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Apr 12

Taiwanese Pop Music

Written by Steve on Monday, April 12th, 2010 at 2:04 am
Filed under:culture, General, music, video | Tags:, , , , ,
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In the past, I’ve written posts about indie music in China, Taiwan and other Asian countries but I haven’t spent much time on pop music since it isn’t really my thing. But I feel it is time to include what is most popular in these countries and I’ll start off with Taiwan. What inspired me to do this? Well, I recently discovered that my brother-in-law’s wife’s cousin (Wen Shang Yi 溫尚翊 also known as Monster) is the lead guitarist and leader of a band called Mayday 五月天 that is quite popular in Taiwan. So as a loyal brother-in-law, I needed an excuse to feature them!

Here’s another song from Mayday that features a ballad, and ballads are very, very, very popular over there!

Another band I’d like to feature that is also popular in Taiwan is Sodagreen 蘇打綠, with something more upbeat. They have been popular since 2004.

Mavis Fan 范曉萱 is another popular singer from Taiwan. She’s also known as ‘Bo Bo’ or ‘Little Witch’ and has been around since the mid ’90s. This song is simple and sweet.

…while this one has a pretty interesting video…

For something with a bit more edge, here’s Tizzy Bac. They were awarded the No.1 prize in the 2002 Hohaiyan Rock Festival, the biggest battle of bands in Taiwan at that time.

I had featured Crowd Lu 盧廣仲 in a previous post but since he’s still pretty popular, here’s another happy, goofy video as only he can do them.

OK, let’s get back to pure pop. Here’s Fahrenheit 飛輪海 featuring vocals by S.H.E.’s 女朋友 Hebe Tien.

For a change of pace, Korea’s Super Junior 슈퍼주니어 has a more derivative style. They were formed by an entertainment company after auditions, so not a “home grown” band like Mayday.

Cheer Chen 陳綺貞 reminds me a bit of Sweden’s Melpo Mene, even to the style of video. She started off as a mostly acoustic, folk based performer but as her career progressed, she’s added more rock influences.

Apei has a strong voice and a certain appeal.

Now we’ll go acoustic with Deserts Chang 張懸, one of the leading alternative musicians in the Chinese music industry.

Keeping it mellow, here’s carrchy.

F.I.R. 飛兒樂團 is another very popular Taiwanese band. They are well known throughout Asia with their hit “Lydia,” which was the theme song for the Taiwanese TV drama “The Outsiders(鬥魚).” The drama was aired in Taiwan without revealing the singer of the theme song. The song attracted many fans, which led to F.I.R.’s big success when they finally debuted in 2004.

Here’s your morning Milk & Coffee.

China’s Huer started out as a retro punk band as featured here, then totally sold out, copied some Japanese song and is now an embarrassment. But in the beginning, they were fun!

They’re relaxed, they’re jazzy, they’re Sticky Rice.

I get a kick out of Yu Zhou Ren 宇宙人.

I’d like to compare three very popular female pop bands, starting with Taiwan’s S.H.E. 女朋友.

As a contrast, this is Korea’s Jewelry.

How about some technopop from Japan? Here’s Hiroshima’s Perfume with a song from their newest album.

Finally, a last song from Mayday. Support my relatives!! ;)


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58 Responses to “Taiwanese Pop Music”

  1. Louis Yu Says:

    On a side note, Fahrenheit 飛輪海 ‘s Calvin Chen 辰亦儒 did a master in Economics at UVIC (the University that I’m doing my PhD at). He took a first year computer science course from me

  2. Jed Yoong Says:

    Hey, Good post. Just what I needed. ^_^. Tx.

  3. Steve Says:

    Hi Jed, glad to see you back!!

    I stupidly neglected to mention that I received an enormous amount of help on this post from Miaka and Louis Yu. Thanks a million! Lou has forgotten more about Asian music than the rest of us have ever learned and Miaka is our resident Asian pop music guru. Feel free to add your own links to pop songs you like; these posts are for sharing.

  4. miaka9383 Says:

    What happened to Sorry Sorry??????
    So sad my fav super junior song didn’t make it hahaha…

  5. Steve Says:

    What Miaka wants, Miaka gets… ;)

  6. L Says:

    Hey nice post! But aren’t Carrchy and Milk & Coffee from mainland China?

  7. Steve Says:

    Hi L~

    I should have clarified that. I tried to keep the majority of them from Taiwan but added a few from here and there, just for comparison and because I liked the songs. I wasn’t able to find any information on either band in English so if you can link to that, it’d be appreciated. And if you know of any videos that you’d like to share, let us know and I can embed them. They don’t have to be from Taiwan, anywhere in Asia will do.

  8. Louis Yu Says:

    Huer (the flowers) is from mainland China too

  9. anon Says:

    Mayday just had a concert in Los Angeles not too long ago!

