Pop music is a genre favored by young people. It is termed as a nice cocktail of musical sounds and rhythm (Clines 10). Pop music is the most popular music type nowadays. Rather than appeal to a specific taste, pop music is designed to attract a broad audience. This fashionable appeal allows pop music to attract a great number of people. Also because the emotion drawn from pop music originates from the soul, it is natural that people would think that pop music represents their thoughts.
As it’s named, pop music is the reflection of modern pop culture (Blush 24). However, different people have different tastes in the music they like. People from different countries also have different judgments on the kinds of music they want. Originated from different counties, Chinese pop music, and U.S pop music is quite different. Compared to pop music in the US, Chinese pop music is immature. Chinese pop music is less open-minded, has less types of music than pop music in the US. However, it is developing and getting better.
Various subtopics will be used to analyze the difference between U.S. pop music and Chinese pop music. The study will also focus on sexuality and violence in U.S. pop and C-pop.
Development of US Pop
American Jazz was introduced in late1920’s by Buck Clayton and it instantly became popular. Most of the U.S pop music started in the early 19th century and developed novel types in the 20th century. These were characterized by the introduction of jazz, rock, and R&B. The traditional or classical music was still more popular at that time (Maasik 21).
American pop music has had the most significant effect on music and it’s still influential across the globe. It is quite diverse cutting across various genres like hip hop, rock, jazz, blues, R&B, soul, techno, and many others. American pop music originated from different types of genres that were contained in popular music (Toby 80). A better understanding can be highlighted by focusing on the soul and hip-hop genre.
Soul music can be attributed to a unique type of rock music called psychedelic rock. It is smooth music with a slow tempo accompanied by classical mild beats. The political situation at the time instigated soul music when different artists came out to air their opinions. Artists like Marvin Gaye sang about social issues and political issues. His most popular song what’s going on talked about issues that he felt were not right amongst the black community. Artists like Ray Charles created a dance-oriented type of soul that progressed to funk music. (Ewen 27).
Hip hop involves dancing called break dancing, rapping, DJing, and other various forms of art like graffiti painting. Hip hop music is, however, the driving force behind hip hop and it is classified into two: Rapping which is swift high rhythmic presented with lyrical vocals, the other one is DJing a form of instrumentation from disk machines popularly known as turntables.
It began in the ’70s in New York City at The Bronx with a Jamaican immigrant called DJ Kool Herc (Rubin 40). Herc used to play funk and rock songs to the audience then he used Emcees who were people that introduce a song and talk about it for a while. The Emcees would also dance to the music. It later became a trend and DJs started to separate the rhythmic climax of various songs and ended up creating a repeated beat that Emcees used to rap over.
Greetings were passed out and the Emcees used to brag hilariously as part of the rap songs. This was accompanied by a breakdance where people danced in a motion similar to the beat produced. In the early ’80s songs like Rappers Delight by Run DMC ruled the airwaves comprising lyrics like “I say hip hop, the hop is hip, you boogie and you never stop”.
Other artists emerged in groups like Public enemy which focused on conscious messages tackling the ongoing issues in America like politics while a group like N.W.A. new world order rapped about life in the ghetto that is common among the black community and referred to it as gangster rap which is still popular even today (Rubin 49).
Creativity in US pop
Most US pop musicians are creative and they come up with their lyrics. For instance, a hip-hop group like Public enemy focuses on coming up with conscious messages that tackle the ongoing issues in America like politics. An artist like Nas sang a song called I know I can which was aimed at urging young people to follow their dreams and to never give up. It is this type of creativity that focuses on passing a message that people can relate to that differentiates US pop and C-pop. (Rubin 38).
The main genres in C-pop are Chinese rock, Chinese hip hop, and R&B which are very few as compared to U.S. pop which comprises hip hop, rock, jazz, blues, R&B, soul, techno, and many others (Miller 20). A good example is in the genre of hip hop. In Chinese hip hop, there is a song called I got funk this is a song by a Chinese artist who goes by the name Funky Chen. His music is not in any way authentic it focuses on emulating a typical lifestyle in an American Ghetto, and he spots a blue checked bandana which is a dress code affiliated with a certain gang in L.A. This shows that a lot is borrowed from the U.S. in this particular genre.
In C-pop not all types of music have been borrowed from the U.S. There is a type of music called Guoyu. It is characterized by tender vocals accompanied by a violin melody. This type of music represents the true sound of authentic Chinese music. It is mainly performed by different groups in conservatory functions. During the Mao Zedong era, it was to be considered religious music, but it was later accepted as conventional in the pro-communist philosophy.
Thus C-pop is less diverse because most of the genres of music originated from America. Although C-pop is less diverse, it is comprised of various forms of original music that are not in the U.S pop.
