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Friday Song: Wuhan band Chinese Football asks us to be small

Chinese Football is an indie rock band out of the thriving rock scene of Wuhan, Hubei Province. The band makes trances powered by peaceful vocals and catchy yet lullaby-esque melodies. A Chinese Football song is defined by its lead guitar and pseudo-hymnal lyrics, which ask you to relax so that you can listen — and listen in order to relax.

Its April 2019 album Continue? picks up where its 2015 self-titled album leaves off, asking questions about the nature of beginnings and endings. Chinese Football starts with a track titled “Game Start” and ends with one called “Game Over”; it is probably relevant that its next album addresses the question in between: Continue?

The first track is the title track, and is designed to set the stage for inquiry. The lyrics, music, and visuals in the video work together to make the listener feel small, to take on the quest of finding meaning within a humble existence.

Lyrics compare humans to ants and describe their tears as covered by the ocean. The video rolls through shots of natural landscape: oceans, deserts, rock formations, snowy mountains, forests, clouds, etc. Some of the shots include human figures who are dwarfed by the scenes surrounding them. You’re supposed to feel little, and satisfied with your limited size and scope.

The video asks the viewer to adjust to these new dimensions and work with them. And in case you don’t get the point, it ends with a dramatic set of increasingly zoomed-out shots of earth, all the way until you’re looking at the universe. It’s a simple concept you’ve been hearing since freshman-year philosophy: you don’t matter.

But beyond all this, Chinese Football is fun. Check out “Electronic Girl” for a more personality-infused video, as well as this video of an impromptu performance on a ferry boat in Wuhan.

We’ll see what Chinese Football comes up with next. As band leader Xu Bo said in an interview about the prospects for his genre, “Good music will survive.”

渺小的人类啊 为什么要和世界为敌
Miǎoxiǎo de rénlèi a wèishéme yào hé shìjiè wèi dí
Why do little people wanna be enemies with the world?

渺小的人类啊 为什么不愿困在原地
Miǎoxiǎo de rénlèi a wèishéme bù yuàn kùn zàiyuán dì
Why won’t little people stay where they’re from?

渺小的人类啊不可一世地站到山顶
Miǎoxiǎo de rénlèi a bù kè yīshì de zhàn dào shāndǐng
Little people can’t stand still at the top of the hill

还是如同蝼蚁
háishì rútóng lóuyǐ
Still like ants

渺小的人类啊跟随着风的节奏呼吸
Miǎoxiǎo de rénlèi a gēnsuízhe fēng de jiézòu hūxī
Little people follow the rhythm of the wind

渺小的人类啊被海浪声音盖住哭泣
miǎoxiǎo de rénlèi a bèi hǎilàng shēngyīn gài zhù kūqì
Little people are covered by the sounds of the ocean, covers their crying

渺小的人类啊天生就注定平淡无奇
miǎoxiǎo de rénlèi a tiānshēng jiù zhùdìng píngdàn wú qí
Little people. It’s their nature to be nothing. Nothing to write home about.

像一个喷嚏
Xiàng yīgè pēntì
like a sneeze.

可是 面对难解的谜题 还是 情不自禁要继续
Kěshì miàn duì nán jiě de mí tí háishì qíngbùzìjīn yào jìxù
But when I look at puzzles that are hard to solve, I can’t help but continue.

可是 偶尔还是会想起 自己 是独一无二的个体
Kěshì ǒu’ěr háishì huì xiǎngqǐ zìjǐ shì dúyīwú’èr de gètǐ
But sometimes I realize I’m a unique individual

因为你说 “当我凝望天空的时候,眼睛里是整片宇宙”
yīnwèi nǐ shuō “dāng wǒ níngwàng tiānkōng de shíhòu, yǎnjīng lǐ shì zhěng piàn yǔzhòu”
Because you said, “When I stare at the sky this piece of the universe is complete.”


Friday Song is SupChina’s weekly sign-off. Let us know what you thought of the week that was in the comments below, or email editors@supchina.com.

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Johanna Costigan

Johanna Costigan is a writer from New York who has lived and worked in Shanghai for two years.

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