Music Scene

Dynamic duets in Mandopop

Chinese singer Jiang Jing (above, right) and Taiwanese musician Ayal Komod (above, left).
Chinese singer Jiang Jing (above, right) and Taiwanese musician Ayal Komod (above, left).PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS
STOP CLUBBING!.
STOP CLUBBING!.PHOTO: ASIAN TONE CULTURAL AND CREATIVE INDUSTRY
COME JAM WITH HARLEM.
COME JAM WITH HARLEM.PHOTO: LINFAIR RECORDS

Like the perfect cocktail, a well-blended duet is a wondrous thing - and these Mandopop stars have collaborated to create some noteworthy numbers.

1 DANCE/ELECTRONIC

STOP CLUBBING!

Namewee and DJ Jerry

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

Watch it on: bit.ly/3mSj7fc

Another mischievous track from Malaysian rapper Namewee, this work sees him collaborating with Taiwanese rapper DJ Jerry - billed as the godfather of Taiwanese electronic music - to satirise the hedonism of clubbing culture. Together, they are a pair of in-your-face partygoers, asking women to stop clubbing and follow them home instead.


2 DISCO/POP

COME JAM WITH HARLEM

Harlem Yu and Jam Hsiao

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

Watch it on: bit.ly/32TkwKp

Veteran Taiwanese singer-songwriter Harlem Yu, 59, joins hands with millennial Taiwanese musician Jam Hsiao, 33, for a groovy, head bop-inducing song that will get you on your feet.

Yu's playful energy melds with Hsiao's Bee Gees-style falsetto to create something new for listeners young and old.



PHOTO: VIVIAN CHANG

3 R&B/POP

WRETCH.CC

Joey Huang and Wen Hsu

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

Watch it on: bit.ly/3hOcQ05

This indie number is a valentine to Wretch, a Taiwanese community website which was popular in the 2000s but closed down in 2013.

A collaboration between songwriter Joey Huang and vocalist Wen Hsu, both from Taiwan, the nostalgic music video features simple chat windows on desktop computers and the shy, tentative behaviour of the site's users.



PHOTO: UPTOWN ENTERTAINMENT

4. R&B/ELECTRONIC

IMPERFECT

Esther Wu and BT from G22

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

Watch it on: bit.ly/2HnNdqA

Taiwan-based R&B musicians Esther Wu and BT from performing group G22 have come up with a trippy track about accepting a relationship despite its imperfections. The song's drifting, undulating beats mirror the ups and downs of a relationship.



PHOTO: AVEX TAIWAN

5. POP/R&B

EVERYDAY

Wayne Huang and Shou

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

Watch it on: bit.ly/32OoaFo

A ode to everyday joys such as daydreaming and hanging out with friends, this languid song will lull listeners into blissful contentment. Taiwanese singer-actor Wayne Huang's smooth, mellow pipes and fellow Taiwanese singer Shou's laid-back rapping go well together.



PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS

6. POP

IT'S ALL GOOD

Jiang Jing and Ayal Komod

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

Watch it on: bit.ly/2ElAxPI

The simple guitar accompaniment reflects the song's sombre subject of accepting a sad situation.

There is a certain sense of freedom when one finally lets go, and Chinese singer Jiang Jing and Taiwanese musician Ayal Komod - who worked together on the song's melody and lyrics - capture this beautiful sense of loss.



PHOTO: B'IN MUSIC

7. POP

SUMMER DELUSION

Tarcy Su and Waa Wei

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

Watch it on: bit.ly/300LLAZ


PHOTO: TARCY SU/ FACEBOOK

In this breezy song about imagined happenings, Taiwanese singers Tarcy Su (above, right) and Waa Wei (above, left) celebrate the joys of reverie.

Taken from Su's album Every Side Of Me, released earlier this year, the song's music video combines Su's sweet wholesomeness with Wei's sense of whimsy.

Su performed the number at her concert on Sept 12 at the Taipei Music Center (above), where Wei appeared as a guest singer, to fans' delight.



PHOTO: GO EAST MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT CONSULTING (BEIJING)

8. POP

LIKE A CHILD

Sunnee and Z. Tao

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


PHOTO: SUNNEE/FACEBOOK

This Mandarin work by Thailand-born singer Sunnee (above) and Chinese singer Z. Tao is an uplifting tune about looking at life through the eyes of a child.

Sunnee's gentle voice conveys a sense of wide-eyed optimism, while Z. Tao's pipes express the steely determination of one ready to take on the world.



PHOTO: BEIJING YOUNG MUSIC CULTURE DEVELOPMENT

9. POP/RAP

TWO ORDINARY YOUTHS

Li Ronghao and Lexie Liu

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

If someone has studied acting for 10 years, will he necessarily be good at it? If a work has won no awards, does that make it bad?

These are among the questions raised in this self-referential song about artistic value.

The lyrics of this collaboration between Chinese singer-songwriter Li Ronghao and Chinese singer Lexie Liu brim with ideas.



PHOTO: B.P. LIN STUDIO

10. R&B/SOUL

MOUNTAIN DUDE

Linion and L8ching

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

Watch it on: bit.ly/2RKVtTq

These two musicians are from different parts of Taiwan - Linion is from Tamsui and L8ching is from Shipai - and their collaboration celebrates their shared love of mountains and forests.

The song's easy-going feel makes it perfect for an afternoon walk and the music video, featuring beautiful natural landscapes, will have you longing to travel again.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2020, with the headline 'Dynamic duets in Mandopop'. Print Edition | Subscribe