  10. Jed Yoong Says:

    ^_^ Always reading. Hee Hee.

  11. Lime Says:

    Hi Steve et al,

    I can’t contribute much, but here’s one song by Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰), a Taiwanian popstar/rocker, that I thought was kind of catchy.

    Thanks for the post Steve!

  12. Steve Says:

    Hi Lime, glad to see you on FM again. Thanks for the catchy song! Anyone else that knows a good song from Asia, just let us know and we’ll also post it.

  13. WYA Says:

    Great choices of artists. I love Jay Chou and Wang Leehom and how they combine classical Chinese elements with western R&B. below are the links to their mv. (someone tell me how to embed video?) Thanks!

    Wang Lee Hom’s 花田错

    Jay Chou’s 千里之外

  14. Steve Says:

    Hi WYA, welcome to FM and thanks for the songs! If you post the link as you did, I’ll embed the song on here.

  15. Rhan Says:

    After many years, I am extremely puzzle why there is no Mainlander or Shanghainist that able to write something similar to Jay Chou’s 上海一九四三 ?

    …..我对着黑白照片开始想像 爸和妈当年的模样
    说着一口吴侬软语的姑娘缓缓走过外滩
    消失的旧时光一九四三
    在回忆的路上时间变好慢
    老街坊小弄堂
    是属于那年代白墙黑瓦的淡淡的忧伤……

    Taiwanese music is the best.

  16. Louis Yu Says:

    I’ll focus more on the indie, borderline commercial Taiwanese pop. You know, just something fresh in the mix. Taiwan actually have a pretty cool underground rap scene. They focus on the more jazzy side of hip hop, retro even. Here are two names.
    1) Soft Lipa (蛋堡)

    2) Manchuker (滿人), whose album just came out. Those two are sort of the leading figure of indie hip hop scene in Taiwan

  17. WYA Says:

    Thanks for the welcome Steve, I have been reading Fool’s Mountain for a long time, just your post really caught my eye since I’m a big fan of Mayday.

    Manchuker sounds amazing Louis, I love the line:” 那是英国人的鸦片给我开始烧“ haha

  18. Louis Yu Says:

    Yeah I like it too WYA, a lot of the quality indie stuff in Taiwan are from kids that went to school in US/Canada/UK. They then later come back and the music’s just a little fresher.
    I’ll provide another one. Stanley Huang’s probably my fav commercial pop singer in Taiwan. It’s commercial pop with just tiny bit of edge.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQaXkXKnXqg

  19. Crystal Says:

    Mmmm… the list is not full without sweet Rainie Yang & Jolin Tsai ))

  20. Steve Says:

    Crystal, recommendations without links? Next time let us know your favorite tracks and I’ll embed them! ;)

    This is Rainie Yang’s newest video, Wild Fantasy.

    … and an older ballad, Anonymous Friends.

    Here is Jolin Tsai’s Let’s Move It.

  21. WYA Says:

    ugggh…Jolin Tsai and Rainie Yang…haha they are probably the two female artists that I cannot stand. Although I can see why lot of people do like them. As for female artists in Mandopop I would say Fish Leong and Joanna Wang (she got a sexy jazzy voice)

    Fish Leong 梁静茹 无条件为你

    Joanna Wang 有你的快乐

  22. Steve Says:

    @ WYA: I really like this Joanna Wang song! I looked her up and though born in Taipei, she was raised in Los Angeles so practically my neighbor. :)

  23. WYA Says:

    haha, glad you liked it Steve, she has a pretty strong music background (I think her dad is a Taiwanese music producer). How did you find out about your brother in law’s wife’s cousin is Monster from Mayday? Is it too soon to ask for his autograph? haha just kidding.

  24. Steve Says:

    @ WYA: My wife was back in Taiwan over the holidays and was visiting her youngest brother and his wife. Our nephew who is 19 told her about it. He and his sister (our niece) something hang with the band and hit a lot of their concerts. My sister in law is actually much older than he is, I think she’s in her mid 40s now while Shangyu is 33. Like my wife’s family, they are also Hakka though from Hsinchu while my wife’s family is from Miaoli. Next time we’re in Taipei we’ll have to catch a concert if we have the chance but it’ll probably be a couple of years because I promised a trip to Spain for my wife’s next birthday and that’ll suck up all my holiday time and money. ;)

  25. WYA Says:

    Haha, when you do hit their concert please post the pictures! It’s always interesting when there’s connection to celebrity, have fun in Spain!

  26. No99 Says:

    Yeah, this website does deserve a break once in a while, something other than politics, prejudice, news commentaries and weird stories.

    I say this with much confidence that there is indeed a lot of Talent in the people of Taiwan, wherever they go. Not just Music and arts, but also science, technology, engineering, medicine, Fashion, Design, Education, Charity, etc. Really, I can not think of anything progressive in our modern world that doesn’t have at least one Taiwan Ren significantly contributing to it.

