A little late, but better late than never, right? First of all, I’d like to wish all Asian Pop Weekly readers a very happy new year (Chinese New Year was just over so I consider myself only slightly late with this greeting)! As things have been hectic over the last couple of years, loyal readers may notice that the Asian Pop Weekly website has settled into a stable rhythm of posts such as news articles, lyric translations, interviews and album reviews, but I feel like it’s time to step things up a notch in terms of the amount of feature articles available on this site. So my resolution this year is to keep APW going strong, and to add a little pizzazz to our content just to spice things up.
In lieu of such a statement, I figured that I might as well start off with one of those ‘listicles’ which are so popular at the moment, a listicle of my top 10 C-pop songs of 2016 recommended especially for ABCs (individuals of Asian heritage living in Western regions), or basically for any English speakers who are interested in learning more about Chinese music. While some of these songs may not be the biggest C-pop hits of 2016, they’re nevertheless a great selection of tunes, mostly by artists with offerings friendly to the international market which will certainly be a pleasure for your ears. So without further adieu, let’s get into it!
For fans of Mandopop Queen A-Mei, her rearrangement of her 1996 hit ‘Sisters’ was released this year, and acts both as a hit of nostalgia for those of us who lived through the C-pop Golden era of the 1990s-early 2000s, but that’s not all the song’s about. A-Mei expressed that she mulled over the idea of revamping the song for years before she decided to take the plunge, and given her reputation as an avant-garde, rule-breaking artist, this song was more than just a commercial money-grabbing scheme. Opting this time to go with a simple acoustic guitar arrangement, A-Mei’s effortlessly clear and sweet voice envelops ones’ earbuds as she delivers a message for society, one of hope, love and solidarity. Listen out for her beautiful spoken message near the end of the song. Nostalgia and a real heart-warming message that would not be lost on listeners given how 2016 turned out.
Alas, it's Awards season again in Taiwan! The inaugural 27th Golden Melody Awards which have come forth this year are full of nominees who truly deserve to be standing on that coveted stage and holding that statuette. But who made it into the final list of nominees? Read on to find out!
Chang and Lee
Susu (Su Yun Ying)
Best songs of the year
“Don’t Give Up” Suming
“Matriarchy” Amit (A-mei Zhang)
“Twilight” JJ Lin
“That Evening It Rained” Sodagreen
“Little Luck” Hebe Tien
Chang and Lee
Nine one one
Best Hakka album
“Time for Surprise” Wing Luo
“At the foot of Tai Ling” Qiu Lin
“Stranger” Huang Tsi-Hsuan
Best Aboriginal album
“Freedom journey” CMO band
“Migration” Wu Hao-en
“Songs Of The Tamalakao Tribe”/Tamalakao
Best Taiwanese album
“Voices Entering Village” Shi Wenbin
“Columbia” Jacky Chen
“Chang and Lee” Chang and Lee
“Warm Warm Love” Jiang Hui Yi
“Taiwanese New Wave” Huang Shan Liang
Best Mandarin Album
“Swing Inc.” Peggy Hsu
“Charlie” Eli Hsieh
“Amit 2” Amit
“Aphasia” Tanya Chua
“Winter Endless” Sodagreen
“Infinite” Bear Guy
Best Taiwanese Male Singer
Best Taiwanese Female Singer
Best Male Mandarin Singer
Best Female Mandarin Singer
Su Yun Ying (Su Su)
Amit (A-mei Zhang)
Special Contribution Award
Huang Ying Ying
Best Music Video Award
“Eternal Summer” (Director: Su Jian Yi)
“If The Same Pain Was Downloaded Twice” (Director: Tan Zong Pan)
“I’m Not Yours” (Director: Chen Yi Ren)
“I Am Alive ft. Jason Mraz” (Director: Liu Geng Ming)
