The genre of Cantopop has long been criticized to be bland and rote, overwhelmed with pops and ballads of familiar chord progressions. Bert Liu, head of the music label Kingdom C, having realized this disparity between the “mainstream” music scene and the taste of underage audiences in Hong Kong, started the YOUNG BLOOD project with the indie label Greytone Music. Their plan is to introduce 6 singer-songwriters to the local music scene, across the 6 underrepresented genres of Melodic Rap, City Pop, K-Pop, Emo Electric Sound, LoFi HipHop, and Aggressive Rap. Lagchun, as the representative of the City Pop genre, was the second artist from the project to make his debut.
City Pop, usually characterized by its simple and repetitive rhythm, is a sub-genre of J-Pop from the 70’s and 80’s that is making a recent resurgence with the retro trend. A month after the controversy of AGA’s CityPop AGA 江海迦 - 《CityPop》MV not sounding like City Pop, the release of Lagchun’s first work, City Crawling, could not have been more timely. Now working two jobs as a high-school Math teacher and a singer-songwriter, Lagchun is definitely putting effort into “educating” Cantonese listeners about his genre, releasing City Pop remixes of other Cantopop songs such as Keung To’s Master Class 力臻 Lagchun《Master Class》plus Work - 都市混搭 City Mashup 04 and, ironically, AGA’s CityPop 都市混搭 City Mashup 02 - 《City Pop x Plastic Love》- 力臻.
力臻 Lagchun -《都市爬行》City Crawling
Lagchun opens the song with some quite despondent lines:
Crawling, I arrive at the end
Fleeing, I see no way out
Returning, I reach a blind alley
Coming to a stop, only mist and oblivion
倔頭路, or gwaht tàuh louh (gwat6 tau4 lou6), means “blind alley” or “dead-end.” You can say “我行咗條倔頭路” to say that you found yourself in a dead-end situation and have to 停低 (tìhngdāi or ting4 dai1), which means “to stop.” Both 倔頭路 and 停低 are typical Cantonese expressions. Although the lyrics in City Crawling focus mostly on frustrated ambitions and social alienation, the last lines (那裏在閃亮 那裏有樂章, or “there is light, and there is music”) leave room for hope and self-affirmation. At the end of the MV, we see Lagchun walking up the stairs towards a mysterious light.
In case you worried, we are just starting our Canto Music series, so no 倔頭路 in sight! Let us know what you think about the song in the comments below, and, if you like it, check out: