To herald in the new year, I, along with some friends of APW decided to put together some Top 10 lists of our favourite Mandopop songs of 2017 to share in a blog series! In a way, I thought it would be cool to see what were other Mandopop listeners' favourite songs of the year; an experiment of subjectivity if you'd like.
In the first part of the series, I share my top 10, which include songs from Stefanie Sun, Wang Leehom, Namewee, Lala Hsu and more! Some might be songs you've heard frequently on the top charts, while others might be personal favourites which I think deserve to be in the spotlight before the year ends. Either way, I hope it provides all readers with a unique perspective on Mandopop and how the scene has changed and progressed over the past year. Evidently, there have been so many exciting developments that leave me hopeful for the growth of the industry and it's capacity for cross-cultural dialogue in the near future. Do check our picks out, and we've even included a Spotify playlist down the bottom if that's your preferred listening method. Merry Christmas and happy new year!
10. Jia JIa家家 - Jia Jia Song家家歌
Although Amit (A-mei’s alter ego) is taking a break this year, Jia Jia’s latest release has ensured that there is no lack in Taiwanese Aboriginal representations in pop music, releasing her first album featuring a plethora of self-composed works. One that stood out to me was her first single ‘Jia Jia Song’ which features other notable Aboriginal artists Suming and Ilid Kaolo, which incorporates traditional Aboriginal songs which seamlessly mix with elements of pop music such as the use of synthesizer beats underlying the song, and the use of some Chinese lyrics. With a melody that is mysterious yet beckons us to find out more, Jia Jia’s velveteen vocals draws us in and builds a bridge of accessibility for mainstream audiences to understand and appreciate her culture in a safe creative setting. The unique charisma of the song will have you singing along to its simple, natural lyrics in no time!
9.孫燕姿 STEFANIE SUN - 風衣 WINDBREAKER
This song off Stefanie Sun’s long-awaited 13th album ‘Dancing Van Gogh’ stood out to me for its unconventional take on a ballad. Starting off hauntingly beautiful, the addition of R&B beats in the background in the chorus underlying a heartfelt melody creates possibilities I never thought possible. The beats and melody in the chorus bounce off each other; lifting the song’s atmosphere higher and higher, like wind whipping through the trees. I especially love the lyrical metaphor of the windbreaker, and feel that this song fits Sun’s carefree vocals to a T.
8.POETEK熊仔, JULIA WU吳卓源, RGRY - 買榜MYBONG (BUY THE CHARTS)
Another trend that has been really positive in 2017 and looks to continue into 2018 is the emergence of several cool, young artists who have emerged from the underground/independent scene, pushing out new works left and right that disrupt the mainstream charts’ never-ending cycle of love ballads. With fewer connections and less resources, these guys are the key to the revival of the Mandopop music industry. One such success story is that of single ‘Buy the Charts’ released by rapper Poetek, Julia Wu and RGRY, a rather lighthearted and chill track which gets into your head like an earworm. Switching up the conventional rap song format by mixing some melody into the rap part and some rap into the melody section, the song is effortlessly groovy, with tongue-in-cheek lyrics which sing about making it big on the charts. Ironically (or not), the song has rapidly made its way up the Top 100 charts on KKBOX. Let’s just hope it stays that way and keeps climbing!
7. A-MEI張惠妹Ft. E-SO瘦子 (MJ116) - Whatever你說了算 ft. E-so
A-mei has always been known for championing causes that are marginalized, be it LGBTIQ rights, Aboriginal representation, or even the creative works of underground/independent songwriters. In the past she’s used songs by people she’s found on the internet (Matriarchy by 愛力獅Alice), worked on songs with Miss Ko and Soft Lipa, but for her latest album ‘Story Thief’ her third single ‘Whatever’ takes the cake for the most out-there, yet irresistibly energetic song I’ve heard in a while. Almost schizophrenic in nature, (think Bohemian Rhapsody), the song switches erratically between minor and major keys, starting off with prim and proper chords on the keyboard before launching with no further warning into an unconventional hip hop segment replete with quirky, short guitar riffs. And all this happens within the first 40 seconds of the song. Switching with no rhyme or rhythm between dark and happy themes, the song teeters on the edge of insanity, buoyed only by the absolute confidence of A-mei’s dynamic vocals. Such a weird song, but in the best way possible!
