Chinese music: from freshman to graduate

By Luo Yunzhou Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/29 19:23:40


Guo Zhikai Photo: Li Hao/GT


CDs of Chinese pop singers Photo: Li Hao/GT


"For me, the evolution of music in the Chinese mainland was like a student going through four years of college life," well-known Chinese music critic Guo Zhikai told the Global Times.

"During the 1980s, mainland music was like a freshman who just entered the music world, curious about all the new songs," the 46-year-old said.

"Most mainland musicians were directly copying from Hong Kong and Taiwan songs," he explained.

When entering in its "second year," mainland music started to become livelier as karaoke bars and dance clubs gained in popularity.

"After 1992, with the development of discos, Chinese musicians like Dou Wei and Mao Ning began singing at bars and became known for their stage performances."

Another important year for Chinese pop music was 1994, since this is when a new genre, "campus romance," was created.

From 1993 to 1995, music in the Chinese mainland blew up, with a great many popular original songs being created. It is regarded as the most prosperous time in the Chinese music industry in the past 40 years, Guo said.

"The third phase is a bit complicated," Guo explained.

"The year 2000 to 2004 was a strong period for Chinese pop music, but after 2005 the music industry experiences a sharp decline."

Usually a senior year student has improved quite a bit since their freshman year, but Guo feels this is not the case for the mainland music industry. In his opinion, the industry after 2010 has been skating by on borrowed prosperity from earlier periods.

"We have a large variety of songs, genres and pop stars today, but none of them are contributing to the development of our own music. We've lost ourselves," Guo said.


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