Year of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
China;History and criticism.;Hong Kong;Popular music
The influence of Hong Kong popular music, or Cantonese songs, has reached its peak in the 1980s. However, since late 1990s, along with the emergence of a series of historical events, such as the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the breakout of financial crisis, and China’s accession to WTO, Hong Kong’s music industry encountered many adverse situations, such as the sharp drop in record sales, and the stagnation of star creation mechanism. As a consequence, many people believed that Hong Kong popular music had “died”. This study investigates the development of Hong Kong popular music in Chinese mainland since 1992 with the research methods of text interpretation, audience analysis, and participant observation by placing Hong Kong popular music in the contexts of China’s official ideology, popular culture industry, mass media and new media. It points out that Hong Kong popular music has demonstrated complex features involving compromise and conflict, unity and split, repression and resistance, while participating in the construction of the identity of “Great China”, the propagation of urban modernity and the production of heterogeneous “noises”. To reveal the complexity of these features, this study analyzes the songs, performances and fans activities of four major Hong Kong popular music figures—— Andy Lau, Faye Wong, Eason Chan and Anthony Wong. During 1990s, when the official media was the mainstream propagation channel, Hong Kong singers could only realize their commercial interests by first participating in the construction of the identity of “Great China”. In Hong Kong’s handover ceremony, Andy Lau performed the song “Chinese People” and sang folk songs with Cantonese lyrics. These performances clearly show how the highly-mature Hong Kong idol industry flexibly used the localization strategy to win the mainland market. Faye Wong and her creative group demonstrate the advantages of the modern urban language: the globalized human resources, the diversified musical styles and the collaged post-modern images; they interprets what the concepts of “urbanity”, “modernity” and “personality” are. Since the new millennium, the popularity of Internet greatly shocks the dominance of official discourse, and the development of market economy brings tremendous opportunities for the public to appreciate, consume and evaluate Hong Kong popular music. Meanwhile, the fans culture has been gradually flourishing. During this period, Eason Chan, relying on a large number of non-love songs and superb live performances, obtains great business success, but keeps a distance away from the aesthetic attitude of “Great China”. Such self-consciousness is spread in the new media era when singers like “Anthony Wong” produce heterogeneous “noises” with cross-regional, cross-media, mainstream and independent styles. These styles are neither “mainland songs” nor individualism; they reveal the non-commercial facet of Hong Kong popular music. This study argues that it is inadequate to judge the rise and fall of Hong Kong popular music if only focusing on its commercial success. The hybridity of Hong Kong popular music should be discussed in specific social and cultural contexts. This study suggests that Hong Kong popular music is not only a leader of the modern urban culture, but also a main force of constructing “Chinese identity”. When the commercial myth disappears, the alternative side of Hong Kong popular music, characterized by questioning, reflection and criticism, becomes prominent. This kind of trend not only creates new connections for the independent music in mainland, but also provides a historic opportunity for the reconstruction of Hong Kong identity = 香港流行音樂，或稱粵語歌的影響力，曾在上世紀八十年代達到頂峰。然而，在一九九零年代後期，伴隨著九七回歸、金融危機、內地加入WTO組織等歷史事件的推進，香港音樂產業出現了唱片銷量銳減，明星魅力減退，造星機制更新遲滯等不良現狀，導致人們認為，香港流行樂風光不再，「粵語歌已死」。本文將以1992年至今在中國內地的香港流行樂作為研究對象，採用文本解讀、受眾分析、參與式觀察等研究方法，將香港流行樂置於中國內地的官方意識形態、流行文化產業、大眾媒介以及新媒體等多重分析語境之中，指出香港流行樂在參與「大中國」身份建構、傳播都市現代性、發出異質「噪音」等方面，呈現出妥協與衝突、同一與分裂、壓制與抵抗的複雜面貌。為了展開這一面貌的複雜性，文章主體將通過對四位重要的香港流行樂人物——劉德華、王菲、陳奕迅、黃耀明——他們的歌曲、表演、歌迷活動等進行論述。在官方媒介為主流傳播途徑的一九九零年代，香港歌手的商業利益，首先需要參與「大中華」的同一性身份建構才可實現。劉德華在九七回歸慶典中唱響「中國人」，以及對粵語填詞的民歌演繹，無一不彰顯高度成熟的香港偶像工業，如何靈活運用「在地化」策略來贏得內地市場。而王菲及相關的創意團體，則體現了都市現代性語言的優勢：全球化的人力資源、多變的音樂風格、拼貼的後現代影像，書寫出何為「都市」、「摩登」、「個性」等概念。踏入新千年，互聯網的普及動搖了官方話語的壟斷地位，市場經濟的發展為人們聆聽、消費、評價香港流行樂帶來了更多可能，歌迷文化也隨之逐漸興盛。在這一時期，陳奕迅憑藉大量的非情歌和精湛的現場演出，在贏得商業成功的同時，卻跟「大國崛起」的音樂審美態度保持了距離。這一疏離的自我意識在新媒體時代得以散播——「黃耀明們」在跨地域、跨媒介、主流與獨立風格之間發出異質噪音，這種既不是「大路情歌」，也並非個人主義的成功歌頌，展現出香港流行樂非商業性的另類一面。本文認為，由單一的商業成功與否，來評判香港流行樂的興衰是遠遠不夠的，而香港流行樂的混雜多元性也需要放置於特定的社會文化語境中才具備意義。經過論證，香港流行樂既是都市現代文化的引領者，也是「中國人」身份建構的中堅力量之一。但當商業神話消失之際，香港流行樂中質疑、反思、批判的另類一面得以凸顯，這一趨勢不僅為內地獨立音樂創造新的聯結，也為香港重構本土身份提供了歷史契機。
Includes bibliographical references (pages 217-225).
莫沉, "媒介. 現代性. 粉絲: 香港流行樂在中國內地的研究 (1992-2015)= Media, modernity, fandom: a study of Hong Kong popular music in mainland China (1992-2015)." (2017). Open Access Theses and Dissertations. 342.