Noise in Guangzhou: the cultural politics of underground popular music in contemporary Guangzhou

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Abstract

Popular music in Guangzhou can be considered as a noise that applies social and political power to challenge the mainstream aesthetics and ideologies, rather than a low culture that lacks aesthetics. The main purpose of this article is to examine the cultural politics of underground popular music in contemporary Guangzhou, drawing on the analysis of its lyrical and sonic meanings through three genres: campus rock/pop, Canton-rock and urban folk songs. Different types of underground popular music in Guangzhou engender different spaces/places through the lyrical and sonic power, and map out the non-commercial popular music in south China. These findings not only respond to the previous music geographical studies on lyrics and sounds/voices, but also extend the research areas of Chinese popular music.

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