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View: Omnipotent Youth Society – Kill the One From Shijiazhuang

Title: Kill the One From Shijiazhuang | Artist: Omnipotent Youth Society (萬能青年旅店) | Author: Yi Geng | Year: 2010 | Album: Universal Youth Hostel (万能青年旅店) | Record Label: Universal Music Group. “Shā sǐ nàgè shíjiāzhuāng rén” ( Kill the Shijiazhuang) from the album released November 12, 2010 is a nod to the band’s home town Shijiazhuang. Providing social commentary through layers of poetry, folk, rock, jazz and a bit of melancholy, Omnipotent Youth Society (OYS) remained in the underground spheres as “The Blind Melon” throughout the nineties. 

Bàngwǎn 6 diǎn xiàbān | Ended work at 6pm
Huàn diào yào chǎng de yīshang | Removed pharmaceutical clothes
Qīzi zài áo zhōu | My wife ate porridge
Wǒ qù hē jǐ píng píjiǔ | I drank a few bottles of beer

A soon as Dong Ya Qian (Vocal/Guitar), Shit Lee Shi Li (Trompet), Ji Geng (Bass), Li Zenghui (Saxofone), and Liu Yibin (Violin) appeared at Beijing’ MAO Livehouse in the summer of 2007, they were soon tagged by reviewers as “provincial youth” expressing the concerns of tomorrow’s generation. One thing that left many puzzled were the metaphor used. What does “Kill the One from Shijiazhuang” actually mean? What is the collapsing house, her, and deep dark clouds?

User 笙宴 concluded:

“I think it is a metaphor for changing times; being crushed psychologically, and killing one person in Shijiazhuang.”

Rúcǐ shēnghuó 30 nián | So life passed by for 30 years
Zhídào dàshà bēngtā | Until the building collapsed
Yúncéng shēn chǔ de hēi’àn a | Deep dark clouds appeared ah
Yānmò xīndǐ de jǐngguān | Flooded the heart of the landscape

“Sometimes, people don’t appreciate this song. It’s a pity actually, there is a lot of meaning behind it.”

To some, the collapsing house in “Kill the One in Shijiazhuang” refers to the state, the China gone by. To others, the song symbolizes Gǎigé kāifàng (China’s reform, openness), a transition from state-ownership, the simple life to a prosperous one regulated by the survival of the fittest.

Zài bājiǎo guìtái | In the octagonal counter
Fēngkuáng de rénmín shāngchǎng| Crazy people shopping
Yòng yī zhāng jiǎ chāo | With a counterfeit
ǎi yī zhī jiǎ qiāng | Bought a fake gun

Some even delved into real events reported by local newspapers. On Douban user equation Y commented: “In 2001, there was a man named Jin Ruchao cohabiting with his girlfriend in Shijiazhuang. Because of marital problems and quarrels, he raised his machete into rage resulting into her death.”

Bǎowèi tā de shēnghuó | To defend her life
Zhídào dàshà bēngtā | Until the building collapsed
Yèmù fùgài huáběi píngyuán | North China Plain cover of darkness
Yōushāng jìntòu tā de liǎn | A sadness soaked her face.

China has also has spawned a distinct variant of rock music (Zhōngguó yáogǔn) with regional variants across the country. As Western popular culture was imported by non-western nations, pop icons mended the novelty with the familiar, creating a domestic counterculture with ambiguous lyrics. The multiple discussion threads about the cultural references used resulted into split opinions. 青铜贱人 commented: “Every time I hear this song, there are new insights.” Some like 鱚 thought that it was a waste to read too much into it:

“Although this seems to be the meaning of the code, it’s not necessary to decompose it …”

Sources

Author Uknown. (Date Uknown). http://www.zhihu.com/question/19663267.

Mr_区别对待. (2010, March 10).  杀死那个石家庄人. Retrieved 2014, April 10 from, http://baike.baidu.com/view/7731253.html.

Chen! (2011, August 10). 杀死那个石家庄人. Retrieved 2014, April 10 from, http://site.douban.com/omnipotent/widget/forum/403921/discussion/41189464.

Confused Laowai. (2012, January 31). Retrieved 2014, April 09 from, http://confusedlaowai.com/2012/01/omnipotent-youth-society-%E4%B8%87%E8%83%BD%E5%B9%B4%E9%9D%92%E6%97%85%E5%BA%97/.

Douban. (date uknown). 万能青年旅店 Retrieved, 2014, April 10 from, http://site.douban.com/omnipotent/.

Tiscione, J. (2011, January 25). Friday Night Musical Outro: Omnipotent Youth Society – Kill That Man From Shijiazhuang. Retrieved 2014, April 10 from, http://beijingcream.com/2013/01/friday-night-musical-outro-omnipotent-youth-society-kill-that-man-from-shijiazhuang/.

Wang, G. (2012, July 2). Interview: Omnipotent Youth Society. Talking to one of China’s best bands at home in Shijiazhuang. Retrieved 2014, April 10 from, http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/features/Music-Music_features/6728/Interview-Omnipotent-Youth-Society.html.  

村上春药. (2014, March 3). 万能青年旅店. Retrieved 2014, April 10 from, http://baike.baidu.com/link?url=cKusCL6WIGAnPMB-SAvo8mOh2g788nQ6F9YSV-Y8dOR9AFuEiVnWkD3v_ZR_w38wBY1yQioaNHEgtWbjhc6ozq.