Left to right: Wu Qing-feng, Liu Jia-kai, Ho Jing-yang (A-fu), Shih Jun-wei (Xiao-wei), Gong Yu-chi (A-gong), Hsieh Xin-yi
Time never gives an answer
Life never makes a sound
Even for a moment I won’t be afraid
These moments make up eternity, you see
- What is Troubling You?
sodagreen (蘇打綠 Sūdǎlǜ) is a band from Taiwan whose popularity is rapidly rising in the greater Chinese region. Their music is often described as a fusion of folk, pop and rock, with trademarks of the band including lead singer Wu Qingfeng's distinctive counter-tenor voice, which can sound nasal on the lower notes but ethereal and smooth while hitting the higher ones, and the band's poetic Mandarin lyrics. Although sodagreen began its life as just another band on the indie rock scene, mentored by Taiwanese indie veteran Will Lin, the band entered mainstream attention with "Little Love Song
" from its second album, Little Universe
, landing the band a nomination for Best Lyrics and a victory in the Best Melody category in the Golden Melody Awards (the Taiwanese Grammies) held in 2007.Members:
- Wu Qingfeng (Greeny) - Lead vocalist and the band's main songwriter. Besides being known for his distinctive voice, he's been noted in the Mandopop scene for his songwriting credentials and has recently began taking on songwriting duties for heavyweight Mandopop singers like A-mei and Na Ying. He's also one of the founding members of the band, along with Xiao-wei and Xin-yi.
- Shih Jun-wei (Xiao-wei) - drummer. He contributes a few songs every album and occasionally pens the lyrics himself. Another founding member of the band.
- Hsieh Xin-yi (Claire) - bassist. sodagreen's only female member and a founding member of the band. She occasionally plays the guitar too.
- He Jing-yang (A-fu) - acoustic guitarist. The band's leader, although he often lets Qinfeng, Xiao-wei or Xin-yi take centre stage.
- Liu Jia-kai (Kay) - electric guitarist. The only one in the band who never sings backing vocals and the only one who's married (his son was born late last year).
- Gong Yu-chi (A-gong) - keyboards and viola. Holder of a degree in music, he weaves into the band's arrangements intricate classical-like patterns and motifs. Despite his classical background, he's a huge fan of electronic music. He also tends to start dancing during breaks during songs when there's no part for him to play.
- 2005 - sodagreen (蘇打綠同名專輯)
- sodagreen's first full-length album was infused with indie goodness and college rock anthems. As one of the first indie/alternative music albums released in the Mandopop music industry, this album can be considered to be a pioneer in many ways.
- 2006 - Little Universe (小宇宙)
- The band began including more varied instrumentation here while sticking with the indie rock vibe generated in their first album. Little Universe brought sodagreen to mainstream prominence, garnering numerous nominations at the Golden Melody Awards and giving the band its first award for Best Band in the Mandopop industry.
- 2007 - Incomparable Beauty (無與倫比的美麗)
- A groundbreaking album in which the band began putting elements of classical music into their arrangements and giving the strings section a larger role to play in their songs. This album marked a departure from sodagreen's indie rock style and featured the band experimenting with psychedelic rock, baroque pop and stripped-down folk music. This album also won sodagreen its second Best Band award.
- 2009 - Daylight of Spring (春·日光)
- As part of the band's Vivaldi Project, this album portrayed spring as a season of warmth, awakening and playfulness, with the album also being centred on the Taiwanese region of Taidung. The music in this album was profoundly different from previous releases, carrying a very folksy vibe and incorporating various ethnic instruments and natural sounds. The lyrics reference the Greek god Pan and the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi.
- 2009 - Summer/Fever (夏/狂熱)
- Second in the band's Vivaldi Project, this album was produced in London, which also provided the inspiration for the Britrock-esque songs on the record. The lyrics on this album reference Faust, Madame Butterfly, Don Quixote and Dionysus, and come off as far angrier and more direct as compared to the band's previous offerings.
- 2011 - What Is Troubling You (你在煩惱什麼)
- Written and recorded while A-gong and A-fu went for their compulsory military service (as most Taiwanese men are obliged to fulfil), the band released this album, calling it a short break between summer and autumn (they needed all six members for the concept albums). This album signified the band's full entry into the mainstream Mandopop scene, with the music video for the title track enjoying a short stint on Youtube's most viewed videos.
- 2013 - Autumn: Stories (秋：故事)
- Inspired by the Chinese capital, Beijing, this album spent four years in the works before its inception. This album's music is based on the idea of autumn as a season of both joyful harvest and reflective melancholy as winter approaches. A few song arrangements in this album also have traditional Chinese instruments in the forefront, which make an interesting blend with sodagreen's brand of folk-pop-rock. The lyrics in this album reference Classical Chinese poetry, Chinese poets Su Shi (Su Dongpo) and Li Bai, as well as Western composers like Debussy and Chopin.
sodagreen provides examples of the following tropes:
- A Cappella: Qingfeng does this a lot at live performances.
