Editor’s Note: We’re excited to announce a new feature here on Knox Road. In an effort to provide a diverse range of music, not only in genre but also by location and culture, we have recruited Lin Lizhuang, from Singapore, to write about music from parts of the world that may go unnoticed on this here blog (you can find more of her work on her blog, Rock Loves Romantic.) We hope to make “KR Goes Global” a monthly feature. Enjoy!
By Lin Lizhuang
The Chinese people are a dichotomous bunch. On one hand, we like to think that we’re making every effort to preserve our values and traditions amidst the chaos of globalized communications. On the other hand, we have the habit of giving ourselves “Christian” names to make us feel like we fit in. For us, the term “Christian name” is so loosely defined that it’s a little bit blasphemous (we take it to mean ANY word in the English dictionary.)
Also, we have a strange habit of giving ourselves English names that resemble the pronunciation or the meaning of our Chinese names. For example, let’s say a person’s Chinese name is pronounced “Shi Min”, she is more than likely to request others to acknowledge her by the English name of “Shermaine” or “Charmaine”. Generally speaking, you can say it’s a funny little psychosis we have.
And then there is Crowd Lu (盧廣仲), a 24 year old Taiwanese singer, songwriter and composer, who is so named because his real name sounds phonetically like the Chinese word for “Audience”. Audience is similar to Crowd. Get it? Is it kinda lame? You don’t say.
He’s somewhat of a phenomenon in the Chinese indie music scene, mostly due to his off-kilter behaviour as well as his stunning mug and a luscious mop (literally) of black hair. His music can be best described as unexpected, whether it’s a heavy metal guitar riff in the middle of what appears to be a folk song, setting a ballad into motion with a dense Spanish influence or a vibrant pop song written in a minor key.
The emotional pace of his albums is also a little difficult to follow, swinging back and forth between tracks or within the song itself like a hyperactive pendulum. And, speaking of off-kilter, if you’ve never experienced the kind of weird that can also be fascinating as hell, here are the lyrics to one of his songs, “Rock and Roll Style”:
This morning, I went to the breakfast shop
I ordered strawberry toast, sunny side ups and a huge cuppa milk tea
After I had finished my meal, I was still hungry
I saw a friend in the same breakfast shop.
I ate his breakfast as well.
He turned around and asked me.
Why did you eat my breakfast?
Tell me why.
Because we’ve to eat breakfast every day without fail.
Just like the sun is always in the sky.
When you see your other friends,
Please remind them for me,
They’ve to wake up early and have their breakfast
Because being full and healthy
Is also a rock and roll style.
I swear I’m not making this up. The sky’s the limit for Crowd Lu, and his new album, 7 days fully demonstrates his passion for championing freedom of emotional expression with unapologetic youthful energy. His earnest songs urge us to be honest with our feelings and embrace our hopes, dreams and fears, however mundane or worthless they may seem. Why sing about saving the world? Why sing about the importance of having a good breakfast? Why wear a t-shirt that says very clearly what you’re feeling? Why do we give ourselves ridiculous monikers?
The answer is embedded in his music and it’s actually really simple:
Because, why the hell not?