Check out the lyric translations for 'Whatever' here.
Hot off the press without further ado, here's your basic survival guide for who was nominated at all the award categories at the 27th Golden Melody Awards!
Album of the Year
-Village Besieged /Foothills Folk LLC
-All Nominated Titles of Best Album in Mandarin
-All Nominated Titles of Best Album in Taiwanese
-All Nominated Titles of Best Album in Hakka
-All Nominated Titles of Best Album in an Aboriginal Language
Song of the Year
-Love Confession《Jay Chou’s Bedtime Stories》/ JVR Music International Ltd.
-Traces of Time In Love 《Traces of Time In Love 》/EMI Records And Entertainment Limited
-Peng-Kung《Ding Zi Hua》/Universal Music Taiwan Ltd.
-The Sum of Us 《Talk About Eve》/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
-Tough《history of Tomorrow》/ B'IN MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
-Simon Says《The Servile》/Rocksurf
-Centrifugal Force《 CENTERIFUGAL FORCE》/Asia Muse Entertainment
-Spoiled Innocence《Sell like hot cakes》/HIM International Music
Best Mandarin Album
《JOURNEY TO THE WEST》/ Fu Music Limited
《The Silent Star Stone》/Universal Music Taiwan Ltd.
《Talk About Eve》/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
《history of Tomorrow》/ B'IN MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
《run! frantic flowers!》/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
《Million Songs Hill》/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
Best Taiwanese Album-Ding Zi Hua/Universal Music Taiwan Ltd.
-Taipei Didilong / Kao Muziq Co. Ltd
-REBORN/ FIRE ON MUSIC CO., LTD.
-Chiu nien /KAWA Music Co.Ltd
-TaiKo Electro Company / The Hu Music Studio
-The boyhood of chairman/D.G.S.Marketing
Best Hakka Album-The Golden Age/ sincerely music
-Mosaic Of The Night/ Foothills Folk LLC
-Smiley Universe/ Taipei Hakka Affairs Commission
-The Funky Song For Tung Blossom/ Feeling Good Music Co. Ltd.
-Wo ba jiang hai lu wo ma jiang si xian/ t-rex music
Best Aboriginal Album-Yaangad /katatepan Cultural Studio
-Tracing the River of Life/Wind Music
-Long-Ger /Long-Ger Longer Story Album /Good Collection Studio
-vavayan /ELEVENZ PRODUCTION & PUBLISHING CO., LTD.
-Sadu Kata Buan/ DRUMBOAT MUSIC
Best Music Video-Chai《Chang and Lee》/ Anlemouse Production Company (Director: Peng Jhun-yi、Zhu Qi-guang 、Chang Hsi-an )
-Bedtime Stories 《Jay Chou’s Bedtime Stories》/ JVR Music International Ltd. (Director: Jay Chou)
-Mercury Records《The Silent Star Stone》/Universal Music Taiwan Ltd. (Director: Huang Chieh-yu )
-Love Yourself《DAY BY DAY》/ HIM International Music Inc. (Director: Bill Chia )
-Tough《history of Tomorrow》/ B’in Music Co. Ltd. (Director: Muh Chen )
-Dust My Shoulders Off《Jane Zhang Dust My Shoulders Off》/ Melody Media -Music Co. Ltd./ (Director: Liao Jen Shuai )
Best Composer-Guo Ding/The Fog Space《The Silent Star Stone》/Universal Music Taiwan Ltd.
-Eve Ai/The Sum of Us 《Talk About Eve》/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
-Mayday Monster/Here, After, Us《history of Tomorrow》/ B'IN MUSIC -INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
-No Party For Cao Dong/Simon Says《The Servile》/Rocksurf
-Waa Wei/only you《run! frantic flowers!》/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
-Hsieh Ming-Yu/Hsia- pu ワルツ《chiu nien》 /KAWA Music Co. Ltd.
