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Wang Feng’s New Song Made Headlines For Being a Bad Song What does this incident say about the music industry?

admin 2021-02-09 Collect

On January 1st, Wang Feng (汪峰) released a new song “No One Cares Feat. Lay Zhang and GAI” (《没有人在乎》). The song received a lot of attention right off the bat. On the first day of release, the hashtag #Wang Feng Lay Zhang GAI New Single# (#汪峰张艺兴GAI合作新歌#) was viewed 5.4 billion times. 


Under the hashtag #bad song# (#难听#), 300,000 people joined in the discussion of the new song, and 130,000 people said it was a ugly song. The name of Wang Feng’s new song and the promotion tactics are both very entertaining. Zhang Yixing, GAI, Zhang Ziyi, Tan Weiwei and many others commented under his song release Weibo saying “I care”.


On January 31st, Zhang Ziyi, Wang Feng’s wife posted a short video on Weibo to hype up Wang Feng’s new song. Wang Feng’s new shaved head also attracted a lot of attention. Hashtag #Zhang Ziyi  My Husband Will Release a New Song Tomorrow# trended on Weibo and Wang Feng’s post “What breaking news is going to happen tomorrow?” also trended. 


Finally Trended on Weibo


After Meng Jia’s suspected album cover plagiarism scandal broke out the week before, Netizens paid close attention to the cover art of Wang Feng’s new song as well. 


Netizens pointed out that the cover resembles rock band Sanren(散人乐队)’s 2019 album Call (《叫唤》). Later, Wang Feng’s Studio responded that they legally obtained the license to use the cover in January, and released a licensing agreement. 


Sanren also posted on Weibo to explain that they downloaded the cover from Unsplash, a freely usable image provider. Sanren band subsequently trended on Weibo as well. 


Wang Feng’s efforts to make headlines to hype up his new releases and failing at it because of some unexpected breaking news have long been an internet meme. 


Since 2013, Wang Feng has failed to hit the headline more than 20 times. 


On September 13th, 2013, Wang Feng posted a long article announcing his divorce and expressing his thoughts on love. On the same day, Faye Wong and Li Yapeng announced their divorce, which took every headline in the country and Wang Feng’s news got buried.


On November 9th, 2013, Wang Feng’s carefully planned confession to famous actress Zhang Ziyi hit the news on the same day as Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Club winning the AFC Champion League. This historic success of Chinese professional soccer was a way more exciting news for the public.


On November 13th, 2013, Wang Feng released his new song. And two celebrity couples, Yang Mi and Hawick Lau, Liu Shishi and Nicky Wu made their relationships public at around the same time, attracting all media attention.


His efforts to grab the headline countless times and failing made the public very sympathetic to him. 


In 2013, Weibo launched the “Help Wang Feng Make the Headlines”. With the help of the media and the public, his song “Born to Lose” did very well.


Since then, his team has intentionally promoted his songs using this same internet meme. As time went by, people started calling him the prophet of breaking news. 


Is “No One Cares” That Bad?


Thanks to the good promotional tactics, the new song received a lot of attention from the public, however, the attention didn’t turn out to be very positive. 


Many people listened to the song because of all the fuss Wang Feng made, but many of them didn’t like what they heard.


Most people know Wang Feng as a rock singer, but out of everyone’s expectation, he released a rap song this time. The song mostly received negative comments like “awkward”, or “ugly”, or “weird”. Some people also commented that the three singers don’t match in style and the song feels like a badly made mash up of three different songs. 


However, very few people actually noticed what the song is really about, which fits the title perfectly: no one cares.


The lyrics says:

“You are just a trace in his search bar.”

“You are just an useless item in a list of people he lies to.”

“You are just a patch of her broken soul.”

“You are just a tool to comfort her loneliness.”

“You are just a substitute of someone in their memories.”

“You are just a way for someone to escape their pain.”


The song is a critique of the digital age, where we have countless options but no real emotions and we use the internet to escape ourselves and the reality, as the lyric says: “We spend too much time numbing ourselves, no one cares, no one cares, we even despises ourselves, how can we love you?” The futuristic, repetitive electronic arrangement further amplified the theme.


Two decades ago, Wang Feng made a name for himself as the most popular rock singer. Rapping is a whole new territory for him. Hip Hop has become very popular in both China and many other regions in the world. His collaboration with young artists like Lay and GAI also revealed his ambition to win the hearts of the younger music fans. 


In fact, rock/rap fusion is nothing new. Famous bands like Linkin Park and Soft Biscuits have all made their mark in the “New Metal” category, a music style that combines rap and metal music. In the past two years, there have also been countless collaborations between rock bands and rappers in China. 


Besides rock and hip hop, “Nobody Cares” also incorporated electronic sounds. 


A Public Carnival


Although Wang Feng’s rock and roll voice doesn’t exactly suit hip-hop, and his rapping isn’t the best, the song is at least an above-average song. 


The promotion campaign has no doubt succeeded in creating traffic and attracting attention, but it also contributed to the overwhelming negative reviews of the song.


A big portion of the people who said the song is bad are mostly just disappointed because the song is underwhelming compared to the traffic.


Wang Feng has created many many popular songs in his very successful 20 year career as a singer-songwriter. Even though he’s been releasing full length albums every two to three years, his recent songs received less and less attention. As a public figure, people seem to care more about his marriage, memes, and drama. Negative attention is still attention. Even though many people are dissing the song, at least they listened to it.


Do artists have to choose between being a serious artist or a celebrity that entertains the public with memes and drama? Wang Feng has to create a Weibo campaign, cater to young people’s taste, and write music in genres that he’s not good at. 


As consumers, do we want a serious music industry, or do we want music to be an accessory to the “entertainment”? It’s a question worth thinking about.


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