Monday, June 4, 2007

The Golden Rock - June 3rd, 2007 Edition

- Anyone who follows this blog and Hong Kong music at the same time would know that I don't have much love for Mark Lui, whose pop duplication skills is only second to Hanjin Chan(Edison Chen vs. 2Pac, Jordan Chan vs. Justin Timberlake). But I have to admit that Hong Kong press tends to make far too much out of nothing, even when it's about Mark Lui's copycat skills.

Case in point, I point you to the blog of Hong Kong pop star Denise "HOCC" Ho (yes, that is actually her real blog). In a recent entry, she wrote:


(in translation)
I was unconsciously listening to the radio today.
I unconsciously heard such a thing.
I wanted to die listening to it.
Someone turned the thing I love the most into something like that......
I pray that I won't have to listen to it ever again.

Somehow the Hong Kong media (and by that, I mean the Oriental Daily, circulation over 2,000,000 in Hong Kong, plus however many internet visitors it attracts) has connected it with reports that Mark Lui's latest work "Money Money Money Money" by Leo Ku has been accused of copying Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Then somehow, Oriental Daily connected it with HOCC's post about listening to a song on the radio that has ruined the thing she loves, which is conveniently Queen. Thing is, she has nothing to deny because she never named the song, and the report states that HOCC admits to have heard the song, but doesn't wish to criticize it. Then the reporter apparently continued to pursue the question, prompting her to say the following:

「 創 作 人 同 音 樂 人 心 中 有 把 尺 , 我 把 尺 set 得 好 高 , 自 己 盡 量 避 免 ( 抄 襲 ) , 其 實 歌 手 都 應 該 有 責 任 ! 」 阿 詩 最 後 暗 寸 Mark 說 : 「 有 抄 襲 成 分 話 係 冇 得 追 究 , 不 過 總 會 有 人 知 ! 」

(in translation from the report)"Musicians have a bar in their hearts; I set the bar very high, and I try my best to avoid (copying). Actually, all artists have that responsibility!" Ah C also finally subtly criticizes Mark, saying "If there's copied elements then it can't be pursued, but someone always knows eventually!"

I love how these reports love to assume what the people are trying to say just by the report's agenda.

Anyway, here's the song in question, and here's Bohemian Rhapsody. There's a saying in Chinese, "The eyes are tall, but the hand is low," meaning that the vision is ambitious, but the way it's done is lackluster, which is the best way to describe the Leo Ku song. Lui's ambition is high, trying to create a pop song that attempts to emulate Bohemian Rhapsody's structure (it's not the only song to do so anyway) and avoiding the Karaoke-friendly cliches. But the song sounds like a bunch of random melodies that Lui's written before held together by the chorus; the whole thing just sounds like one of those bad pop song this one by Leo Ku rather than an actual song. Furthermore, Ku's whole "can you hear me trying to sound like I'm having fun?" tongue-in-cheek delivery is irritating, especially when he does it for five minutes. I'm sure Leo Ku is a talented singer (though his "I love to sing" shtick is a little tiresome), but he's no Freddie Mercury. And yes, the beginning and the random a capella does sound a bit like Bohemian Rhapsody's structure, but saying that "Money Money Money Money" is copying from Bohemian Rhapsody is an insult. insult to Bohemian Rhapsody, that is.

Still, this isn't the worst case of Mark Lui's copying skills. You can even write this one off and call it an homage.

- Speaking of Oriental Daily and bad press behavior, the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority has finally decided to send the erotic pages of several Hong Kong major newspapers, including Oriental Daily, to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for classifications. This comes after the TELA received hundreds of complaints following the Chinese University of Hong Kong student newspaper scandal, where bloggers accuse the TELA for holding a double standard. If they have any type of fairness, then they would classify these pages as category II, which then would just show that the people in charge might just be a tad too uptight about sex.

- After game developers Midway's abrupt resignation as the official sponsor of the New York Asian Film Festival, Twitch has decided to call a boycott of Midway because of their unethical practices.

On the other hand, Suntory (yes, as in "For relaxing times, it's Suntory time" Suntory) and the Weinstein Company's Dragon Dynasty have stepped up to become sponsors, though the financial gap left by Midway's departure still hasn't been filled, which should say how big of a presence they would've been.

- Korea Pop Wars has a link to a very good editorial about the way the Korean Wave is going.

- Twitch has an extended trailer for the big-budget Korean monster film D-War, which still doesn't look very good. But hey, the special effects actually look pretty impressive, which balances out the dialogue, which is not very impressive.

- TV Tokyo, which is still considered the CW of Japan (smallest network with the fewest affiliates in the country), is hoping to expand to four more major territories by 2011. More programming choices: good. More crappy variety shows: bad.

- Nominees for the 44th Grand Bell Awards in Korea have been announced. They're still busy giving awards to The Host? That felt like it was so long ago. The biggest surprise is to see films that I didn't particularly care for (Seducing Mr. Perfect and Ice Bar) in the nominations.

- Hideo Nakata is a very very busy man - he has the period horror film Kaidan coming out on August 4th, then he's also shooting the Death Note spinoff film L this summer, and now he has signed on to return to Hollywood for Inhuman, a horror film that's not a remake. Inhuman will be produced partly by Taka Ichise, who worked with Nakata on the original "Ring" series.

- A while ago I introduced the trailer for the Singaporean film "Men in White," a horror-comedy that seemed to be trying too hard to be funny. Now there's a review, and it seems to confirm a couple of things that I fear the film might be.

- I guess Thailand is making a transgender parody of Kung Fu Hustle?

- Lastly, we have a report about China's closest thing to a school of rock - a rock band named 20088 (they apparently turn 8 in 2008)consisting of 4 kids from the school's music club. I can't wait until they do some Nine Inch Nail covers.

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