“I Want To Know Your Everything” (Director: Chen Hong Yi)
Best Composer Award
Jacky Chen/ ”Black Island” (Artist: Jacky Chen)
Tanya Chua/ “Aphasia” (Artist: Tanya Chua)
JJ Lin/ “Twilight” (Artist: JJ Lin)
Wu Tsing Feng/ “A Rainy Evening” (Artist: Sodagreen)
Jerry C/ “Little Luck” (Artist: Hebe Tien)
Best Lyricist Award
Hsieh Ming-Yu/”A Life’s Song” (Artist: Jacky Chen)
Wu Hsiung/ “Dismantle” (Artist: Chang and Lee)
Chen Sa/ “Matriarchy” (Artist: Amit)
Wu Tsing-Feng/ “Happy Gorgeousness” (Artist: Sodagreen)
Wu Tsing-Feng/ “You Raised Your Right Hand To Mark ‘Here’” (Artist: Sodagreen)
Best Arranger Award
Jacky Chen, Chen Ju Hao, Jakub Kubi Groos, Ao Di, Li Da Wen/ “Would You Be My Girl” (Artist: Jacky Chen, Dwagie)
Hsu Yu-Ying, Lu Law-Ming/ “A Letter For Tim Bolton” (Artist: Peggy Hsu)
Hsiao Zhao/ “Searching Deep Seas” (Artist: Li Jian)
Chang Shi-Lei, An-Dong/ “Living Is The Best Death” (Artist: Tanya Chua)
Sodagreen, Li Wei-ZHe/ “Happy Gorgeousness” (Artist: Sodagreen)
Best Album Producer Award
Peggy Hsu, Wang Xi Wen/ “Swing Inc.” (Artist: Peggy Hsu)
Adia, Amit/ “AMIT 2” (Artist: Amit)
An Dong, Tanya Chua/ “Aphasia” (Artist: Tanya Chua)
JJ Lin/ “Experimental Album Me n Myself” (Artist: JJ Lin)
Lin Wei-Zhe/ “Winter Endless” (Artist: Sodagreen)
Best Single Producer Award
Shuo Hsiao/ “Have You Eaten” (Artist: Shuo Hsiao)
Eli Hsieh, Tsai Jung Hoon/ “Lamp” (Artist: Eli Hsieh)
Hsiao Zhao/ “Searching Deep Seas” (Artist: Li Jian)
Chen Jian Qi/ “Practice Losing” Artist: One Fang
Chen Jian Qi “Darling” Artist: Julia Peng
Best Album Cover Award
Wu Jian-Long/ “Chang and Lee”
Lee Wei-Ming/ “Principles that never die”
Huang Jia-Xian/ “Mr. Hormone”
Fang Hsu-Zhong/ “Vu Vu Reggae”
Zhao Yi-Xiang/ “GIGO”
Nie Yong-Zhen/ “For Miss Qiu Yueyun”
Best Recording Album Award
“New Heartbeat”/ Recording Engineers: Peter Roberts, Lupo Groinig, Strawberry/ Main Mixing Engineers: Richard Furch, George Dum/ Main Mastering Post-Production: Reuben Cohen
“Light Freezing”/ Recording Engineers: Li You, Bao Ru Yi, Zhang Bo, Yan Chung Kun/ Main Mixing Engineers: Howie, Joe Hirst/ Main Mastering Post-Production: Ray Stuff
“AMIT 2”/ Recording Engineers: Chen Wen Chun, Chen Zhen Fa/ Main Mixing Engineers: Fan Nangang/ Main Mastering Post-Production: Joe LaPorta
“Aphasia”/ Recording Engineers: Kyle Hoffman/ Main Mixing Engineers: An Dong, Richard Furch/ Main Mastering Post-Production: John David
“Fall In Love With Yourself”/ Recording Engineers: Zhou Chi Hao, Ye Yu Hsuan/ Main Mixing Engineers: Wang Jun Jie/ Main Mastering Post-Production: Chris Gehringer
Best Backing Recording Album Award
“The Arti: The Adventure Begins/ Film Soundtrack” / Recording Engineers: Yang Min Qi, Li Zhao Yang, Wu Rong En, Lin Xiao Qin, Zhu Jing Ran, Chen Yi Lin, Ko Zhong You, Jiang Song Song, Yang Bang Hao/ Main Mixing Engineers: Yang Ming Qi, Craig Burbridge, Wang Jun Jie (Little K), Simon Li/ Main Mastering Post-Production: Sun Zhong Shu
“Simple Life”/ Recording Engineers: Kyle Cassel/ Main Mixing Engineers: Dave Darlington/ Main Mastering Post-Production: Dave Darlington
“My Own Room”/ Recording Engineers: Todd Carder, Pat Noonan (The Bunker Studio)/ Main Mixing Engineers: Brian Montgomery, Wei Yu Xian/ Main Mastering Post-Production: Systems Two Recording Studio
“SEMIFUSA Namesake Album”/ Main Mixing Engineers: Yu Jialun/ Main Mastering Post-Production: Jeff Lipton, Maria Rice
Mandopop ballad prince JJ Lin is back again this year with his experimental album "From M.E. to myself", and not only include 18 songs, but also a documentary including interview clips with JJ himself that allow him to share a more intimate side to his personality.
