No doubt that I am engrossed in this drama because I’ve spent an entire Sunday afternoon marathoning (and I’m not done yet–blame it on social media and other distractions) and I am blogging about it again. ROCK N’ ROAD really speaks to me as a fan of musicians who are passionate about their music.
It took three episodes until I got convinced that Chris Wu fits the role of Zhou Shu Yu. This is a Taiwanese drama but I kept visualizing Jung Yong-hwa in the role of a band vocalist who made it big and became an A-list music producer. I guess it’s because of the parallelisms between the character and JYH and his music.
I also thought that Roy Qiu might have fared better in the role. I don’t know much about Chris Wu and if he plays a musical instrument in real life but at least Roy does.
But three episodes later, Chris Wu has grown on me. I can’t say the same though for Kimi Hsia and I’m already on the eighth episode. It’s not really about the actress but the character. It makes me cringe how Taiwanese dramas tend to make their female lead characters so ditzy you often wonder if there’s a human being that stupid. One has to see the things that Lin Wei Zhen does to understand.
Thankfully, the plot about a music producer who only cares about music sheets than balance sheets is very interesting. There are a lot of insider insights not only on the music industry but the entertainment world in general. And so many quotable quotes from Shu Yu.
On being offered to work for a rival company:
“Producing music isn’t a case of whoever spends more money can produce better music.”
“You can’t put a price to my music. Don’t taint my music with your money.”
On criticisms that he takes time in producing an album:
“It’s hard to put a deadline to music. It needs time and inspiration.”
To which his boss replied: “A music producer who can’t produce an album no matter how good he is, to me, has no use at all.”
On producing “best of” albums:
“Best of albums are just a tool for making money.”
On what matters in music:
“What touches people most is not awesome voice or background music. It is sincerity. You must feel it sincerely yourself before you can move others.”
On his growth as a musician:
“The longer that I have been in the music industry, the farther I have been growing away from music.”
On his struggle as a musician:
“Music theory cannot win against sales figures. I feel that I am slowly becoming a machine that only knows how to produce music.”
On what’s important:
“Today while standing on the streets and singing all day, I suddenly remember what making music means to me.”
His farewell speech to his colleagues:
“In the office, music is about projects and calculations, a game of money. But to me, music is something that makes me both happy and sad, something that makes me give up all I have to preserve it. Music is my everything.”
“This thing called music is a very amazing thing. It can touch people’s hearts. Don’t take it as a money-making tool. I hope that in your future journey in music, you can find joy while doing it.”
Telling the PR department how to promote a song:
“A good song is still the best publicity. You don’t have to come up with some rubbish ideas to create news.”
“Stop gossiping so much and listen to more music.”
On that one song:
“Do you still remember throughout our lives the feeling of being touched by a song for the first time? If you do, please remember to use that feeling in making music.”
“This is where I started my dreams. I will never forget it… There’s no one who will be famous forever.”
On his reason to be a musician:
“I didn’t come into this industry so I can shine. I want to let more people hear my music.”
With how Asian pop music has really boomed in the last decade, there’s a lot of music–or noise–going on. Of course music is a matter of taste. What may be music to your ears is noise to another.
Watching ROCK N’ ROAD makes me wonder about the process of what goes into the music, especially for pop idol groups who do not compose their own music but rely on a team to come up with music for them. Is this team like robots who sit in their airconditioned cocoons trying to put musical notes and rhyming lyrics together like one would assemble a product in a factory? What does it take for them to compose a sound that would get the attention of the millions of fickle fans out there? Do they watch sappy movies to get inspiration, take a walk in the rain, consume bottles of vodka… what does it take to come up with a pop song that would hit No. 1?
On the other hand, for idealistic musicians like Shu Yu, it’s more than just a catchy sound that makes a song. It’s a passion for them. An art. An expression of their craft. Hardcore ones don’t even care about the monetary value or the success it will give them. They’re already happy just being able to express themselves through their music, even if it means singing on the streets. And that is why most musicians like to take that route because that’s where they find their soul. Some of them succeed and go mainstream. And that’s when the real battle begins… how to keep it real. How to remain true to their music.
Let’s ROCK N’ ROAD!
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