- Also in the last section of "Believe".
- Adorkable: Jia-kai and A-gong can be this.
- all lowercase letters: the band's name.
- Animated Music Video: The music video for "Flying Fish"
- Audience Participation Song: Qingfeng tends to turn most songs into these during live performances, pointing the mic at the audience and encouraging them to sing along. The lyrics to the song being performed is usually flashed on a large screen overhead at concerts.
- Banned in China: "Lover Animal", for a short period of time.
- Bizarre Seasons: The subject of "Seasonal Rhapsody".
- Breakthrough Hit: "Little Love Song" propelled sodagreen to mainstream attention throughout their native Taiwan. The greater Chinese region (the Mainland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia) began paying more attention to the band after their 2011 release, What Is Troubling You?.
- Breakup Song: "Left Side" is a heart-rending rendition of a breakup.
- Concept Album: Daylight of Spring, Summer/Fever and Autumn: Stories are part of sodagreen's Vivaldi Project, which involves the band releasing four albums that reflect the four seasons. The Winter album has yet to be announced. Although each album has a distinctive sound, they similar musical motifs.
- Fading into the Next Song: Incomparable Beauty is a gapless album.
- Grief Song: "When I Was Little", Qingfeng's song for his cancer-stricken and estranged father, became this after his father's death.
- Hail To The Thief: "King's Garden", perhaps.
- Happy Rain: Featured in the music video for "Symphonic Dream".
- Idiosyncratic Album Theming: The Vivaldi Project albums. Spring has ten songs and two hidden tracks, Summer has eleven songs and three hidden tracks and Autumn has twelve songs and four hidden tracks.
- Which means Winter is poised to have a whopping eighteen tracks in total.
- Impractical Musical Instrument Skills: A-gong sometimes plays the keyboards while facing outwards.
- Leitmotif: The Vivaldi Project albums contain two leitmotifs: a descending phrase with six notes and a longer one with twelve notes. They occur in Daylight of Spring 's "Stopping At Every Station", Summer/Fever 's "Summer Summer", and Autumn: Stories' "The Last One in Your Heart" and "Little Star".
- Lyrical Cold Open: "This Day".
- Lyrical Tic: Qingfeng's 'le-li-o's and 'ee-ya's, which are very evident on the earlier albums.
- Morality Ballad: "King's Garden", which ends with the line:
The [young] ones who will inherit the future, don't make the same mistakes.
- New Sound Album: The band's sound shifts distinctly from album to album, although the changes were the most pronounced in 2007's Incomparable Beauty, when the band began experimenting with classical music, and 2009's Daylight of Spring, when elements of world folk music were incorporated into arrangements.
- Nobody Loves the Bassist: Averted with Xin-yi, who's very much a part of the band.
- Non-Appearing Title: More often than not.
- One of the Boys: Xin-yi. Her bandmates often joke that she's served in the ROC army. (In Taiwan, it's compulsory for all males to serve in the army for a short period of time.)
- Perishing Alt Rock Voice: Qingfeng favoured this in the band's earlier, college rock days, but later traded it in favour of a clearer singing voice.
- Playing the Heart Strings: The first section of "Bird's Nest" and a bit at the end.
- Protest Song: "King's Garden" can be seen as one.
- Rays from Heaven: At the end of the music video for "What is Troubling You".
- Seasonal Baggage: The Vivaldi Project.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Qingfeng. Especially so in the albums before Daylight of Spring.
- Self Empowerment Anthem: "Bird's Nest" and "What is Troubling You".
- Self-Titled Album: sodagreen's first album literally translates as sodagreen Eponymous Album from Chinese.
- Sequel Song: "Enjoy Loneliness" is the sequel song to "Little Love Song".
- Singer Namedrop: In this case, a band namedrop. "Aerial Visions, Sounds And Illusions"' (off the band's first single) first line goes:
In the middle of the night, at three, I wake up
And inexplicably drink a cup of soda
A green forest bubbles out from my weariness
And I feel slightly uneasy
- Song Parody: Qingfeng does this to his own songs.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Xin-yi in "Stopping At Every Station" and Xiao-wei in "Having Fun in Life".
- Tearful Smile: They seem to do this a lot at their own concerts.
- This Is a Song: The first few lines of "Little Love Song" go:
This is a little love song
Which sings of the complications of our hearts
I guess I'm the happiest when I have your warmth
The air by my feet spins
- Title Track: Every single album with the exception of the first (eponymous) one.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Qingfeng's lyrics can be very literary.
- He's a graduate in Chinese literature, so it kind of makes sense.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Qingfeng. The Vivaldi Project extends to his hair colour too. Pink for the Spring album, green for the Summer album and red for the Autumn album. White for the Winter album?