New Romantic Wave Music Washes Over Taiwan
November 29, 2019 Franchesca Rivera
A new wave has permeated the music scene of Taiwan.
Presented by Taiwan Beats
Tropical islands cultivate a certain laid back vibe, and the local music usually tends to reflect that. Typically, island-style reggae and pop love anthems permeate the airwaves and drown out any other underground or counter-culture movements.
But in Taiwan, the current trend has taken on a vintage retro feel, which somehow retains a modern edge. A number of acts across different genres have embraced what can be called the New Romantic Wave. Most prominent internationally, the band Sunset Rollercoaster is leading the movement. It’s characterized by a fusion of indie-rock overtones, 80’s city-pop, and surf-rock riffs that branch out into psychedelic territory.
“Creativity and musicianship are valued without sacrificing a cool and stylish overarching tone”
A penchant for nostalgia is critical to any romanticized version of the past that influences the future. That is the power of this music, and it certainly works to captivate new listeners and longtime fans alike.
Lyrics in English allow for crossover appeal that works like a charm for Sunset Rollercoaster. And paved the way for more bands like Love_1 愛是唯一, 問題總部 It’s Your Fault, Angel Baby, and The Fur. to name just a few.
Sweeping guitar solos, drawn-out atmospheric instrumental segments, tight bass lines, and loungey vocals take precedent instead of overproduced, flashy, superficial image-obsessed bands that are a dime a dozen. Downtempo rhythms, lovesick verses dripping with heartbreak or longing, and raw production are favored over repetitive song structure, slick production, and aggressively catchy pop tunes.
Creativity and musicianship are valued without sacrificing a cool and stylish overarching tone. Ballads are rampant, but varying takes on the formula make for more than just an easy-listening experience.
“Think tropical-pattern aloha shirts and bucket hats, or suave vintage outfits and 90’s inspired fashion”
Solo artists like 林以樂 and Chi-Ching Records’ poster boy LINION also fit the mold of the New Romantic Wave currently washing up on the shores of Taiwan and breaking into the international music scene.
The overall aesthetic choices (including songwriting, production, style of music videos, imagery, and clothes) borrow more from early Japanese pop artists and indie-rock influences filtered through the lens of a hipster daydream. Think tropical-pattern aloha shirts and bucket hats, or suave vintage outfits and 90’s inspired fashion. The music certainly fits the imagery.
It’s hard to clearly define what makes this brand of Taiwanese artists attracted to this style. But you’ll know it when you hear it. LINION’s debut album ‘Me In Dat Blue’ has a throwback R&B feel that is certified baby-making music while managing to stand out from the others with his potential heartthrob demeanor that chooses to play an instrument over synchronized dance routines.
“Lovelorn themes continue to inspire music”
Taipei’s recent Chill Out Festival had a lineup that catered to fans of this style of music. And it included acts like VOOID, Deca Joins, The Fur., LINION, and others.
Lovelorn themes continue to inspire music in as many ways as there are to find romance and heartbreak in the most bittersweet verses and relationships defined by that special mood.
Expressing and expounding on this common thread has proved to be a powerful force influencing Taiwan’s New Romantic Wave of artists and musicians.
The New Romantic Wave has definitely washed over Taiwan. Moreover, we can definitely see this wave possibly hitting the Philippines in the nearby future. If we’re being honest, Filipino artists have a penchant for lovelorn and romantic music. So it’s not far-fetched to say that when the New Romantic Wave hits Philippine shores, we’ll be ready for it.
What do you think of the New Romantic Wave movement in the music scene of Taiwan? Do you think Philippine music fits well with it like we do? We’d love to hear what you think! So share with us your thoughts in the comments down below! Or hit us up on our Facebook or Twitter @UDoUPh.
Words Penned By Evan Vitkovski