-Europa Huang/Centrifugal Force《 CENTERIFUGAL FORCE》/Asia Muse Entertainment
Best Lyricist-Qing Feng Wu/Traces of Time In Love《Traces of Time In Love 》/EMI Records And Entertainment Limited
-Wu Pai/Peng-Kung《Ding Zi Hua》/Universal Music Taiwan Ltd
-Guo Ding/The Fog Space《The Silent Star Stone》/Universal Music Taiwan Ltd.
-Eve Ai/The Sum of Us 《Talk About Eve》/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
-Mayday A-Shin/ Almost Famous 《history of Tomorrow》/ B'IN MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
-No Party For Cao Dong/Wimpish《The Servile》/Rocksurf
-Hsieh Ming-Yu/ Pi-ka Luggage《chiu nien》 /KAWA Music Co.Ltd
Best Arrangement-Hung Cheng-wen; Jen Chung-chiang /Na emaalrup / Hunter 《Yaangad 》 /katatepan Cultural Studio
-Wu Pai & China Blue / Peng kung《Ding Zi Hua》/Universal Music Taiwan Ltd.
-Xian-Zhe Zhan/ Bad Check《Talk About Eve》/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
-Ellen Joyce Loo/Darling/Imperfections /Rockmui Ltd.
-Huang ching shih yi; Derrick Sepnio; Fergus Chow/izuwa 《vavayan》 /ELEVENZ PRODUCTION & PUBLISHING CO., LTD.
-Howe Chen /You Made My Day 《You Made My Day 》/ Asia Muse Entertainment
Best Album Producer-IO Chen/《Yaangad》 /katatepan Cultural Studio
-Khalil Fong；Derrick Sepnio 《JOURNEY TO THE WEST》/ Fu Music Limited
-Tu Kai; Ko Fei /《Mr. Miss》/ STEVE MUSIC STUDIO
-Mayday/《history of Tomorrow》/ B'IN MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
-George Chen/ 《run! frantic flowers!》/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
-Huang ching shih yi /《vavayan》 /ELEVENZ PRODUCTION & PUBLISHING CO., LTD.
Best Single Producer-George Chen/Traces of Time In Love 《Traces of Time In Love 》/EMI Records And Entertainment Limited
-Huang ching shih yi /Jia Jia song feat. Ilid Kaolo /Suming《Still Missing》/B'IN MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
-Mayday Masa/ Still Missing《Still Missing》/B'IN MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
-Huang Chien-wei ; Chen Chun-hao / Centrifugal Force《 CENTERIFUGAL FORCE》/Asia Muse Entertainment
-Dakanow/ Aka Pacici Take It Easy《Long-Ger Longer Story Album》/Good Collection Studio
-Sandee Chan/Every day is a miracle《Day by day》/ HIM International Music
-Howe/You Made My Day 《You Made My Day 》/ Asia Muse Entertainment
Best Male Mandarin Vocalist-Jay Chou/《Jay Chou’s Bedtime Stories》/ JVR Music International Ltd.
-Khalil Fong《JOURNEY TO THE WEST》/ Fu Music Limited
-Guo Ding/《The Silent Star Stone》/Universal Music Taiwan Ltd.
-Crowd Lu/What a Folk !!!!!!/ Team Ear Music
-Yoga Lin/《Sell like hot cakes》/HIM International Music
-Namewee/《Cross Over Asia》/ The Dow Cultural & Creative Co.
-Dwagie/《Hard Knock》/ Kung-Fu Entertainment
Best Female Mandarin Vocalist-Eve Ai/《Talk About Eve》/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
-Jia Jia/《Still Missing》/B'IN MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
-Waa Wei/《run! frantic flowers!》/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
-Ellen Joyce Loo/《Imperfections》/ Rockmui Ltd.
