Beijing-based ska-punk band Underdog dropped a new song on the morning of January 25 titled “Beijing, You Used to Be Cool.” The three-member band announced the single’s release the previous day on Weibo.
The post claimed that the song is “not only about the city but also about the fast-paced era around you and me.”
The lyrics touch on the speed of the modern world, with guitarist and vocalist Cha Cha singing:
“The stories that have happened in this city can’t keep up with the speed at which people forget them. No one can live in the past, even if we already know what we’ve missed. Let the signal pass through our loneliness, and the wheels of civilization speed along the highway. Good night, Beijing, you used to be cool.”
Formed in November 2016 by three experienced musicians — Cha Cha, Ma Jiliang, and Guan Zheng, Underdog has released three singles and two albums in the past five years.
“The new song made me cry this morning. I want to get back the hope I once had in Beijing, and also the infinite expectations for the future, the enthusiasm and the anger I had during the year I lived in Beijing,” wrote a fan on Weibo.
“This song depicts a Beijing that makes people love and hate. Can I nominate it as the song of Beijing drifters [Chinese slang for migrant workers who move to Beijing in search of work]?” opined another.
The punk group actively interacts with their fans on Weibo. In response to the statement above, they commented, “No matter where you come from or go, as long as you feel something after listening to it, it is a song dedicated to you.”
Underdog in Beijing. Image via Weibo
Beijing has undergone a host of changes over the past decade or so, with many cultural venues in the city rising and falling in that space of time.
Among the more significant events in recent times was the “Great Brickening,” which saw several beloved F&B venues close in the city’s hutong areas.
Similarly, since the outbreak of Covid-19, long-running music venues have closed their doors, like Gulou East Street’s Temple Bar and Dada. The latter relocated to Ritan International Trade Center in Chaoyang district last year.
Cover photo via Weibo. Additional reporting by Bryan Grogan
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