    So Kudos to them.

  27. No99 Says:

    BTW, I also live near Los Angeles.

    Like to add in some of my favorites, whether other people like them or not.

    Just feel like mentioning that Khalil Fong is actually an ABC from Hawaii and also a Bahai.

    I don’t know they might be too cheesy for you all and I kind of chose the songs in random. The artists are cool though.

  28. Steve Says:

    Hi No99, welcome to the blog! Not cheesy at all and random is good. I liked the first song the most but Khalil Fong is also quite good. My goal is to create more exposure for a bunch of different artists that the rest of us might not know about. Some we’ll love, some we’ll like and others maybe not so much but that’s the fun of it, right? I feel if each of us finds one artist we really like and never heard of before, then the post is worth it. Feel free to contribute other songs you really like, especially ones that might not be too popular yet and I’ll embed them for everyone to sample and enjoy.

  29. No99 Says:

    I’m just a little bored so I decided to fill this videos.

    Not an mv, but I do like the usual lubby dubby songs.

    Singaporean guy but you can say made it in Taiwan

    I think some fans made this video, but Anson Hu, Mainland Chinese guy

    This is an American band, the lead singer is an ABC, from Virginia

    I like this duet. There’s a lot on this guy’s channel that’s in English and Pinyin subs.

    I think this guy is decent.

    This is a song in Hakka, the song starts at 2:17

    Another Hakka song

    She is not from Taiwan, but I like it.

    There’s a lot of decent Christian songs from Taiwan but I’m not sure how you all would take religious material.

  30. Steve Says:

    No99, thanks for the videos. I embedded them for easier viewing. Busy right now but I’ll listen to them later and let you know what I think. Thanks again!

  31. No99 Says:

    More songs

    Hokkien Hip Hop by Kaoqiuqin

    Hokkien Rock song by Meihuoqi

    Taiwan Aborigine Group

    Random piece I put in here just for the heck of it, lol.

    I think Jay Chou did this for some annoying paparazzi

    I randomly saw this…Color Band, they have a lot of street vids.

  32. Steve Says:

    Hi No99, my wife loved the two Hakka guys and explained to me the meaning of that song and others we found on YouTube from Hakka TV. In fact, on one of them she thought she saw her nephew! :P

    Seems those guys are from Pingtung and their softer accent is similar to hers in Miaoli, though she said the Hakka accents in Hsinchu and Taichung are more harsh. That lead guitarist is quite talented! Thanks for sharing it.

  33. No99 Says:

    My family is part Hakka too, but the speakers in Taiwan sound a little different. I wished my mom happy birthday in Hakka using the pronunciation Taiwanese use but it was different. The word mom was pronounce different too.

  34. Steve Says:

    I remember when we had originally moved to San Diego, we were walking down some street when we saw a Hakkanese-American Association storefront so we went in. It was a bunch of older people drinking tea and playing mahjongg but after we left, my wife said they were from mainland China and their accent was difficult for her to understand. She can listen to a Taiwanese Hakka and immediately know from which Hakka town they were raised. I’ve heard the same from Shanghainese who told me they could listen to someone speaking the Shanghai dialect and immediately tell from which neighborhood they were raised.

    When my wife talks with her family they speak Hakka all the time. Outside of “thank you” I don’t know any of it so I’m at a complete loss. When I lived in Miaoli, the market was conducted in Hakka and if you spoke mandarin, you definitely paid more!

  35. Steve Says:

    My wife looked this over and said, “Where’s Jiang Hui?” (江惠) So here she is… :) To me, she sounds a lot like Deng Lijun.

  36. Hong Konger Says:

    Re: #35

    Steve,

    江惠is the name of the Min Nan 闽南语singer in the video. She does sound like Deng Lijun.

  37. Hong Konger Says:

    Ops, I replied too soon…I see your wife was asking where is Jiang Hui in your postings…apologies.

    BTW,has anybody seen the TV series “Sons of Anarchy,” and “Spartacus: Blood And Sand‎”?

  38. No99 Says:

    Both very good shows, Hong Konger,

    I don’t know how the Spartacus series will move on because the main actor is facing some health issues, but I’ve heard they were planning a prequel, but I know everyone wants to story to go on.

    Sons of Anarchy is good too. A little bit too much bromance but it’s alright. I wonder if they are going to film in Canada for some scenes, since the Irish guys took Jax’s son away.

  39. No99 Says:

    Some Oldies

  40. No99 Says:

    Steve,

    Yingh hao ma? Something funny for you and the misses.