-Naiwen Yang/ Centrifugal Force《 CENTERIFUGAL FORCE》/Asia Muse Entertainment
-Miss Ko/《Queen of Queens》/ Universal Music Taiwan Ltd.
Best Taiwanese Male Vocalist
-Daniel Luo / 《Daniel Luo –Love is so painful CD+DVD》/ SHANG HAO RECORD CO.,LTD
-Liao Shih-Hsien /《The Door》/ Dmile Music Co.Ltd.
-Wu Pai/《Ding Zi Hua》/Universal Music Taiwan Ltd.
-Aka DJ / Taipei Didilong《 Taipei DiDi Long 》/ Kao Muziq Co. Ltd
-Yuming Lai/Bottom of My Heart / ROCK RECORDS CO.,LTD.
-Hsieh Ming-Yu / 《Chiou nien》 /KAWA Music Co.Ltd
Best Taiwanese Female Vocalist
-Elly Chang/ 《Elly Chang - Sound of the wind》 / Water Music
-Maya/《Singing to myself》 /Water Music
-Olivia Tsao/《A song of Missing》/ ATIME ARTIST MANAGEMENT CO.,LTD.
-Huang Fei/《Twin Flowers》/ Millions Entertainme Co., Ltd
-Sasha Li /《The Age of Innocence》/ ROCK RECORDS CO.,LTD.
Best Hakka Vocalist-UrbanCat /《The Golden Age》/ sincerely music
-Misa x Underground Stream/《Mosaic Of The Night》/ Foothills Folk LLC
-Robin Tseng /《Shepherd Boy》/ Feeling Good Music Co. Ltd.
-Wei Ru Chen/《Wo ba jiang hai lu wo ma jiang si xian》/ t-rex music
Best Aboriginal Vocalist-Sangpuy/《Yaangad》/katatepan Cultural Studio
-Cemelesai Pasasauv /《ZEMIYAN》/ Han Guang Creativity Art Co., Ltd
-T-ai Siao-chun/《Tracing the River of Life》/Wind Music
-Long-Ger /《Long-Ger Longer Story Album》/Good Collection Studio
-ABAO (Aljenljeng)/ 《vavayan》/ELEVENZ PRODUCTION & PUBLISHING CO., LTD.
-Tulbus Mangququ/《Sadu Kata Buan》/ DRUMBOAT MUSIC
Best Musical Group-FLUX /《FLUX Pluralism》/Hove Entertainment
-Mayday/《History of Tomorrow》/ B'IN MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
-No Party For Cao Dong/《The Servile》/Rocksurf
-GDJYB/《vol.2 GDJYB 2359 BEFORE TOMORROW》/ HER
-LION/《LION》/ Warner Music Taiwan
-Gina"s Can / 《The Funky Song For Tung Blossom》/ Feeling Good Music Co.
-The Chairman /《The boyhood of chairman》/ D.G.S.Marketing
Best Vocal Collaboration-Guess What Vocal Band/《 Guess What - ONE》/ Opus Music Studio
-Power Station: YU Chiu-hsing ; YEN Chih-lin《Power Station 20th》/ HIM -International Music Inc.
-Astro Bunny：Cha chia-wen；Nu /《Loneliness will be over, away and gone》/ -Ascents Media Entertainment
-Mr. Miss：Tu Kai; Ko Fei /《Mr. Miss》/ STEVE MUSIC STUDIO
-Grasshopper : Tsai Yi-chih; Tsai Yi-chieh; Su Chih-wei/《Music Walker》/MEDIA ASIA ENTERPRISE LIMITED Taiwan Branch
-RADIO MARS：Huang Shao-feng; Tseng Yu / RADIO MARS/ Feeling Good Music Co. Ltd.
Best Newcomer-FLUX /《FLUX Pluralism》/ Hove Entertainment
-Mr. Miss / 《Mr. Miss》/ STEVE MUSIC STUDIO
-No Party For Cao Dong/《The Servile》/Rocksurf
-SHIO /《Abstract Painting》/ NeverFall Inc.(Taiwan Branch)
-Erika/《I Am Erika 》/ Warner Music Taiwan
-GONG/ 《GONG》/ Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
Best Instrumental Album-Cin Cinema/CinCin Lee Production Ltd.