Development of C-Pop
Chinese R&B began in the ’90s and was initiated by Alex To. At the same time, Shanghai Pop music gradually spread to Guangdong and formed Cantopop. This type of music spread to Hong Kong during the period of the ’70s. Hoikkien was dejected in Taiwan and made mando-pop dictate music in the entire Taiwan nation.
Unfortunately, C-pop was largely marketed by the term “Yellow Music” and banned after the Second World War. This ban occurred at a time when the world of music was rapidly evolving. It is during this time that genres like rhythm and blues were emerging in the United States. These genres later came to transform into new genres. The ban in China slowed down this transformation in C-pop. If it were not for the ban, C-pop would have been more developed.
Creativity in C-pop compared to US pop
Music in China is less developed and has been entirely dependent on various genres that have emerged in the US. Genres like hip hop and rock in China started as renditions which were mere translations of works done in the US C-pop as it is popularly referred to, is still immature and lacks creativity. A good example is Shania Twain’s song A man of mine which was done by Jane Zhang in the Mandarin language the most popular Chinese language (Schuler 50).
In the US, pop music is done by artists of all ages. A song like a Whip my hair is done was done by Willow a nine-year-old who still managed to produce a brilliant song. An artist like LL Cool J who was among the first people to do hip hop music is still singing in his late 40’s. Age is not considered a big issue in US pop. However, in China, only young people between the ages of 20 to 30 do pop music while the older artists stick to classic or traditional music.
Comparison of content in C-pop and US pop concerning Sex and Violence
American popular music has been accused of encouraging violence and promoting sexuality. In a genre like hip hop, most lyrics focus on violence and sexuality where the images portrayed in the videos show people fighting and women dancers dressed in a suggestive manner (Ewen 26). A good example is Combicheist song Shut Up and Swallow The lyrics “And you want it in your eyes/as I spit in your face/Face down on the floor/Hold you by your neck/Do you feel like a wreck/Your best life kiddo/Now shut up and swallow” talks about how a man wants his partner to suffer. We can see that the song is not friendly.
The man singing this song is trying to be aggressive. He wants to hurt people. Some men indeed feel as if they have lost control of women, and are using outdated gender roles in their songs. They are intentionally produced to appeal to the young audience. However, these sorts of messages and images end up influencing young people negatively as they try to emulate what they see and hear.
In China, the level of the negative influence of pop music is minimal due to its limited freedom. There is a lot of control when it comes to C-pop because the Chinese government tries to control what is aired to the audience. There is less focus on violence and sexuality. Songs that are considered to have inappropriate language are banned and all videos are screened thoroughly to ensure they are suitable to the viewers (Miller 18).
Comparison in the Development of C-Pop and US Pop
When a genre like R&B was being initiated by Alex To in the ’90s, it had already started decades before in the U.S. during the period of the ’50s and early ’60s. A genre like Hip hop in the U.S. started in the late ’70s as underground music in New York and later became a nationally recognized genre in the ’80s.
Chinese hip hop as it is popularly referred to begin as a foreign genre that was only accessed via imported American hip hop. It gradually grew popular in the late ’90s among teenagers in China who tried to mimic the hip hop culture through dress code and listening to hip hop music. This shows that C-pop developed following the footsteps of US pop.
Chinese Pop Music Is However Developing
Over the years, various artists have tried to improve the Music industry in China people like Roman Tam, Anita Mui, and Teresa Teng are considered to be legends in the development of the Hong Kong and Taiwan music industry. These artists defied the strict laws put in place and continued to do music that they felt was appropriate. Laws have been put in place that give more freedom to artists although there is still a lot to be done. Currently, some campaigns are trying to sensitize the need for promoting C-pop so that it can grow into a profitable industry than it is.
Pop music is a genre favored by young people. It is termed as a nice cocktail of musical sounds and rhythm. American pop music has had the most significant effect on music and it’s still influential across the globe. It is quite diverse cutting across various genres like hip hop, rock, jazz, blues, R&B, soul, techno, and many others.
C-pop was largely marketed by the term “Yellow Music” and banned after the Second World War. The ban in China slowed down the transformation in C-pop. If it were not for the ban, it would have been more developed. Music in China is entirely dependent on various genres that have emerged in the US Genres like hip hop and rock in China started as renditions which were mere translations of works done in the U.S.
In C-pop nonetheless, not all types of music have been borrowed from the U.S. There is a type of music called Guoyu. It is characterized by tender vocals accompanied with instruments the violin. This type of music represents the true sound of authentic Chinese music.
C-pop is slowly developing as the years progress. Laws have been put in place that gives more freedom to artists and some campaigns are trying to sensitize the need for promoting C-pop so that it can grow into a profitable industry than it is. American popular music has been accused of encouraging violence and promoting sexuality.
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