The Wonderful Stable Life: Music, Class, and the Generation D
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AbstractIn a 2018 music festival in Hong Kong, when Lao Wang Band from Taiwan sang the song, I Am Still Young, I Am Still Young, the local audience burst with excitement and started to sing loudly together in Mandarin: “Give me a bottle of wine, then give me a cigarette. Let’s walk away as I have plenty of time.” The loud chorus, the excitement and also a touch of sorrow on the faces of this young crowd was impressive and made me ponder.

Lao Wang Band is one of the quickly rising groups in these couple of years in the Mandarin indie music market that are labeled as voices of the Generation in Despair (Yanshidai). Lyrics of these bands, such as that of another favourite song of Lao Wang Band, The Wonderful Stable Life, often sarcastically depict a sense of hopelessness for the future — there is no hope for a better future; there is no hope for self-realization. Lao Wang among other bands is quickly recognized by the young adult audience because they “speak their hearts.”

Strangely, the band and their fans are certainly not the desperate groups in their societies. Instead, they are well-educated youth and are often from relatively stable middle class families. Is the despair expressed through music an imaginative interpretation they have toward their future? This paper aims at analyzing this particularly dim understanding of the future and argues that such despairing perspective is likely intersecting with their class background.
All Author(s) ListJu-chen Chen
Name of ConferenceAAS-in-Asia 2019
Start Date of Conference01/07/2019
End Date of Conference04/07/2019
Place of ConferenceBangkok
Country/Region of ConferenceThailand
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2020-20-05 at 16:31