinese music, as opposed to its American counterpart is state
intervention. As stated earlier, in the past, Chinese rock was taken to be a
protest against the government. Musicians were targeted and bans imposed,
making the music to mostly survive underground. Most of the country was locked
off the western music, and most western genres were least appreciated. In order
to get foreign cassettes and at least have a foretaste of the Western sounds,
artists like Cui Jian had to use uncouth means and smuggle the merchandise to
their possession. Performances by such names as Rolling Stones or Linkin Park
were previously unheard of. Lately, however, popular rock culture is being
appreciated, and an emerging breed of Chinese rock artists is on the rise.

According to Waterfield (2016), Chinese music
was heavily restricted in the past. Owing to the smuggling of cassettes and
underground playoffs, the music has been proliferating with time. Contrary,
American rock music is dated back to the 1950s and 1960s where such genes as
rock and roll were precedent. In the United States, music has been more liberal
over time, and diversification was quite easy. As a matter of fact, the current
position that Chinese rock music stands can only be compared to the American
rock at the 60s. Chinese rock is mostly ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ as noted by Kent (2009)
and N.D. (2014). The former states that some of the fast upcoming Chinese rock
artists are taking up their latest export to the United States, rock ‘n’ roll,
to the United States. The author exemplifies the latest American ventures by
Carsick Cars and P.K. 14. N.D. (2014), on the other hand, noted the performance
of Rolling Stones in Beijing in 2016, and positively attributed it to the
current development and acceptance of music in China. In addition, the author
noted the preference of rock ‘n’ roll in the country, and the manner in which
crowds chant at the music.

Looking at the nature of acceptance and the
ventures the musicians undertake to have their voices heard in the West, and
such actions as smuggling of cassettes to her the music, it is evident that
Chinese music is greatly influenced by American music. A good example is the
all-girl rock group ‘Hang on the Box’. This group sings in English, using
intensely sexist language that was uncommon in China. Further, despite being
Chinese, their music is more appreciated in the United States as opposed to
China.

Most of the intended audience for Chinese music,
according to Lim (2014) is the young. A performance by Liang Long in the United
States attracted young and current Chinese immigrants in droves. Additionally,
the styles used were mostly the rock ‘n’ roll genres of the 90s properly mixed
with a good set of instruments. Contrary, American music has veered off from
the originality that was prevalent in the 90s, with eroding genres, every now
and then.

Critique

            Popular culture espouses various
facets of the human life. It has been used to express ideas and ideologies on
such concepts as governance. Further, it has been used to influence the manner
people express themselves. The control of Western intrusion to Chinese music
indicates the level of influence that such music can have. Banning of such music
as ‘Nothing to My Name’ by the Chinese government follows in the same order. A visit
by Chinese artists to the United States leads to an influx of Chinese
immigrants meaning that the culture reinforces social bonds. Identities are
fortified, and cultures are expressed and recognized through popular culture.

Popular culture is unifying and can assist in the integration of the society.

References

Kent,
J. L. (2009, Nov 13). China’s latest export — rock ‘n’ roll — hits the U.S.

CNN. Retrieved       from http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/11/12/china.rock/index.html

N.D.

(2014, Mar 16). It’s only rock ‘n roll (but they like it).  The
Economist. Retrieved from             https://www.economist.com/blogs/analects/2014/03/western-music-china

Lim,
A. (2014, Nov 10). Reinventing Alternative Rock in China. The New Yorker.

Retrieved         from https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/reinventing-rock-china

Knight,
H. (2015, Jun 2). Inside Beijing’s Underground Rock Scene. BBC. Retrieved from             http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150602-how-to-be-a-rock-star-in-beijing

Waterfield,
D. (2016, Oct 24). The Rise Of Chinese Rock In 10 Bands. Culture Trip. Retrieved      from
https://theculturetrip.com/asia/china/articles/dim-sum-and-rock-n-roll-10-chinese-     rock-bands/