I can't stand Chinese music
Anyone else feel this way? No, it's not that "it's all mushy pop songs" or anything like that. It's just that any and all music sung in Chinese sounds like it's sung by Americans who have just learned the language and didn't care about pronounciation. It always sounds like they're mangling the Chinese language. I'm all "If you can't pronounce it properly, sing in a different language! You're just embarrassing yourself."
It's all because of the lack of tones, of course. Remove the tones from Chinese and it doesn't sound like Chinese. If you've heard someone speak Chinese with all the wrong tones, you know what I'm talking about. Anyone who sings in Chinese sounds like that to me.
Am I alone in this?
calkinsDecember 15, 2009, 04:26 PM
I agree that most Chinese "fluffy pop" is very boring with little creativity. But I disagree about Chinese singing sounding bad. Actually, I think it can often be quite beautiful.
Ever listen to 王菲？ Singing doesn't get much more beautiful than that, whether she's singing in Mandarin, Cantonese, or without tones.
And 周杰倫, even though you can't understand a word he's singing, makes some pretty incredible music!
Even without the tones, in general I think the sounds are very 好聽....the qi's, the ch's and sh's, x's, etc. etc.
And it's still a great tool for learning Chinese, tones or not.
changyeDecember 16, 2009, 06:03 AM
Tones in Chinese songs is just a mystery for me. Cathy, a native Chinese girl, told me before that she sometimes has difficulty understanding what a singer is saying in Chinese, but I think there is more or less the same problem in any language.
Actually it's not so difficult to read Chinese lyrics written with pinyin (and without tone marks) as long even for foreigners as they are written using familiar words, such as 爱你，离开，and 永远. How about Cantonese songs? Cantonese has six to nine tones, hehe.
mao4catDecember 15, 2009, 07:31 PM
After telling us "巧克力 (qiǎokèlì, chocolate) - not awesome - sucks", you are now complaining about music in Mandarin - "sounds like badly pronounced Mandarin".
What is next?
simonpetterssonDecember 15, 2009, 07:44 PM
Pretzellogic: I'm sure I'll warm up to Chinese music as I get familiar with hearing it. It just struck me as a weird phenomenon, how my brain made the connection between spoken Mandarin sans tones (bad Mandarin) and sung Mandarin (which is of course not bad Mandarin, but sounds like it to my ears).
Mao4cat: For my next trick, I shall demonstrate how you are all fools for studying this silly language!
Joking aside, I think some things in Mandarin are rad to the bone and other things are less so. They're all my personal opinions; please don't take it to heart. I don't expect everyone to agree with me and I apologise if I have made it sound like these are universal laws of right and wrong. I spend many hours a day studying this language—I would not do so if not for a profound love for it.
xiaophilDecember 15, 2009, 11:10 PM
I dislike Chinese music (in general) for the reason you made clear you don't dislike it. I don't dig the fluff unless it is ironic. More and more I am finding exceptions to my "I dislike Chinese" music rule, however. As for the tone thing, I never had a problem with it.
Good luck on your quest to find a like-minded person on this topic ;)
xiaohuDecember 15, 2009, 11:20 PM
Just not MODERN Chinese music. Modern Mando-Pop that expecially the kind that comes from Taiwan is an absolute abomination! I love everything about China EXCEPT the music. It's not got anything to do with the lanaguage, it's that everything is R&B / Hip-Hop derived, uncreative, wannabe American/Western trash.
American music isn't any better. I despise it too.
