The Chinese Are Coming (SMZB/生命之餅/2016)
The Chinese Are Coming, released in 2016, is a fiery critique of modern China delivered through uncompromising punk rock. SMZB1 pulls no punches in calling out the hypocrisy and ills of Chinese society with their biting lyrics and raw musical style.
The album starts with the rallying cry “Ten Thousand Ways to Rebel,” encouraging listeners to stand up against oppression through whatever means possible. This sets the tone for the record’s punk energy and rebellious spirit.
“The Chinese Are Coming” and its sequel skewer Chinese nationalism and the problematic behavior of some Chinese tourists/expats abroad. The lyrics paint an unflattering picture but seem intended more as social commentary than xenophobia.
On tracks like “Born in the PRC” and “Generation,” Wu Wei delivers deeply personal perspectives on living and aging under the Chinese political system. His frustrated vocals express the suffocating lack of freedom and crushed dreams.
“Flower of Socialism” and “Sunny Speculation” delve into more philosophical critiques of how the Chinese system shapes society and transforms individuals. The music questions whether escaping corruption is truly possible.
“One Night in Prison” and “Colonial Trip” broaden perspectives by incorporating stories of ethnic minorities and foreigners within China. SMZB highlights problematic attitudes while also celebrating cultural diversity.
Lin Zhao visiting a tomb at Taoranting Park, Beijing, in 1959. Photo: Courtesy Ni Jingxiong
The album concludes with the band’s cover of poet Lin Zhao’s “Song of the Seagull.” The passionate vocals bring to life her symbolic message of freedom, resistance, and hope in even the darkest of circumstances.
This is a raw, visceral punk album and an artfully crafted sociopolitical statement. SMZB pulls no punches in its critique but balances it with thoughtful perspectives. It remains an important work within the canon of Chinese underground music.
SMZB (生命之餅) is a hardcore punk band from Wuhan, China. As one of the first punk bands to emerge from Wuhan's underground scene, they helped grow the punk community. The band's singer and lyricist Wu Wei is widely considered one of China's most influential punk musicians. Known for their raw musical style and Wu's passionate vocals addressing social and political issues, SMZB helped establish Wuhan as a notable location for hardcore punk music in China.↩