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“Melancholy” has been the key tone of Taiwanese pop songs ever since their inception in 1930s, when Taiwan was still a Japanese colony. The melancholic tone of Taiwanese pop songs has always been seen by critics as metaphorically representing the anti-oppressive, anti-colonial sentiment of the oppressed Taiwanese. This article aims to provide a different approach to Taiwanese pop songs and put them in the context of women’s modernity, which manifests itself through “free love,” and may be seen as a rebellion against traditional arranged marriage. The practice of “free love” leads to a paradox within women’s culture: on the one hand, women can “freely” choose their partner; on the other hand, their imagination of free love tends to quantify or specify both freedom and love and turns them into a part of biopolitcs. It is this bilateral (contradictory) nature of biopolitics that is ultimately behind the inner contradiction of women’s modernity. We propose that the inner contradiction of women’s modernity, which liberates women but at the same time reifies them and then alienates them, has to do with the “melancholy” in Taiwanese pop songs, featuring women’s melancholic voices telling about unhappy love. Furthermore, since Taiwanese pop songs have been boosted by the market (media), and the element of “melancholy” can help extend the market, the phenomenon of what we call “biopolitics of melancholy” was created through those pop songs. Contemporary Taiwanese pop songs, especially those sung by the female singer Huang Yi-lin, inherit this element of “melancholy” from earlier Taiwanese pop songs. The difference is that contemporary Taiwanese pop songs can express “melancholy” in a critical way and turn “melancholy” into “mourning,” thus recovering the transcendental impetus of female modernity and unchaining the life force of modern women from biopolitics.

KEY WORDS: Taiwanese pop songs, biopolitics, melancholy, mourning, modernity

摘 要

「悲情」,一直是台語流行歌的基調,從日治時期開 始,一直到二十一世紀的今天,都是如此。台語流行歌的 小調悲情特性被常常被認為是具有反殖民、反壓迫等的抗 議色彩,提供被殖民/被壓迫者的情緒出口。本文要跳脫 這種台語流行歌討論框架,企圖從另一觀點來探討台語流 行歌的「悲情」。本文把台語流行歌放在女性現代性的脈絡 來看,這種女性現代性透過「自由戀愛」來表現。女性雖解 放,能夠「自由戀愛」,不必再受傳統禮教的束縛,但對「自 由戀愛」情境的想像讓這樣的自由或愛情有被規格化、量 化、商業化的可能,而成為一種「生命政治」。「生命政治」 一方面解放女性主體,一方面卻把女性主體量化而讓其感 到疏離,造成了女性現代性的矛盾。我們認為女性現代性 的矛盾正是台語流行歌「悲情」(不圓滿愛情)的起源。另 外,台語流行歌與商業(媒體)的結合,以致商業和女性的 「悲情」相互利用,相得益彰,而創造出一種「悲情生命政 治」。這種「生命政治」在發展過程中,吸納了「反殖民」、 「反戒嚴」、「鄉愁」等元素,並且透過技術及媒體的發展, 而日益壯大,使得台語流行歌和「悲情」更不可分。當代台 語流行歌,尤其是黃乙玲的歌,一方面延續早期台語流行 歌的「悲情」,一方面則對「悲情生命政治」造成一種內在 逆轉,用「悲情」超越「悲情」。這種現代愛情形式的轉折或批判源自於女性現代性的內在超越性,使其可以「內爆」 悲情生命政治,還原女性現代性的生命力。