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Chinese pop music since the 1980s
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Pop music becomes "McDonald's" after 2000

The range of pop styles accelerated during this period. Xue Cun delivered his song All Northeast People Are Lei Feng (a moral character) (audio) directly to his audience through the Internet without any commercial operation, record company, or media support, and became an overnight sensation. However, he was soon elbowed aside as new types of music drew public attention.

Jay Chou

In relative terms, few truly impressive or memorable songs have been penned since the year 2000. Pop music seems to have become a form of fast-food. One day people would be fascinated by the beautiful songs of Faye Wong and Na Ying, the next day Jay Chou would be the latest dish.

In 2004 Super Girls, a talent contest for Chinese girl singers, organized by Hunan Satellite Television, caught the attention of a national, and even an international audience. It ran from 2004 to 2006 and was generally considered to be mainland China's answer to Pop Idol, becoming one of the most popular entertainment shows in the country.

Despite Super Girls' huge popularity and success, the show provoked a lively debate throughout the whole country. It was heavily criticized by Liu Zhongde, ex-minister of culture, who described the show as "poisoning youth". Its supporters, on the other hand, claimed that the success of Super Girls transcended mere entertainment and in fact reflected a new democratic aspiration.

Contestants of reality TV singing contest Super Girls in 2005.

A fan of Super Girls, replying to the question why he liked the show, answered simply: "No particular reason, I just like it, and it's popular."

Perhaps pop music now no longer exists, only popularity.

Disclaimer: all audio links courtesy of Baidu Music Search in this article.

(China.org.cn by Ma Yujia, December 8, 2008)

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