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This is not an introduction to Cpop, largely because my knowledge of Cpop is limited to songs that I get from my sister years after they are popular in Taiwan when I hear them in karaoke. As such, the music I listen to tends to be very pop-y and very popular; I have zero knowledge of the Taiwan indie scene.

It's also not an introduction because I don't listen to all of Cpop. I have zero knowledge of the Cantopop scene, very little knowledge of music in Taiwanese (as opposed to music in Mandarin Chinese produced in Taiwan), and zero knowledge of music produced in Singapore, Malaysia, Mainland China, or the rest of the Chinese diaspora.

Mostly I just want to give people Chinese music and make other people out there who do know more about Cpop than me post about it because they are ashamed and embarrassed by my horrible not-introduction!

Also, I have no idea how to talk about music, so there will be much handwaviness.

The little I do know about Taiwan mandopop is that there is a music industry, it manufactures pop stars, sometimes people write their own lyrics and sometimes not, and there are actually a good deal of pop stars in Taiwan who aren't from Taiwan. Some of them are from HK or Singapore or Malaysia, and some are ABCs or grew up bilingual in English and Mandarin.

I'll be using the names that the artists picked for themselves; sometimes they are transliterated, and sometimes they are the artist's English given name. I'm going to try and grab the Chinese characters if I can (traditional not simplified, given that I listen to Taiwan stuff) and I'm going to try and transliterate song titles using pinyin and then try translating them too. But be warned! My Chinese sucks! My translation skills are worse!

Also, most of the Cpop that I like is incredibly sappy. I have zero sense of irony in Chinese, and I do not care! I flaunt cheesy sincerity and wear my heart on my sleeve.

鄧麗君 aka Teresa Teng aka Deng(4) Li(4)jun(1) is probably one of the most famous Taiwan stars. I probably know a few of her songs via cultural osmosis, though now her stuff is more classic pop that my dad's generation might listen to than stuff played on MTV.

月亮代表我的心 (Yue(4) Liang(4) Dai(4) Biao(3) Wo(3) De Xin(1), The Moon Represents My Heart) is a famous one of hers that is probably warbled in KTVs everywhere! It's mostly just: "You ask me if my love is true, you ask how deep it is. My love is unmoving, the moon represents my heart." I am not actually sure what this means, given that the moon waxes and wanes, but oh well. (music video)

陶喆 aka David Tao aka Tao(2) Zhe(2) made a remake of this song titled 月亮代表誰的心 (Yue(4) Liang(4) Dai(4) Biao(3) Shei(2) De Xin(1), Whose Heart Does the Moon Represent?). It is sappy and R&B-y and got stuck in my head for a month. Also, for anyone who cares to know, it is nearly impossibly to sing in KTV when you don't know all the words. (music video)

Another famous Teresa Teng song is 甜蜜蜜 (Tian(2) Mi(4) Mi(4), Sweet) that's mostly about how sweet her love's smile is. (music video)

And yet another one is 天黑黑 (I am not sure how to transliterate this because it's in Taiwanese. Something like Ti Ou Ou. It means "the dark sky."). I include this because a) it's in Taiwanese and b) Stefanie Sun did a cover/remake that I really like.

孫燕姿 aka Stefanie Sun aka Sun(1) Yan(4)zi(1) is actually from Singapore, though she's very popular in Taiwan and I think is signed in Taiwan. Her version is about her childhood and how whenever she was afraid, her grandmother would sing the original song to her. Most of the song is in Mandarin, but the chorus from the original song is still in Taiwanese.(music video)

And now I move away from anything even vaguely resembling an introduction and just go into "songs I really like."

Going back to David Tao...

One of my favorites is his 找自己 (Zhao(3) Zi(4) Ji(3), Find Myself). It's my rainy day song, complete with the "Hua la la la la la" onomonopoeia and references to the tree of knowledge and the apple.(music video)

Another really famous Taiwan star is 周杰倫 aka Jay Chou aka Zhou(1) Jie(2)lun(2). He tends to go for incredibly sappy ballads or for hip hop. I know more of his sappy ballads, largely because it is easier to sing sappy ballads on karaoke than hip hop, especially when you don't know the lyrics and are testing your Chinese speed-reading skills with the karaoke machine.

簡單愛 (Jian(3) Dan(1) Ai(4), Simple Love) is mostly about wanting to take the girl you love to your grandmother's house so you can both sit on the porch, hold hands, and watch the sun set as she rests her head on your shoulder. (music video)

And 龍捲風 (Long(2) Juan(3) Feng(1), Tornado) is the song that got me into my latest Cpop kick back in college. I am sure you are all unsurprised to hear that it is a sappy love song about love being like a tornado that sweeps in and out of your life. (music video)

I love Stefanie Sun's voice a lot (she's the one who did the cover of a Teresa Teng song in this post).

綠光 (Lu(4) Guang(1), Green Light) is peppy and bouncy and (of course) about finding the green light/love/that special someone in your life. My sister hooked me onto the music video largely by telling me they clog! Or, um, I think that is what it's called? Probably not authentic, but I am a sucker for dancing.(music video)

Both 風箏 (Feng(1) Zhen(1), Kite) and 任性 (Ren(4) Xing(4), Selfish) are sad and haunting. Kite's about wanting to hang on to a kite string, to a lover, but also understanding the glorious freedom of the sky and how to let go. (music video) Selfish is about someone breaking up with you and if your desire to not let go is selfish. (music video)

I actually have more music, but I'm getting tired of looking for characters and links and etc, so will post more later.

Enjoy!
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