Music Scene

Top tunes in Taiwanese Mandopop

Sun Shengxi: Where Is Shi?
Sun Shengxi: Where Is Shi?
Accusefive: Easy Come, Easy Go
Accusefive: Easy Come, Easy Go
Eric Chou (above right, with his brother Alex): Fortunate
Eric Chou (above right, with his brother Alex): Fortunate
Alex Chou: Magnifier
Alex Chou: Magnifier
Misi Ke: Drawing Dialogue
Misi Ke: Drawing Dialogue
Sharon Lee: Love Well
Sharon Lee: Love Well
Cosmos People: Tomorrow
Cosmos People: Tomorrow
Where Chou: Dawned On Me
Where Chou: Dawned On Me
Yo Lee: If Only You Could Love Me
Yo Lee: If Only You Could Love Me
Lala Hsu: Colorless Flower
Lala Hsu: Colorless Flower

Taiwan has long been considered the creative hub of Mandopop. Here are 10 works by Taiwanese musicians, which are available on music-streaming platforms such as KKBox, Spotify and Apple Music.

1 R&B

WHERE IS SHI?

Sun Shengxi

After clinching the Best Mandarin Album prize at the Golden Melody Awards for her previous album, Shi's Journey (2018), Taiwanese-Korean singer-songwriter Sun Shengxi, also known as Shi Shi, is not resting on her laurels.

Her fifth album, Where Is Shi?, is about surpassing oneself. She sings about the endless quest for success in Not Enough, a hunger for passion in Give It To Me and yearning for companionship in Realer Love.

2 POP

EASY COME, EASY GO

Accusefive

The trio of Accusefive - consisting of Che Chien, Chuan Ching and Pan Yun-an - will release their much-anticipated second album next Thursday.

The album's first single, the title track, is a breezy, happy-go-lucky tune that embraces life's ups and downs and is bound to get listeners snapping their fingers and whistling along.

3 POP

FORTUNATE

Eric Chou

Dubbed the "king of the lovelorn people" by the Taiwanese media, singer-songwriter Eric Chou (see third picture, with his brother Alex) is known for heartbreaking ballads such as How Have You Been? and The Distance Of Love.

He can now add Fortunate, a string orchestra-backed number which uses a ring as a symbol for happiness, to that list. It is also the theme song for the currently airing romantic-comedy television series Adventure Of The Ring.

4 R&B / RAP

MAGNIFIER

Alex Chou

To many, rapper-singer Alex Chou is the lesser-known but more in-your-face elder brother of Eric Chou. His song Magnifier is a critique of the hurtful cynicism found online and an argument for more love and tolerance in cyberspace.

5 POP/FOLK

DRAWING DIALOGUE

Misi Ke

With many thoughtful, soulful compositions, singer-songwriter Misi Ke's latest album is enchanting and contemplative. The languid melody of Illusion - which Ke composed - mesmerises, while the lyrics of Cast Away, which she co-wrote, are tinged with regret over past actions.

6 POP

LOVE WELL

Sharon Lee

Better known as an actress and television host, Sharon Lee was also a contestant on the first season of Taiwanese singing competition One Million Star.

Thirteen years on, she has released her debut solo album. Although the soft ballads grow tiresome after a while, Lee's honeyed pipes make for a soothing listen.

7 POP

TOMORROW

Cosmos People

This song about travelling, hiding in distant cities and visiting remote islands will scratch your travel itch.

Three-member band Cosmos People, made up of FunQ, Jade and A-Kui, belt out: "Oh please let me go/Change to another time zone/Replace the pain that I can't let go."

8 POP

DAWNED ON ME

Where Chou

Balladeer Where Chou's forte in delivering tender, wistful love songs saves her EP, Dawned On Me.

Her experimentation with other genres - such as disco funk in Don't Fake It! and R&B in Moonlight - comes across as awkward, but give her a ballad and she is in her element. Her ethereal, feather-light voice shines in tracks such as Where and Everything Is Fine But Alone.

9 POP

IF ONLY YOU COULD LOVE ME

Yo Lee

The debut album of singer-songwriter Yo Lee, who won Taiwanese singing competition Jungle Voice last year, features themes such as self-doubt, finding one's purpose and dealing with everyday stresses.

Several of the songs, such as Until I Met You, are best enjoyed with the accompanying music videos, which have imaginative storytelling concepts. The video for the title track, which depicts a hostage situation, resembles a climactic scene from a crime thriller.

10 POP

COLORLESS FLOWER

Lala Hsu

Despite the song's title, Lala Hsu's performance is anything but colourless.

In this theme song for the film Miss Andy (2020), about a 55-year-old transgender woman, Hsu's restrained, nuanced delivery perfectly captures the tension between conforming to societal norms and being true to oneself.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2020, with the headline 'Top tunes in Taiwanese Mandopop'. Print Edition | Subscribe