Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Impact of Mr. and the Return of Cantonese Rock Bands

There once was a time where rock held significance on the Hong Kong music scene, thanks to  "Beyond", who were a huge sensation in the 80s and 90s.  Having experienced massive success in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, and Mainland China, they are still considered the most successful and influential Cantonese band.

Since the turn of the 21st century though, bands, as well as a love for the rock genre, have faded into oblivion in Hong Kong.  Rock music became something that operated underground in HK.  "Mainstream Cantonese music" became classified as mainly pop ballads.  The early and mid 2000's saw the popularity of pop singers like Joey Yung, Eason Chan, and so on.

However, Cantonese music has seen a shift in gears the last few years.  More rock bands have emerged in Hong Kong in recent years.  What's even more of a breakthrough, is that they're debuting under established mainstream record companies and achieving moderate success.  Thanks to bands like RubberBand, Dear Jane, C Allstar, Supper Moment, and most notably Mr., Hong Kong is finally getting a taste of great rock music and bands again.

In 2008, Universal Music's Cinepoly took a chance by signing Mr.  It was an extremely risky move for the Cantopop industry, as it was the first time in 10 years a major record label had signed anything as "unsafe" as a band.  Since then, they've become the most successful and known band in Hong Kong in years.   This has paved the path for rock bands to continue developing and growing in front of the public eye.

Mr. is not the most amazing band ever and I will definitely not say that they are comparable to Beyond, but I greatly credit the return of popularity of the rock and band sound to them.  They're talented and were blessed with luck as well, and they deserve the success they've been getting.  They are well polished enough they fit within the realm of Cantopop, but have a distinctive rock influence that sets them apart.

As a fan of rock music, I'm very happy to see that rock bands like Mr. are finally starting to gain popularity again.  There is no doubt that we will be seeing more of them.  The next band up to debut?  Patrick Tang's recently formed SirV.  Stay tuned for more information about SirV!

Author's Note: While I listen to a lot of pop music, my favorite genre has been pop/rock and rock for as long as I can remember.  Since getting back into Cantopop and exploring and discovering different artists and styles, I've been very happy to discover Cantonese rock bands like Mr. and Dear Jane.  I wish all these bands even more success for years to come!

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