  41. HongKonger Says:

    Nothing to do with Taiwan…just a very funny song to share:

    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNjYwMzk1OTY=.html

  42. Steve Says:

    @ HKer: For some reason, this song is blocked in the States or at least where I live. Not sure why…

  43. HKer Says:

    #42
    @Steve,

    Hm…maybe youku.com China is blocked in the US? Anyway, it’s “Joe Dolce Music Theatre – Shaddap You Face”

    Hey, I ‘d just watched an excellent political thriller !

    “UNthinkable” (2010)

    Evil comes with an evil.

    This movie is one of the most suspense thrillers that i haven’t seen in a while. Psychological tense is so immerse that at times it is hard to watch. Samuel as always superb in portraying his character, Carrie-Anne Moss also did good job, but most impressive character is “Younger” played by British ace actor, Michael Sheen (Foster/Nixon, Queen, The deal).Psychological picture in his character is so real that you can feel the pain, the anger, and whole bunch of emotions that comes with perfect acting.
    The idea of the movie is so controversial, that it will definitely cause to question what is right and what is wrong. In our troubled time, where we use force against the evil, just to make evil stronger, more adaptive and more revengeful, the time for this movie maybe wrong. I hope it will be accepted as a fiction that it is!

    Samuel L. Blackson – 3 days ago

    BEST… MOVIE… EVER…

    Moviefan – 2 days ago

    Come ON! Why haven’t people been talking about this movie? One of the best I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen ALOT!

    Hongkonger: “UNthinkable” is probably one of the BEST Hollywood movies on Terrorism EVER
    - BE SURE TO WATCH IT.

  44. miaka9383 Says:

    Certain things on youku, is blocked from the u.s side from some odd reason. But it is not fully blocked

  45. No99 Says:

    This is an HK Indie Band.

    Noughts and Exes
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC9yBCdDYUw

    I don’t know where these guys are from, but it’s from the same site I got the video above.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpxkXTC_Tgo

  46. Jennie Says:

    That song is great. Check out the new video from Jenny Berggren (from Ace Of Base) – Here I Am
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZL1u1Ih-O0

  47. Steve Says:

    The daughter of a friend of ours is doing the publicity for a North American tour of F4 (JVKV) which is a Taiwan boy band that became popular from the TV series Meteor Garden. I’m not big on boy bands but they are huge with teenage Asian girls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1eXfbLqrXU
    (I wasn’t able to embed this one)

  48. Rhan Says:

    F4 the boy band? I bet most of the girls below the age of 16 don’t know F4. I used to be a fan of Leslie Cheung and Alan Tam, but could only find their album and song in the oldies section today. Haha.

    Some Chinese band really bring a new life to some popular Taiwanese pop in the past, I like小娟•山谷里的居民 and 梦之旅演唱组合. Not sure if they are popular in China or Taiwan?

  49. miaka9383 Says:

    @Steve
    F4 They have all moved on to Idol Dramas haha…. I used to /still do on my old harddrive of their songs :D

  50. Steve Says:

    Miaka, I guess they’re still around. I never heard of them until yesterday and only because of the publicity our friend’s daughter is handling for them.

  51. No99 Says:

    It kind of pop in my mind all of the sudden, but I have to ask if there are any Dongbei “Hu’er” songs?

  52. No99 Says:

    A couple of Hakka songs. The second one is kind of funny.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6AosJWppBU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dwp8et_8q3M

    I found out one of my ancestral villages is a place called Wei’an, in Guangdong but now it’s part of a place called Bao’an. I also have a distant relative who is sort of a politician in a place called Ai’ling (sorry if it’s not right, I’m trying to translate from Cantonese to Mandarin).

  53. Anna Li Says:

    There are a couple of new bands in Taiwan that is popping out of nowhere which sets the trend in another direction. For example, a group I recently discovered (and like very much) is the band “Cool Silly”. Who emerged out of nowhere with the Taiwan International Floral Expo theme song. They’re sort of like the Chinese Black Eyed Peas a bit with their live performance upbeat style. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fh8nVo9mC14

  54. Steve Says:

    Hi Anna, thanks for introducing us to Cool Silly. I hadn’t run across them before so it’s a first for me. When I searched out a few more of their videos, I wasn’t expecting a violin player! Who are the other new bands that you feel are setting trends in the Taiwan music world? I’m curious and would love to get their names and maybe a few links.

  55. Jesseeski Says:

    Does any one know of the Taiwanese boy band FIRE? We have found one video on YouTube. We are very impressed and would like to hear more.

  56. PHAM QUOC Says:

    I want to share this music video Vietnam- Chinese : YEU QUA TAY, HOI AM TAY NGUOI. You can watch it on youtube. Good luck, happy…

  57. Kenal Says:

    I’ve been searching long a hard for some good Mandarin pop music because I am learning the language. It very difficult to find Chinese music in America, thank you for these songs.

  58. online job Says:

    Hi my loved one! I want to say that this article is awesome, great written and include approximately all vital infos. I’d like to look extra posts like this .

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