ST's Boon Chan: My favourite 10 Mandarin albums of 2013

Khalil Fong promoting his album Back to Wonderland.Warner Music Taiwan

Before we dive headlong into another year of new music offerings, let's take a last look at 10 albums I've enjoyed in the past 12 months. Here they are, in no particular order.

52 Hertz (52赫兹), The Verse: Indie singer-songwriter Cheer Chen teams up with her producer boyfriend Tiger Chung and noted composer Chen Chien-chi for a thoughtful and fruitful exploration of electronica.

Angel vs Devil (天使与魔鬼的对话), Tanya Chua (蔡健雅): The follow-up to her Golden Melody Ward-winning Sing It Out Of Love (2011) finds her in a conflicted place emotionally - and that is good news for the record.

Autumn: Stories(秋:故事), sodagreen(苏打绿): In keeping with the season, the mood is autumnal as summer slips away and leaves begin to fall. The use of traditional Chinese instruments such as the erhu and flute add to the sense of melancholy.

Ayal Komod(我是海雅谷慕), Chang Chen-yue(张震岳): He steps out under his aboriginal name and offers up a laidback sun-sea-and-surf vibe. He also takes stock of life and shakes his head at the emptiness of material pursuits.

Back To Wonderland (回到未来), Khalil Fong(方大同): The singer-songwriter's assured musicality is on full display as he dabbles in R&B, soul, pop, rock, jazz and even funk.

Coexistence (共存), Denise Ho (何韵诗): Coming out has freed her as an artist and she is honest and open here - completely comfortable in her own skin at last.

Fragile (易碎物), Tizzy Bac: The fragility of life serves as muse but the band are more than one-note doomsday purveyors as the rich and epic album also celebrates life.

A Low-Key Life (低调人生), Sandee Chan (陈珊妮): This harks back to the darker-themed electronica of If There Is One Thing That Is Important (2008). The music and vocals are soothing, but there is nothing low-key about the emotions and ideas.

Renovate (你所不知道的杜振熙之内部整修), Soft Lipa (蛋堡): The rapper holds nothing back over a sprawling two-disc set and the results are provocative, confessional and deeply personal.

You Quietly Hide Away (你安安静静地躲起来), Ellen Loo (卢凯彤): Her emotions are all on display on her sophomore album and the songs go from quiet devastation to lashing out at someone who had hurt her. Bonus points for putting on a playful and electrifying gig at the Esplanade in Jan.