Let's hope a new decade ushers in a new 时代 of music.
jckeithDecember 16, 2009, 12:05 AM
I like some of the Chinese pop music that isn't of the Rap/R&B variety. I'm a huge fan of F.I.R., for example. They remind me more of Japanese pop than Chinese pop, though. I'm pretty sick of ballads too. Trying to find a non-ballad on baidu is like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles.
cy38250December 16, 2009, 12:52 AM
as a chinese, I do not suggest you listen to the song of JAY周杰伦，expecially his Modern Mando-Pop music，we native chinese can not understand it either~
you can try some chinese classical music,maybe you will like it~
simonpetterssonDecember 15, 2009, 04:34 PM
Please note that I mentioned specifically that I'm NOT saying that "Chinese 'fluffy pop' is very boring with little creativity". I have nothing against fluffy pop, in any language. And the music in Cantonese or other Chinese dialects that I don't understand is not a problem, of course. But music in Mandarin, to me, sounds like badly pronounced Mandarin.
pretzellogicDecember 16, 2009, 02:49 AM
simonpettersson, Chinese music as a category is so broad, i'm sure you'll find something you like. So unless you are really closed-minded, my take is that you'll end up liking some tunes by Chinese artists, and hating some tunes by Chinese artists. If you're lucky, one of your kung fu classmates will have some tunes that will blow you away, and you'll be hooked for life. From what little i've seen, most of the Kung Fu schools don't have TV for you to watch the constant daily stream of singing/singers. I'm not a big fan of that.
xiaohuDecember 16, 2009, 03:15 AM
Actually I shouldn't make sweeping generalizations. I do like some modern Chinese and Taiwanese music.
S.H.E. - Some okay tunes. （比如，“你最近还好吗”）
齐秦 - Some great ballads (比如，“我绝不放手”)
光良 - More great ballads (“第一次” 就是最好听的)
王力宏 - Pre 2003 music was great! （最好听的就是，“如果你听见我的歌”）
simonpetterssonDecember 16, 2009, 04:57 AM
I should have known this would turn into a discussion of MandoPop. :)
Pretzel: I won't have any kung fu classmates. I'm getting private instruction. Well, most of the time. Occasionally there will be another foreigner there, but no Chinese students.
Anyway, there is some pretty good music out there in Mandarin. I dig 谢天笑, for example, though I've only heard two songs: 我不爱你 and 约定的地方. Both pretty good songs. They don't sound terribly broken to me, language-wise. The first one sounds pretty descent, since the melody often follows the actual tones, more or less. The second one sounds worse, though. the stress on the 的 in the chorus sounds pretty weird.
I can't do links from home (the buttons don't show up), but here are the URLs to the songs:
pretzellogicDecember 16, 2009, 05:03 AM
whoa, I thought you were going to take kung fu with 1000 of your closest friends, sleeping in unheated rooms, a measly shower once a month, doing menial dogwork when you're not practicing martial arts, eating bitter as you purified your heart and turned your body into hardened steel, and a lethal weapon. Private instruction? Private instruction? Private instruction??!?!?!
Oh, and no joke about Beijing Opera. I think it's the musical instruments. It's almost like, "they can't be serious...."
changyeDecember 16, 2009, 05:12 AM
I often listend to Chinese pop music before, but not so often now, because I got tired of them, which have weak characteristics. Chinese songs, especially ballades, all sound the same to me, although I agree that they are very beautiful. Nowadays I only listen to 邓丽君 (Teresa Teng), my best favorite singer!
markDecember 16, 2009, 05:59 AM
I probably still count as among the tone challenged. So, I live in a glass house on this topic, but I think the rythm of Chinese is very fitting for some kinds of music. (an example: MC Hot Dog <差不多先生〉）
bodaweiDecember 16, 2009, 02:40 AM
As Calkins says, Chinese music is great listening practice (if you think that native speakers always use the tones you are learning you are greatly mistaken.) It is repetitive and usually quite clear (useful for learners) and it is relevant because native speakers enjoy these songs. But if you don't like it you don't like it.
Traditional music - I don't know whether many Chinese themselves understand what is being sung (they have subtitles at the opera.) But I find some of it exquisitely beautiful.
When you get to China you'll find yourself bombarded by music and noise in general (unless you are ensconced in a monastery.) Get ready !!!..