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I'm trying to understand an obscure pop song from the early 90s called 小鸟 by a band called 现代人乐队. You can hear the entire song here: https://youtu.be/Eef7wcIdqsc

It has a verse which goes like this:

有的人假装看破了红尘一天到晚对着墙
就是不长岁数的姑娘,她天真又大方噢

The first verse seems to be saying that there are people who pretend they've seen through the world, and spend the whole day facing a wall. It seems like these are references to Buddhism and meditation, but I feel the songwriter means people who act cool and worldly.

The next line talks about a young (immature? under-aged?) girl who is innocent and generous.

I'm trying to work out how the two lines relate. I'm pretty sure it can't be the girl who is innocent and generous who is also trying to act cool.

Could it be that the songwriter is telling the first person not to take advantage of the second person?

For reference, the rest of the lyrics are here: https://mojim.com/cny110213x1x2.htm

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有的人假装看破了红尘一天到晚对着墙 就是不长岁数的姑娘,她天真又大方噢

Below is my very personal take, which may not be agreeable to others.

First, 看破了红尘 refers to someone who, through Buddhist meditative practices no longer has any attachment or concerns himself with "worldly pleasures and desires", and therefore 一天到晚对着墙.

However, in the song, reference is made to those who are actually "impersonators", who pretends, 假装, to be such enlightened beings.

That is, these impersonators are actually, "就是", just like 不长岁数的姑娘,她天真又大方, i.e. like "a young girl who is innocent and generous"; meaning a mistaken conception of their true self owing to a misconception of their true inner being. That is, they are not innocent and generous, but pretends to be, or thought they are.

This idea resonates with what Jesus Christ taught that one must become like innocent little children to enter the kingdom of heaven; a reference to genuine humility and sincere obedience.

The opening lines of the song, 我像一只小鸟飞来飞去高高的飞翔 有一天飞到了一个热闹的地方, reminds me of Wordsworth's poem, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud":-

"I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze"

While Wordsworth's poem is a positive commentary on the power of nature to inspire and uplift humanity through its beauty, the poem in question, 小鸟, is a critical and sad commentary on the negative impact of unnatural rampant urbanization bringing about an enforced artificiality of the human condition, divorced from any real philosophical content, thus leading to a misconception of one's true inner being, i.e. 假装看破了红尘...., and "tricked" oneself into behaving like 不长岁数的姑娘,她天真又大方噢 when one is actually not.

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  • Thank you for your great answer! The song is definitely critical, but I don't feel that it is sad or bitter. The singer seems caught up in the excitement of the times themselves, even though they criticize it: they are saying that the place they "flew" to is a 热闹的地方, it doesn't sound as if they dislike the crowds of people and vehicles: it's a 鲜花盛开的村庄. Feb 27 at 20:17
  • Also maybe a bit ironic: the image of the band members themselves could be described as 不说不笑目光很坚定, maybe even 假装看破了红尘! It's definitely intended to look cool. Feb 27 at 20:21
  • But if I'm understanding you correctly, you are saying: the second part (天真又大方) is (supposedly) an outcome of the first, 看破了红尘. i.e. the people the singer describes, mistakenly think, or pretend, that they understand the nature of the world. As a result they are also, either mistakenly or insincerely, innocent and generous. In other words, it's the same person. Feb 27 at 20:27
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I think that the lyrics may highlight the contrast between the facade of being detached from worldly concerns and the genuine, youthful nature of the person. It could be a commentary on the complexity of human emotions and the masks people may wear in their interactions with the world.

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  • That's interesting. It would mean that both lines are about the girl, underneath she really is innocent but she acts blase and worldly. It seems unusual that a person like that would be described as "innocent and generous", but maybe she's really a nice person and the songwriter thinks she should not try to hide that! Jan 28 at 7:28

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