Asia Editor's Blog Europe HK People News World

True Rockers are no more

Written by Daniel Otero

The day the music died


By: Daniel Otero



I’m a music lover, my affair with music goes as far back as the 1940s.  Bands like Benny Goodman or singers with the smokey voices like Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone always made my day!


Internationally, I’ll listen to everything.  Not only American; but sounds from the U.K., Brazil, Italy, Spain, France, Turkey and hey, who can forget Sweden with ABBA or Army of Lovers.


I have listened to it all.  And then I came to China and began getting into the old Sino-pop classics, from Teresa Tangs Sweet Honey and much later, China Blue.


But one thing changed in my life after decades of being an international-music lover. A single event which dramatically altered the lives of most Americans and it vibrated worldwide, September 11, 2001.


Music after that date became silly, almost too romantic and syrupy for my taste.  And honestly, I did lose touch with the music world after Eminem’s “Marshall Matters” LP.


Few people in the music world have really been able to touch my sensibilities.


Look at singers like Taylor Swift, all she sings about is getting even with her former boyfriends.


In truth, I’m a secret admirer of Katy Perry.  However, she’ll never be at a caliber like Aretha Franklin or Whitney Houston.  Except for Lorde and I haven’t heard much after her smashing success with “Royals”.


And don’t count on Britney Spears to save the day, OMG, what a terrible voice!


So, I do believe singers in China and abroad have to challenge themselves to become better artist.  Yes, I want to see good artist come out again, those with the talents of Faye Wong.


Not those cheap voices whom can only sing soft-love songs and when asked to sing an outstanding soprano, suddenly the voice cracks to pieces under pressure.


Too many singing competitions are showcasing those singers who can only imitate, but they cannot do their own music.  That’s also the sad truth about these shows. Very little on the creativity or imagination to become a true singer/songwriter.


People are selected from all walks of life and without having gone through the constant rejections of the studios and their labels.


Can I really stand anymore of this?  Oh, please, please, please…  Stop it with the Voice of China/Chinas got talent, UK or US for that matter.  Not everybody can sing or deserves to be famous!  Let’s get back to basics and select a singer on real talent.


I want to hear more voices on the folk side, bands who can play the best rock and roll ever and those rappers whether they’re Chinese or Foreign, who can knock my socks off with great lyrics!


I’m seeing too much of this lovey-dove music, as for example, “He loved me and I loved him, suddenly we broke up and now I want to die…”, pathetic and depressing.


Romantic songs are okay if you’re talking about the band Wings, but the theme is over baked and has been overdone!


For goodness sake, give me something with more substance on the issues of the day, as social or with feminist points of view.  You know, those with the magnificence of Grace Slick.


I want those sexy voices from the days of old back!  Singers and players with more fire in their hearts and passion coming out of their throats.

About the author

Daniel Otero

A New Yorker who has been living in China for the past 10 years. He's a freelance writer/journalist and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

A former member of the military with extensive travel to 50 countries and has lived in six.

Lover of life, good food, travel, writing and dealing with social issues.