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December 29, 2008 in The China Beat


Copyright December 29, 2008 Chris Heselton. Used by permission.


One of the early rock musicians to make the jump to mainstream and become a household name was Xu Wei. His popularity is probably due to a style that some have called Chinese country or folk rock. This style does not have the explosive rage of heavy metal that many in the popular audience find hard to accept. Instead, he Xu Wei style is a more calm and relaxing melodic rock. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Xu Wei’s music is how similar it is to many of the romantic and nostalgic lyrical themes of pop music. Hometown (故乡, 2000), one of his best known songs and one often sung in Karaoke (KTV) bars, has many of these typical romantic and lament-filled lyrics seen in pop music. This is the kind of lyrical and musical style that wins broad acceptance in 21st century Chinese society:

The setting sun on the horizon shines again upon my face Reflecting again that restless heart of mine. What place is this still so desolate as before This endless journey goes so slowly.

I am eternally heading towards a distant place – a lonely wanderer You are amongst a vast sea of people –my woman On the road in a strange village during a wintry night, This thought harms me like knife.