Golden songs in search of trained ears
At the end of each year, a number of music award presentations are held by the media.
Such awards are very meaningful for everyone in the industry, including the singers, record companies, lyricists and composers.
Therefore, to ensure positive competition in these events, different categories of awards are established such as the most popular karaoke song, the most popular commercial pop song and the Community Chest golden song.
For singers, there are the most popular female and male singers in Hong Kong and Asia-Pacific, the most popular global Chinese singer, the most popular new star and the most improved singer.
The number of new local singers for the year has decreased since the financial crisis. The fact that all three winners of the new male singer sections are from Taiwan shows that local record companies are hesitant about nurturing new talent. There is also a lack of new local composers and lyricists, resulting in a lack of creativity in and worldwide recognition for Canto-pop.
Music in Hong Kong can be divided into three levels: the golden level represented by Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui; the hot level by Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng; and the rising level by Nicholas Tse and Joey Yung.
Singers at the golden level have already gained public recognition and their awards are simply for their achievements. Those in the hot level , though recognised, are still striving in their careers. Those in the rising level have made tremendous progress but still have a long way to go.
The same levels can also apply to composers, lyricists and musicians: Joseph Koo Ka-fai represents the golden level of composers; Anthony Lun the hot level; and Mark Lui the rising level. However, the industry does not allow for training. Composers/lyricists write to sell and only those who sell can survive in writing.
This will ultimately burn potential composers/lyricists out. Lun is an example.
Audiences can also be divided the same way.
Those at the golden level should be able to appreciate, criticise, express and compose.
Those at the hot level are frequent listeners and buyers of popular songs, but they are more able to appreciate and criticise than to express.
All those the rising level are fans.
They like singing and listen ing but are less able to tell which songs are of good quality.
In view of this, training, discussion and song analysis will be provided in the Media Education series to help you appreciate pop songs better.
Media education is a discipline run by youth organisation Breakthrough in which students learn how to use and criticise the media through the teaching of media awareness, media analysis and media creation. This column will present interesting aspects of the subject with examples from daily life