As I discussed yesterday, we are going to listen to a bunch of the songs that Sheep in the Box mentioned in his video, “The TRUTH: Why Modern Music Is Awful”: A Response To Thoughty2.
I’m starting with The Hu. They are a Mongolian rock band that uses traditional instruments and throat singing. It was when Sheep in the Box mentioned this band that I realized I would do this series.
But if you want the real reason I’m highlighting them today it’s simple: I’m lazy. My closest work associate is really into throat singing so I sent off a track to her figuring she would find it interesting. So it’s close at hand. Also: I have been ridiculously busy ever since this pandemic struck. (I realize this may be annoying given that many of you can’t work, but I assure you, my life is just different — and probably worse.)
The Hu are a pretty new band — formed back in 2016. And I really have no reason to have never heard of them. One of their videos has over 44 million views. And the one I’m highlighting, “Wolf Totem,” has over 30 million views.
But this is what you all like about me: I’m about as unplugged-in as a person can be. Even when it comes to film, the things I’m excited about are not what other people are. And even then, I’m usually ten years behind the time. Right now I’m obsessing about an obscure film from 2003 called The Ghouls, which was never properly released on disc despite starring the great Timothy Muskatell. But I’m getting sidetracked.
“Wolf Totem” reminds me a lot of The Call. The song is modal — basically just one chord throughout. (The Call normally broke into a more traditional chorus.) The lyrics are a series of declarative statements that are linked by a single idea.
I’ve only read a automatic computer translation of the the lyrics. Even still, they are kind of… fascistic. The first line is, “Let’s kill a lion and race.” And it goes on like that. “Let’s race against the elephant.”
It could all be an environmental song for all I know. But that kind of focus on the natural world is very associated in my mind with fascism. It reminds me that George Orwell said that had Jack London lived, he would have become a fascist. And it’s there in the novels. Or go visit his ranch.
Again: I’m not accusing The Hu of anything here. I’m just noting that I find the (doubtless poor) translation of this song troubling.
The song itself is great!