"One year ago I started an entirely new journey, and I decided to tear away from the packaging of popular music, and start anew in categorising myself and my music. I asked myself a question: in the production of music, what else is there I haven't tried?
So I began this project. I hope that through exploring the depths of my heart and unspeakable emotions, using the sound of instruments, melodies, using my own voice I can express these feelings. I hope these actions will allow me to see a side of myself I had never seen before, talking and interacting with those parts of me that had always been hidden beneath the surface"
These were the thoughts going through JJ's head that led to the conception of this album.
Going even further to describe this album as a milestone for the Chinese pop music industry, I am increasingly intrigued by this concept, given me always having wanted to see the true inner part of JJ Lin that I had never experienced.
Lin also used the 'Dummy Head' recording technique for this album in order to create an intimate atmosphere between himself and listeners, similar to that of a live house full of audience members.
Although a consistently popular artist, I've always yearned to see what was underneath the surface with JJ. As talented a singer-songwriter he may be, writing good ballads does not a standout point make. I've always found that his music although nice lacked flavour and uniqueness, something that truly stood out to me as JJ's inner voice.
However it he is able to push through and deliver on this album, not only will it be his best one yet; it will also be a turning point in his career, and growth in character for the boyish singer.
JJ Lin Main Design App-Samples created by JJ himself!
Download the app free on the iTunes store to create your own JJ-inspired (or other) designs!
This are a few of the songs that have been repeatedly played by me since the start of this year , and are some of my favourite songs that I would like to share with you! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
01. 洁癖(cleanliness)-Yen-J feat. Mayday
02.等等(Wait a little)-Olivia Ong
03.势在必行(Be Imperative)-Andrew Tan vs. Bii
04.好的情人(A good lover)-Yen-J
06.越来越爱(Love you more and more)-A-Fu
07.存在的力量(A present strength)-Miu
08.Easy Come and Easy Go-Tanya Chua Feat. Mc Hotdog
10.幸福了然后呢-(Happiness and then what)-A-Lin
11.醒了(Im awake)-Dai Ailing
12.以后要做的事 (The things we want to do in the future)-JJ Lin
13.修炼爱情(Practice Love)-JJ Lin
14.我在想(Im thinking)-Olivia Ong
16.一念之间(An idea)-David Tao
17.忘了我(Forget me)-Aska Yang
18.爱立刻(Love instantly)-Khalil Fong
19.marry me: Vanness Wu
20.不化装舞会(Dancing without makeup) -Olivia Ong
For JJ Lin's new album , to truly understand what hes trying to say through the album I suggest that you really watch the music videos as well and read as much as you can on the context of songs. For example , his song <Practice Love> if you only read the lyrics you would think it was just a nice love song , but he actually wrote the song for a friend who liked him as more than a friend , who died in the 1997 Silkair plane crash. His picture was found among her belongings afterwards. It's a bit sad that you can't really tell from the song and as an album telling <untold stories> I really don't think I should have to go searching for information and relying on the music videos to tell the stories , but if youre a JJ Lin fan , the music videos will definitely be helpful. Theres so many of them released for this album ,so have fun watching!
Although I don't totally agree with the way that JJ Lin is so dependent on the music videos for his songs , but after watching them , I truly do feel a deeper understanding for the albu
PS Check out his youtube page for his mini movies for the songs as well!
A place where you can get quick updates on your favourite Asian Artists! If you have any updates as well feel free to share them with me!
** If there are any particular lyrics/pinyin from artists that you would like up here don't hesitate to just comment on any of the posts!