Sun, Jan 02, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Top 10 Local Album Releases for 2004

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Daymakers

PHOTOS: JULES QUARTLY, TAIPEI TIMES

A-Mei (張惠妹)

Maybe Tomorrow (也許明天)

A-Mei (張惠妹) veered away from pop standards last year and chose instead to mix it up with a blend of heavy rock riffs, mild dance loops and moody love ballads. The result was Maybe Tomorrow (也許明天), an album that left fans and the music press alike aghast and led to A-Mei being labeled a "has been." It might have been a far cry from the cutesy drone Mando-pop that made her a household name, but the album was certainly not a dud. A smorgasbord of musical elements ranging from power-pop, post-rock and even swing/rockabilly, it proved that far from being a "has been" A-Mei is in fact still very much in charge of the local music scene and one of the few who have dared to be different.

Jay Chou (周杰倫)

Common Jasmine Orange(七里香)

Even before its release Jay Chou's (周杰倫) fifth album,Common Jasmine Orange (七里香) had taken Asia by storm. Record stores and online shopping sites in the region reportedly received pre-release orders of 1 million copies. The album proved that along with being a poster boy for a generation, the shy singer/songwriter is a genuinely talented recording artist. The crux of the album may have been rap-based, yet instead of sticking to solely to one specific genre Taiwan's favorite musical son blended plenty of pop, blues and aesthetic elements of world music into the material in order to create his dream-like never-never land of common jasmine oranges.

A Moving Sound (聲動劇場)

Pacu's Trip

The first full-length CD from popular multimedia performance troupe, A Moving Sound, Pacu's Trip was a blend of instrumental ethnic harmonies, atmospheric ambiance and highly distinctive vocal techniques. Be it the African drumming, Gypsy/Middle Eastern tinged vibes, Aboriginal-styled sounds or off-center and Tom Waits-like cabaret, Pacu's Trip exposed listeners to an eclectic collection of sounds that aroused, amused and bemused.

Stanley Huang (黃立行)

Shades of My Mind (黑的意念)

Formerly a member of the LA Boyz, Stanley Huang's (黃立行) Shades of My Mind (黑的意念) was his sixth solo album and one that could see him pick up at least one Golden Melody Award this year. Huang took his dance-oriented brand of mainstream hip-hop to new heights and packed the album with heavy guitar riffs and pulsating electronica-fused numbers, plus a few more sentimental slushy Mando-pop tunes for his younger fans. An intense and complex listen from the get-go, if more local acts chose to emulate Huang instead of opting for the more mundane, then it would lift a rather drab music scene out of the doldrums.

Zayin

Zayin

Zayin's self-titled debut might not have set local pop charts ablaze, but it was one of the most memorable albums to be released by a genuine "band" in 2004. The combo's ability to blend fiery rock riffs with pop and mainstream hooks gave the album both plenty of clout and staying power. Comparable to material by US rockers Third Eye Blind in many respects, Zayin's debut should pave the way for bigger and better things and this in turn could set the combo up for at least a nomination in the "Best Band" category at this year's Goldden Melody Awards.

The Daymakers

Here Comes Happiness ... (興奮來了 ...)

Fronted by Texan twins, JT and JD Long and with Canadian national Jason Copps on drums, Ilan based expat combo, The Daymakers, made a splash last year with its debut mini-album, Here Comes Happiness ... (興奮來了 ...). For a while you couldn't even turn on the television without seeing the trio performing a song or aping it up in front the camera. With musical inspiration ranging from early Weezer to Elvis Costello and Green Day-like rudimentary four-chord power-punk, the trio's jerky sound and cutesy and comedic lyrics proved addictive. The pulsating surf punk instrumental number Secret Agent (間諜), however, was highlight of the fantastic self produced debut.

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