-ALL KINDS OF GOOD/ELEVENZ PRODUCTION & PUBLISHING CO., LTD.
-Fade to Blue/Trees Music & Art
-SEDAR /Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
-07 Sessions/Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
Best Album Producer-CinCin Lee/ Cin Cinema/CinCin Lee Production Ltd.
-Martin "Musa" Musaubach/ALL KINDS OF GOOD/ ELEVENZ PRODUCTION & PUBLISHING CO., LTD.
-Chung Shefong/Fade to Blue/Trees Music & Art
-Sedar Chin/ SEDAR/ Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
-Lawrence Ku/PROPER UP!/ Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
Best Composer-CinCin Lee/Taipei Andante《Cin Cinema》/ CinCin Lee Production Ltd.
-Martin "Musa" Musaubach/ ALL KINDS OF GOOD《ALL KINDS OF GOOD》/ELEVENZ PRODUCTION & PUBLISHING CO., LTD.
-David Chen/ Fade to Blue《Fade to Blue》/Trees Music & Art
-Sedar Chin/ Arboreal Tunnel （feat. Richard Bona）《SEDAR》/ Sony Music Entertainment Taiwan Ltd.
-Tseng-Yi Tseng/ Call It Anything《Kind of True》/Mission Formosa
Best Album Graphic-Gelresai/Yaangad/ Katatepan Cultural Studio
-Lo Wen-tsen/ Village Besieged/ Foothills Folk LLC
-Starr Chen; Hsu Ting Ho; Rookie; John Yu; kitsunemene; MoMo; Summer Lee/ -Welcome To The Next Level/ X Entertainment
-Xiao Qing-Yang Studio/When will we meet again/ Ya Wen Music Studio Ltd.
-Rivers Yang；Aaron Nieh/ Cin Cinema/ CinCin Lee Production Ltd.
Best Vocal Recording Album AwardYaangad／katatepan Cultural Studio
( Recording Engineers: Sun Tien-chih／Main Mixing Engineers: Sun Tien-chih／Main Mastering Post-Production: Ted Jensen)
JTW Journey to the West／FU Music Limited
( Recording Engineers: Derrick Sepnio、Jeff Li／Main Mixing Engineers: Phil Tan、Ken Lewis、Jaycen Joshua、Tony Maserati、Dave Pensado／Main Mastering Post-Production: Chris Gehringer)
#MWHYB／Universal Music Taiwan Ltd.
( Recording Engineers: Brian Paturalski、Ken Lewis、tye、Enik Lin／Main Mixing Engineers: Brian Paturalski、Ken Lewis、tye、Enik Lin／Main Mastering Post-Production: James Cruz)
( Recording Engineers: Wang Yung-chun／Main Mixing Engineers: Lin Cheng-chung／Main Mastering Post-Production: Chris Gehringer)
Flow／Rock Records Co., Ltd.
( Recording Engineers: Chen Chih-hsiang、Yeh Yu-hsuan、Jim Lee、John Hermanson、Lin Po-chien、Chen Yi-lin、Li Yueh-sung／Main Mixing Engineers: Fan Nai-kang、Li Yueh-sung、Jim Lee／Main Mastering Post-Production: Michael D.)
Best Instrumental Recording Album AwardCin Cinema/ CinCin Production Ltd. ( Recording Engineers: David Santiago、Yang Min-chi／Main Mixing Engineers: Yang Min-chi、Cheng Kuei／Main Mastering Post-Production: Yang Min-chi、Cheng Kuei)
Ice Fantasy Original Soundtrack/ Warner Music Taiwan Ltd. (Recording Engineers: Frank Cunningham、Antonio Oliart、Chenao Wang、Jorge Velasco／Main Mixing Engineers: V.K、Shinnosuke Miyazawa／Main Mastering Post-Production: Suen Chung-shu)
SEDAR／Sony Music Entertainment (Taiwan) Ltd.
