As with American pop, Mexican pop, Korean pop and most pop around the world, Chinese pop (C-Pop) generally makes me want to vomit in a way which would make Linda Blair in The Exorcist shriek in terror. With that being said, however, I give props to Taiwanese (or Chinese, depending on whom you talk to) artist Jay Chou (周杰倫).
Mojito, his latest hit, has busted charts in China, and just might have the possibility of crossing over in Europe, the U.S. and Latin America. He mixed his version of C-Pop with Cuban music, making a song that flows rather nicely. Chou is actually noted for being revolutionary in the Chinese music business as being able to blend Western and Eastern music into a cocktail that isn’t saccharine or cheesy.
This is probably the best modern pop song to come out of China in the last 10 years, at least to my taste. It’s my hope that with Chou’s rather brave (for China) mixing of cultures that producers there will start implementing more and more culture-blending in their music scene.
I thank my former student, Alyssa, who kindly introduced me to his music recently. One of the great benefits of teaching in China was to have students like her introduce me to part of the popular culture I would have otherwise missed. I’m indebted to her, and to all my kids who were kind enough to help keep me in the loop in Beijing.