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12 Music Videos That Struck a Chord in Taiwan in 2013

Taiwan Music Writing Group, a collective blog for music commentary, has published a roundup of the music scene in Taiwan in 2013. Here is a collection of 12 of those artists and groups, accompanied by music videos from YouTube.

The most distinctive feature of the year in music coming out of Taiwan was a strong touch of reality, according to the blog: 

社會寫實的歌曲同連續不斷的政治議題、政治問題,一口氣爆炸開來!整座台灣島似壓著一股鬱悶,身為樂手,只好寫歌出氣 [...]

Countless songs that reflect the social reality of Taiwan have emerged against the backdrop of political debates and problems. The whole Taiwanese island is suffocating with a sense of melancholy and depression. Musicians can only express themselves in music [...] 

1. Chang Chen-Yue

伴隨著東海岸在環境保護與發展主義的政治角力下,連痞痞的張震嶽也現出阿美族血統,高呼:「我是海雅谷慕!」

With the tension between environmental protection and economic development in the east coast of Taiwan, even the playful Chang Chen-Yue presents his Amis origin and sings: I am Ayal komod [Ayal komod is Chang Chen-Yue’s indigenous Amis name].

2. Tizzy Bac

想起遊行當天的晚會,也是我第一次聽見Tizzy Bac的新歌<這是因為我們能感到疼痛>,他們想傳達的信念,絕不難

Remember the evening party during the protest [anti-nuclear], that is the first time I heard the new song from Tizzy Bac, “Feel the Pain”. Their message is straightforward.

3. Lin Sheng-Xiang

拿遍大獎的林生祥則聚成樂隊,回歸民謠搖滾,《我庄》充滿詞人鍾永豐自傳式寫作,幾乎可以當作農村社會課本了!

After Lin Sheng-Xiang got all the awards he wanted, he and his band returned to folk rock. Their album “I-Village” almost seems like the autobiography of the lyricist, Yung-Feng Chung. It can be read as a rural sociology textbook.

4. Village Armed Youth

長期於社運現場現身的農村武裝青年,收束憤怒,《幸福在哪裏?》多了許多徬徨,未來怎麼走,就像望水東流,不見盡

The Village Armed Youth, an activist music band involved in Taiwanese social movements, has suppressed their anger. In their new album, “Where is happiness?”, the songs are full of anxiety. What is our future? The future is like a flowing river, and you can't see its end.

5. Softlipa

搖滾之外,更令人驚喜的是嘻哈樂圈,繞舌歌手們能從更另翼的角度切入社會 [...] 蛋堡的<仇人的孩子>亦不惶多讓,畫出一幅破碎的家庭圖像,不論中產與底層,這樣的悲劇似乎一直都在都市各個角落裡發生,他的《你所不知道的杜振熙之內部整修》聽來霧氣瀰漫,就像不停雨的台北城,坐在出租房間裡的男子自白。

Apart from rock bands, hip-hop circles are full of excitement. Rappers tell stories about society from another angle. [...] Softlipa’s “Enemy's Kids” depicts broken families from both the lower class and the middle class. Such tragedies kept happening in the city. His other song, “The Unknown Renovation Inside Du Jen-Shi” sounds foggy, like a man talking to himself in a rented apartment in rainy Taipei city.

6. Ciacia

The 2013 music scene also sees the reemergence of avant-guard singers of the 1980s and 1990s, like Ciacia, who released a new album “She & Me”.

7. Sugar Plum Ferry

Sugar Plum Ferry also released a new album, “Hometown of Glitter”. 

8. Ming-Yu Hsieh

可誰都沒有謝銘祐的《台南》風光,金曲、金音皆獲獎,他的作品裡不見印象中的台南美食、觀光客、文青咖啡店,只有歲月粉刷過的老城門、老朋友、老故事、老記憶,他像是懷舊的中年老者,在鳳凰花艷紅紛飛的台南土地上,彈唱默禱,腳踏實地。

Ming-Yu Hsieh's new album “Tainan” has won many awards. You won't hear the stereotypical impression [of Tainan], like the delicious food, tourists, and cafes of Taiwan, but you will hear about things like the time-honored old city gate, old friends, old stories and old memories. Like a nostalgic middle-aged man, planting his feet in the solid ground, singing and praying on the soil of Tainan, where the sky is covered by the flame trees’ red flowers.

9. Sonic Deadhorse

前有古人回歸,後有來者浮出檯面,他們在音樂元素上,不再留戀於傳統四件式樂器,曲風亦不限於民謠、瞪鞋、後搖、後龐克,更願意結合數位聲響…藏於地下許久的音速死馬(Sonic Deadhorse)終於發行正式專輯,奇情前衛的影音表演,獲得樂評人一致好評。

While the seniors returned to the stage, new faces could not wait to show up. They do not constrain themselves to the conventional four major music instruments, and their music genre is not limited to folk, shoegaze, post-rock, or post-punk. They are more willing to combine digital acoustics in their music [...] Sonic Deadhorse has been hidden underground for a long time. They finally issued their new album. The edgy audio-visual performance has very good reviews from music critics.

10. Chiu-Pi

年輕的藝術家邱比透過一台IPad作曲,唱出極簡主義樂派的愛情神話《我們就要相愛》。

The young artist Chiu-Pi composes his music using an iPad and sings in a simple style a love story, “We Must Love.”

11. Baobu Badulu

保卜,首張專輯《我愛台坂》充斥海洋性格,是相當容易入耳木吉他演奏專輯。

Baobu Badulu’s first album, “Love Taiban”, reminds people of the ocean. The acoustic guitar on the album is simply appealing.

12. Fred Van Hove and Shih-Yang Lee

The Music Writing Group's pick for jazz music is Fred Van Hove and Shih-Yang Lee's “Galactic Alignment: Piano Duo Improvisation”.

More reviews of Taiwanese albums in 2013 can be found in other articles published on the Music Writing Group: (I), (II), (III), (IV), and (V).

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