In my last entry I wrote about Wednesday’s concert and I said that the band I liked the best was 花儿 (the Flowers). Since writing that post I have gone out and bought their latest CD and given it a good listen. What to say? Hmmm…
At the concert, Flowers was certainly the band with the most energy and enthusiasm. They have quite a few fast-paced songs. I haven’t heard their earlier stuff, but listening to this new CD, I think it would be a mistake to think of this band as “punk,” even if it’s only in the most poppy adolescent bubble gum way, like Sum-41 or MXPX. The music on the new CD, 我是你的罗密欧 (“I’m your Romeo”), could probably be best described as fast-paced pop, with some sappy ballads thrown in as well for that broader appeal (the Chinese are all about the ballad).
The article Brad linked to mentioned that the Flowers have toned their sound way down in order to make more money. I don’t suppose I can begrudge them that. This is a group of Chinese kids without much education who are making a living on their music (although it’s questionable how much of the music is really “theirs” now). That’s pretty impressive. In part, the music takes me back to high school, going to $4 punk shows put on by high school bands like Speed the Minnow. Speed the Minnow definitely rocked a little harder, though. (They also didn’t make any money or sell out, which is probably why the band no longer exists.)
Forgetting the whole ideal of “Chinese punk” for a second, I think that if the Flowers are simply a small part of a trend toward faster paced music, it’s progress of some kind. (No modern society’s music can stall in “ballad mode” forever, right? RIGHT?!?)
My favorite song on the CD is definitely “陪你去“. It’s probably the “hardest” of anything on the CD. The song is basically a fun little ghost story. The funny thing is, before looking at the lyrics I had thought the singer was saying “over and over again” but according to the lyric sheet he’s saying, “apparition apparition creep.” Nope, I can’t hear that at all.
So I think it’s safe to say I was a little disappointed by the CD, although in retrospect, this is probably exactly what I should have expected. What was most shocking was the photos decorating the CD. Allow me to give you a progression.
An older picture of the Flowers (during their “punker” days, I imagine):
The Flowers as we saw them at their latest show, more or less:
The Flowers as they appear on their latest CD (and these pictures aren’t the worst ones):
Do I even need to suggest where this frightening trend is going…??
(Note the pants on boy-o in the blue there. …shudder…)