Nov 03

χ is for…The Chi-nese Way

I Hate Music3 comments • 1,127 views

Take a journey back in time
Leave the western world behind
Cross the mountains to Peking
Where the paper laterns gently swing

Leaving aside the fact that the Chinese prefer Beijing these days since Level 42 wish us to travel back in time, has there ever been a more stereotypical opening stanza to a song ever? I guess if it got gusty in the mountains the lanterns would do more than gently swing. Any minute now I expect Ping-Pong from Rupert to turn up in this song. Still this is The Chinese Way…

The Chinese way
Who knows what they know?

Mark King was obviously not the worlds greatest lyric writer as he was spending too much time being the worlds greatest slap bass player. Unbeknownst to him, China from ancient days had built a really rather large population of over 1 billion people, so when you ask who knows what they know, you’re looking at about 30% of the worlds population also knowing it. I guess they all knew one thing, that bands named after a joke in Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy are rubbish.

My eyes wide open
I feel a breeze
Words softly spoken
In Cantonese

I will give him the benefit of the doubt that the “Eyes Wide Open” bit is merely some words made to fit. No such leniency given for rhyming breeze with Cantonese. Yet another terrible song written about the orient by the man that made the bit in Seinfeld that everyone hates. The theme tune. Slap bass? Slap him more like.


  1. 1
    Lee Saunders on 7 Nov 2018 #

    For lack of finding a better thread, I don’t suppose anyone could point me in the way of Mark Sinker’s Level 42 Adorno pop writings that I’ve heard so much about but can’t seem to find.

  2. 2
    mark sinker on 7 Nov 2018 #

    i wrote a feature on level 42 which is up at rocks’ backpages (sub needed); i wrote a review of world machine of which a single phrase has reached the internet that i can find (where i describe their sound as a “Brit-trot-punk band with glossy panther sheen, rippling hammer blow psycho motion, and pellucid colourwax drawl” (did i mean the Redskins? i am not sure any more); Bob Stanley says i once said (possibly in person in a pub) that the vocal on “love games” sounds like a “sad robot”; and there’s my (possibly one-sentence?) response on ilx to something marcello said which he has contextualised thus:

    It was Mark Sinker who, in response to a question posed to him on a message board in February 2002 (as it turns out, by myself), said of Level 42 that World Machine represented a “top Adornoite dissection of “modern” (e.g. 1986) life.” Over the ensuing twelve-and-a-half years I have intermittently returned to the record and wondered whether “Adornoite pop” wasn’t an irresolvable contradiction in terms.

    ilx’s search function seems to be borked at the moment — it was fine yesterday so this is probably some interim glitch during back-room work — so i haven’t actually tracked down this thread.

  3. 3
    Lee Saunders on 12 Nov 2018 #

    Ah wonderful. A belated* thanks :)

    *because of post-surgery rest which is only beginning to taper off

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