Written by Max Lembke-Soh. EggPlantEgg 茄子蛋 has fast become a significant player. Rocketing to popularity in 2017, EggPlantEgg received multiple Golden Melody Awards and nominations recognising their distinctly Taiwanese vibes, making full use of Taiyu’s broad intonation range to melodise lyrics across a variety of sounds. The band has no shortage of commentators lauding their style, highlighting their passionate use of Taiyu to express everything from love and yearning to relationships and loss.
Written by Ellie Koepplinger. I remember being thirteen with vivid clarity. You are at once gangly, disproportionate, and uncomfortable with yourself, confused and delighted in equal measure by your budding independence. You are constantly trying to untangle a knotted web of hormones, education, and friendships, convinced that one poor decision would permanently impact the chasm of life that stretched before you. At that tender inflexion point, falling in love with fictionalized Taiwanese pop idols was the one thing that kept me grounded.
Written by Chen-yu Lin. It is evident that “being Chinese” today can influence both music production and perceptions. The chapter argues that the construction and perception of Chineseness through popular music is multidimensional, whether the investigation concerns a China Wind song or a person’s experience of it. It also further explores other dimensions to be considered alongside the sonic journey music provides.
Written by Yan-Shouh Chen. As City Pop become more known to Taiwanese indie music lovers, unveiling J-pop history might not be enough. Some fans turned their eyes toward Taiwanese artists that are good at creating groovy melodies. These artists might consider themselves as R&B and Hip Hop rather than City Pop, but the boom did them a favour, and now the spotlight is on them.
Written by Kuing, GuoTing Lin. Music is in full blossom in Taiwan, as evidenced by the vibrant contemporary Taiwanese music being produced by its indigenous musicians, which has spurred a rich cultural dialogue surrounding their production. Thus, in 2019 a diverse indigenous subjectivity has begun to enter the Taiwanese pop music market through new albums. Hence, it is worth exploring how this phenomenon differed from previous eras when albums were dominated by indigenous languages, and what this new phenomenon offers regarding a reflection of indigenous cultural consciousness.
Written by Hao-li Lin. Beginning as a musical experiment by mostly rock or folk musicians from the late 80s to the early 90s, from the outset, rap music in Taiwan was not part of a coherent Hip-Hop culture, even though Hip-Hop images and products were already visible.
Written by Jocelle Koh. During my time as a university student, what I would have given to have a copy of Routledge’s latest edition to their ‘Made in…’ series, ‘Made in Taiwan’. It would have been handy! As a student doing my thesis on the Taiwanese music industry in a university about as far removed from the topic as you can get, procuring the Taiwanese instalment of this academic series – completely in English and geared towards advanced understandings of Taiwanese popular music – would have saved me a lot of trouble.
Written by Eva Tsai. Sure, I had an agenda: First, I wanted to create at the time—with popular culture details—a sense of the social and cultural space. Second, I wanted to suggest that any entry point is a good entry point into Taiwanese popular music, so long as it is put into a historical and geopolitical context, along with developing a curiosity and mindfulness about what else was going on when it was made and circulated. Such was the spirit we carried into Made in Taiwan: Taiwanese popular music as world history.
Written by Hegerová Terézia. Fire EX. started their career in 2000 as an indie punk rock band from Kaohsiung. The four members are singer Sam, bassist Pipi, drummer Wu Ti and guitarist Oreo. The group at first performed only covers, but later started to produce their own songs. They say that their style was influenced by many other singers and bands, especially those from the US like Blink 182 and Green Day.
Written by Zuzana Shejbalová. Teresa Teng, in Mandarin Deng Lijun 鄧麗君, was a Taiwanese singer and one of the ‘Five Great Asian Divas’ of the 1970s and 1980s, alongside Judy Ongg, Agnes Chan, Ou-Yang FeiFei and Yu Yar. She was born on 29 January 1953 and unfortunately died at only 42 on 8 May 1995, suffering an asthma attack while on vacation in Thailand. She remains one of the most successful singers of the Mandarin-speaking world.
Written by Maggie Yang. Given the reality that music promotion cannot completely rely on the government’s cultural policy and subsidy, more professionals based in overseas countries are dedicating themselves to increasing Taiwan pop music’s global visibility and audibility. The three speakers I invited to the talk were from academia and industry. What they have done in the past years has exceeded the government’s capability and had a real impact for Taiwan’s artists and the music industry. Through their efforts, and those of other artists and promoters, Taiwan’s pop music is being heard on some of the biggest stages in the world.
Written by Matt Taylor. In part one of this two-article feature, where we are trying to understand the impact of the November 2018 same-sex marriage