Music Scene: Charming boy bands and girl groups of Chinese music

Chinese boy band TFBoys, which consist of members (from left) Roy Wang, Karry Wang and Jackson Yee. PHOTO: TFBOYS / WEIBO

SINGAPORE - Groups in the Chinese music scene have put out an impressive body of work recently, with smooth harmonies, catchy hooks and snazzy choreography. Understanding the individual strengths of their members, many of these boy bands and girl groups have delivered more than the sum of their parts.

Here are 10 new releases.

1. POP

TOGETHER WITH YOU

TFBoys

Hear it on: KKBox, Spotifyand other music streaming platforms

Watch it on: bit.ly/36TaKZw

Every year, millions of fans eagerly await the new songs from this Chinese superstar boy band - made up of Roy Wang, Karry Wang and Jackson Yee - for their anniversary concert.

While the performance of this year's numbers - Together With You and Lights - appeared rather wooden during the group's seventh anniversary online concert in August, the tunes brim with the same boy-next-door wholesomeness and positivity that have endeared the trio to legions of fans.

2. ALTERNATIVE FOLK

REAL LOVE IS...

PHOTO: SOUND OF TOMORROW

The Chairs

Hear it on: KKBox, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

Watch it on: bit.ly/3lUEgo6

After clinching the award for Best Vocal Collaboration at last year's Golden Melody Awards, Taipei-based indie band The Chairs - consisting of Jin Chiu, Zhong Chen and Benson Sun - are back with a new album, Real Love Is...

With many laid-back, loungey numbers - from the idyllic Paradise... How Far? to the folksy Maybe Maybe - this work is perfect for a lazy afternoon.

3. POP

NAUGHTY BEAUTY

PHOTO: ENJOY RECORDS

Per6ix

Hear it on: KKBox, Spotifyand other music streaming platforms

Watch it on: bit.ly/2UQGsAU

Releasing their first EP in April, Taiwanese girl group Per6ix's name combines the word "persist" with the fact that it has six members.

A sense of youthful determination pervades this second EP's title track, Naughty Beauty, which is about staying the course and having no regrets.

4. POP

ONE AND ALL

PHOTO: MUSIC NATION RECORDS

Mirror

Hear it on: KKBox, Spotifyand other music streaming platforms

Watch it on: bit.ly/37d3RCH

Hong Kong boy band Mirrorwereformed in 2018 from 12 contestantson the Good Night Show - King Maker talent show.

Earlier this month, they released the heart-warming Cantonese song One And All, celebrating their camaraderie and shared ups and downs.

5. POP / HIP-HOP

UNFORGETTABLE

PHOTO: TIANJIN HUA LU CULTURE & COMMUNICATION

Unine

Hear it on: KKBox, Apple Music and other music streaming platforms

Watch it on: bit.ly/2HnxZCe

Debuting in 2019 and disbanding last month, this Chinese nine-member boy band was around for only 18 months, with many posts saying that the members had "graduated".

Their last EP, Unforgettable, was ironically quite forgettable. While the songs Speechless and Shiny Day emphasise the specialness of their time together, it is hard to feel for a group whose lifespan was so brief.

6. HIP-HOP/POP

GIRLS ON FIRE

PHOTO: WILDLIFE ENTERTAINMENT

G.O.F

Hear it on: KKBox, Apple Musicand other music streaming platforms

Watch it on: bit.ly/36TbZrE

Seven-member girl group G.O.F, short for "Girls On Fire", are a product of the Taiwanese reality competition Dancing Diamond 52 (2020).

On their first album, they prove to be a force to be reckoned with. The opening song Runaway features a sturdy, galloping beat, rapid-fire rapping and screams. Many bass-heavy numbers, such as Boom Cha Cha La Ka and Fairy Temple, combine fiery passion with boundless energy. Looks like exciting things lie ahead for this fireball of a band.

7. ROCK

BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH

PHOTO: HIM INTERNATIONAL MUSIC

F.I.R.

Hear it on: KKBox, Spotify and other music streaming platforms

Watch it on: bit.ly/3lZIyL2

Taiwanese pop-rock band F.I.R. makes full use of lead singer Lydia Han's rich, full-bodied voice to deliver a rousing theme song for the animation series Da Shen Xian, which premiered this month.

Its lush instrumentation - including the use of the shakuhachi Japanese flute, gongs and cymbals - as well as its wide emotional range fit very well with the magical powers and creatures featured in the show.

8. ROCK

LET BYGONES BE BYGONES

PHOTO: HIM INTERNATIONAL MUSIC

Power Station

Hear it on: KKBox, Apple Musicand other music streaming platforms

Watch it on: bit.ly/35XfyxX

Taiwanese rock duo Power Station's 2001 songWalking On Chung Hsiao East Road Nine Times was about heartbreak surrounding a failed relationship, with lyrics written by famed lyricist Wu Yu-kang.

This month, they released what they called a sequel, Let Bygones Be Bygones, with its Chinese lyrics also penned by Wu. The new song, about letting go of the past, is full of wistful longing and does justice to the original.

9. POP

UHHO UHHOHO

PHOTO: ENJOY RECORDS

AKB48 Team TP

Hear it on: KKBox, Spotifyand other music streaming platforms

Watch it on: bit.ly/3nLzDNv

Brace yourself. This Taiwanese idol girl group features 16 members on the cover of its latest EP, Uhho Uhhoho, and online sources suggest there might be even more members and trainees associated with it.

Given the sheer number of voices, they sometimes sound like a classroom of schoolgirls singing in unison. In the title track's music video, the members are also shown setting up yurts and dancing around a campfire, presumably on some sort of excursion.

10. POP / ROCK

DESTINATION NOWHERE

PHOTO: MEDIA ASIA MUSIC

Nowhere Boys

Hear it on: KKBox, Spotifyand other music streaming platforms

Watch it on: bit.ly/2IZNVem

The five members of Hong Kong rock band Nowhere Boys come from diverse backgrounds - from architecture to fixing guitars - and it shows in their music.

Their album Destination Nowherehas myriad influences and subjects, such as superheroes in Superpowers, Disney films in Electronic Dream and the Hong Kong housing situation in That's Why, and it is a joy to unpack their eclectic references.

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