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You listened to it on the radio. You danced to it. You heard it in some bubble tea shops as a background music while waiting for your order. K-POP is one of the latest music trends to get success everywhere, especially among young people. Korean pop singers and boy bands are selling millions of albums, dominating rankings in music streaming services and hosting several concerts in every part of the world. BTS, Blackpink, Big Bang, Exo and Winner are only few of the various Korean boy bands loved everywhere. K-POP, despite being one of the catchiest Asian music trends to become popular in the last years, is not the only one. Another one which is not much different, for example, is the C-POP, the Chinese pop music. This article will talk about it and, in particular, about one of the most famous boy bands in China of all time: the TFBOYS.
Douyin & Chinese Music
Most of the Chinese hits can be easily found by using Douyin, which is the Chinese version of TikTok and, in general, the app from which the international TikTok is derived. Douyin cannot be installed on an iPhone without an Apple ID registered with a Chinese address, while on Android phones it is possible to download directly the APK from the official Douyin website. If you want to discover some awesome Chinese music, this app is surely the best way to find it. In alternative, YouTube features many Douyin compilations and independent channels posting music videos you would otherwise watch only on Chinese social media.
TFBOYS: the boy band who conquered Chinese pop music scene
BTS are not only among the most famous boy bands in Korea: they are actually the group with most selling albums at all in their country. Liking K-POP almost always presupposes liking BTS first, even if there are surely also K-POP fans who listen to other groups and who don’t listen to BTS. There is also a boy band in China which can be considered the protagonist of C-POP music, more or less like the BTS in South Korea: the TFBOYS. This band, whose name means 'The Fighting Boys', got their popularity in 2013, when the boys were still aged between 12 and 13 years. These very young singers are Karry Wang, Roy Wang (which is also one of the 30th most influential teens of 2017 as recognized by Time) and Jackson Yee. Both Karry and Roy Wang come from Chongqing, while Jackson Yee is from the Hunan region. In order to better give an idea of how this band is influent in China, even the government recognize them as a good ambassador to promote their policies to youth. Weibo's official account of the Communist Youth League regularly features the TFBOYS.
TFBOYS: Singing About Youth & Love
By listening to TFBOYS songs, one can easily find similarities with the K-POP genre, even by just talking about the melodies. The recurrent topics of their songs are love and youth. Youth, in general, is the key of their success: they are very young, their songs are related to this topic and their same fandom is young, just like it happened in the past with many boy bands in Asia and in the Western countries. If in your local country many teens may be following several South Korean pop singers, in China they would mostly follow artists like the TFBOYS. Even people who never listened to this kind of music can easily get the idea of something made by young people for other ones, just by listening to one of the most famous songs by this band: 'Practise Book For Youth'. Almost everything is related to youth: the title, the place where the music video is set (a school), the general setting in which the boys are shown as dancing with many famous superheroes almost everyone knows.
Despite pop music is greatly developed in China and features very young boy bands with their fandoms, just like it happens with K-POP, C-POP genre is still not much known outside Asia. This, due to various reasons: South Korean music industry has invested much money in order to promote their artists everywhere, also in the Western countries, while Chinese singers are more influent in their home country. Plus, the barrier imposed by the fact China features their own social media is an addition to the reasons why Chinese pop stars tend to be less noticed outside their country. Still, people very passionate about Chinese culture or, in general, Asian cultures, may easily get in touch with this kind of music. It happens, for example, that someone who starts to know and like K-POP decides to look by himself for also other musical genres in the Asian countries.
Have you ever listened to Chinese pop songs before? If you are already into K-POP you will most probably enjoy listening to C-POP too. If you also start to look at Chinese social media, for example Douyin, you will discover a new world made of nice songs you hardly listen to outside these apps. Even without downloading Chinese apps, some artists like the TFBOYS achieved to get known also in Western social media and countries, even if K-POP boy bands here are still the most famous at all when it comes to Asian groups.
© 2020 Alessio Ganci