So, I just found out that Chinese pop icons TFBoys are on Spotify. . .and I may or may not have (totally did) downloaded their entire discography? With
quality upbeat pop anthems reminiscent of early Justin Bieber (think “Baby”) and complete with wholesome lyrics about youthful adventures, TFBoys are extremely popular in China (their band leader, Wang Junkai, has the world record for most Weibo reposts, at some 100 million), and are considered by many to be China’s answer to South Korea’s “edgier” idol groups. TFBoys actually stands for “The Fighting Boys” which sounds wild, but really comes from the encouragement phrase 加油 (aka “Fighting!” as used in South Korean entertainment).
But seriously, I do unironically adore TFBoys and would recommend a listen, if not for their undeniably catchy songs, then for a sneak peek into the minds of Chinese pop consumers. Favorite songs include “Heart”, “The Rest of Our Summer”, and classic “Manual of Youth” (which we had to perform multiple times during NSLI-Y summer last year…).
Just wanted to say, obviously this blog isn’t specifically about C-entertainment, however I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a major part of my Chinese learning. Although pop culture is only a part of culture as a whole, and no place should be judged solely on the basis of its pop culture output, I do think that popular entertainment can say a lot about societal values, be they moral, political, or even just “what do people here think is enjoyable?”. Plus it’s fun, can be a great way to practice Chinese (the visceral nature of music means vocabulary really sticks), and is a fantastic conversation starter/friend-maker in China. So, while I’ll try not to inundate you guys with all my fangirling, please anticipate some more discussion of Chinese entertainment, including a list of my favorite music/dramas and study habits. Thanks for you support, and please anticipate!