It's been a while since I blogged about a country's music — and when I did it previously, I had mainly good things to say. Unfortunately, the verdict is not so rosy for Thailand. This country has many great and captivating qualities, but I'm afraid that its music simply isn't one of them. The main local music around here — in the urban centres I've visited, at least — is Thai pop. Put simply, Thai pop is about as bad as music gets. Pop music in general is widely recognised as rubbish; Asian pop is known to be particularly rubbish; and Thai pop is without doubt at the bottom of the heap. It's super-soppy, it's super-boppy, and it's super-lacking in talent. And as if it wasn't bad enough, the locals insist on singing along to the cheesy pop tracks, in one of their favourite pastimes — karaoke. Thank heavens I've been sticking mainly to farang hangouts, and that I've as such largely avoided the pop scene — because, hell, even Bob is better than that poison.
While Thai pop is the most popular music amongst the locals, I know that there are also numerous popular genres of folk music and of more traditional music, and I regret that I didn't really discover those genres during my time here. No doubt, the folk music of Thailand is a million miles away from the manufactured pop junk, and I'm sure that it represents not only the greater talent of its artists, but also the rich and living culture of its proponents, throughout the country's many and varied regions.
I guess I've been a bit spoiled on the music front — and also on the dance front — for the better part of my travels this year. Over in Latin America, the music is incredible: and not only have the locals perfected it, they've also made it an inextricable part of their life. It's hard to imagine Latin America without its music, as it is (quite literally) the beating heart that gives the people happiness and spirit. In Thailand, on the other hand, music is no more a part of life than it is in Western culture: it's merely something to listen to, something to party to, and something to occupy what would otherwise be silence. Plus — also as with Western culture — Thais ain't got that much rhythm, and they couldn't dance (I mean really dance) if their life depended on it.