For my first Monday Mixer upon arriving back into the U.S. of A. I will be sharing my collection on songs I was obsessed with in Taiwan where I studied, also new ones I discovered in my travels to Japan and South Korea. Whether it be songs I found there or songs I became re-obsessed with, please enjoy and maybe you’ll take some with you on your next adventure!
1. Sound & Color – Alabama Shakes
This song had the perfect ambience for the drive to the airport at 3am while having no clue what I’m getting myself into. Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes said she wrote this song thinking about her toy space ships and made a story about an astronaut lost in space. I won’t exaggerate my situation quite to that extent, but watching the yellow street lights go by while half-asleep did make me seek out this dreamy tune.
2. Sunday – Apryl Fool
My favorite class in Taiwan was 100% the history of Korean and Japanese pop music, and I’m not even embarrassed because I discovered enough music in this class to supply a lifetime. And my favorite was definitely late 60s and 70s Japanese folk rock, and Apryl Fool is a band I continue to listen to. While record hunting in Japan, their albums ran a hefty price along side another band I favorited, Happy End. Be sure to check both bands out.
3. Comes and Goes – Hyuk Oh
I like to think of myself as well versed in Korean pop music, and while this isn’t exactly K-Pop, I was alarmed to see this amazing artist go under my radar. He’s gained popularity in Korea and I caught wind of him while I was in Taiwan. He has a sweet, jagged voice that I’m not surprised became popular with folks. “Comes and Goes” was one of their breakout hits and it highlights Oh’s voice perfectly.
4. Free somebody – Luna
I would like to say that this is the last Korean song on this playlist, but it’s not. This song came out while I was in Taiwan and I walked to class while listening to this song roughly everyday for a month. If you’ve heard of the K-Pop band F(x), you might recognize Luna as one of their vocalists, and “Free Somebody” is her first solo single. It has an electro-pop beat but also highlights her amazing vocals.
5. You’re The Best – Mamamoo
Ok THIS is the last Korean song; I traveled to Seoul during the early spring and if you visit the hip neighborhood of Hongdae, you’ll find a street performer about every 10 feet. This song had just gotten popular so not only did you hear it in every store front you passed, you also heard it being performed by every street performer in various formats: acoustic guitar, a single keyboard, or even acapella. The band Mamamoo is known for their vocals and this pop tune is pretty dang addicting.
6. Einmal um di welt – Cro
I had the privilege of meeting other travelers during my trip and among them I made very good friends who introduced me to this song and rapper. I understand Cro to be very popular in Germany and while this song might be outdated there, it was dang new to me. It’s a chill, beachy tune, with a catchy beat and makes you think you can speak German until you try to sing along.
7. She’s American – The 1975
I had to bring it back to my roots and when The 1975’s new album came out (much anticipated by me) while I was abroad this song was eerily appropriate… Though the song is about the international romances I was not having, it still made ironically chant “USA USA!!” at inappropriate times.
8. 小幸運 – Hebe Tian
If you’re not a die-hard fan of emotional, cliché ballads, this is you’re warning. If anything now has the power to instantly put me into tears it would indefinitely be this song from now on. A sappy romance movie took the island by storm, so naturally I had to watch it and the sappy movie features the sappiest of ballads, which title translates into “small happiness.” I am a sucker for dramatic Asian ballads, and as I watched Taipei 101 grow smaller while driving to the airport home, it really put on the water works. However, now when I listen to it, it only brings back fond memories of my travels.