( Recording Engineers:Li Yueh-sung、Ma Li、Hsu Teng-man、Goh Hotoda、Wang Yao-wei、Larry Williams、Gary Grant、Dustin Higgns、Richard Bons、Chris Parks、Brendan Muldowney、James Genus、Chin Su-feng、Scott Henderson、Chia Yi-nan、Alain Caron、Julian Miller／Main Mixing Engineers: Goh Hotoda、Ma Li／Main Mastering Post-Production: Bob Ludwing)
Tseng-Yi Tseng Symbiosis Trio-Chromatics／Symbiosis
( Recording Engineers: Yu Chia-lun／Main Mixing Engineers: Yu Chia-lun／Main Mastering Post-Production: Jeff Lipton)
Kind of True／Mission Formosa
( Recording Engineers: Tommy Cavalieri／Main Mixing Engineers: Tommy Cavalieri／Main Mastering Post-Production: Tommy Cavalieri)
Jury AwardSheng-xiang band 《Village Besieged 》
Special Contribution AwardCHI, LU-HSIA (CHI, CHIU-YING) 、CHANG, YU-SHENG
Taiwan's pride and joy, superband Mayday are back and ready to release their latest album <Her Story> on the 26th of June. But wait...What's so different about this album? The fact is that NONE of the actual band members will be performing in the album at all! Instead, they will be represented by a slurry of female artists who will weave their stories through Mayday's most classic hits, creating their own renditions of Mayday's songs.
Here's what their little blurb for the album says:
她的故事，我的五月天 Her stories, Our Mayday
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday,
Yesterday, Today, Mayday...
10個女生10首女聲 10 Girls 10 women's voices
Day by Day, coming soon...
From what I can hear, I know that Lala Hsu, Fish Leong, Jia Jia, Waa Wei and Karen Mok are among those who are involved in this project, but apparently out of everyone who has listened to the audio trailer, no one has been able to correctly identify every single female voice within the album.
Track Listings for the album have already been released:
0:00 生命有一種絕對 Life has a kind of definite
0:14 盛夏光年 Eternal Summer
0:32 離開地球表面 Leaving the edge of the earth
0:46 溫柔 Gentleness
1:09 你不是真正的快樂 You are not really happy
1:26 我不願讓你一個人 I can't bear to leave you by yourself
1:41 如煙 Smoke
1:52 愛情萬歲 Long live Love
2:12 我心中尚未崩壞的地方 A place in my heart that hasn't collapsed
2:32 突然好想你 Suddenly thinking of you
Well, I'm going to take on that challenge and have another crack at it! What are some of your thoughts on the singers of the ten songs? Let us know in the comments below!
All of us have been in that tough spot where things aren't going as planned, and this is a song which I feels really reflects the human mindset within that condition. With lyrics by Xiao Han and a melody written by Tanya Chua, this song captures perfectly a situation where you've got to let go of a person that you love in order for them to truly be free and find happiness, be it with you, or someone who you know will be much better for them than yourself. It's a painful choice to make, but amidst the bittersweet heartbreak that this song offers, threaded throughout skilfully is this feeling of comfort, safety, like the ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. So no matter how tough the going gets, you've just got to know that happiness IS coming. A truly beautiful song, which Jia Jia really does well in. Usually Tanya writes really beautiful songs for others, but I generally get the feeling that it would be better sung by Tanya herself, which really defeats the purpose of giving them that song in the first place.
But Jia Jia really owns this song, and even gives it a different flavour from what I would expect from Tanya's version, removing the sultry grit of Tanya's timbre and replacing it with her husky, yet girlish vocals. So really, this song is a feat in all aspects; and I really do recommend it to those of you who are maybe feeling a little down in the dumps, or just looking for some good relaxing music!
The two great powerhouses of Bin music taipei, the adorable Jia Jia and the goddess of drama theme songs Della have both just released music videos; Jia Jia for one of her newest songs on her recent album <Alone the Way> , and Della for one of the hottest singles of the year, <身不由己>(Lose Myself). Come check it out!