This study aims to discuss the lyrics of Kue Tai-sing, an active singer and song-writer in the sixties. Kue’s lyrics depict a vivid picture of people’s life of his time and offer much resource for studies of art and literature. Observing the common perception or misunderstanding that Taiwanese songs are all pathetic and solely commercial products as a result of popular literature, I try to focus not only on Kue’s lyrics but also on the his life experiences to uncover the social and literary aspects of Taiwanese songs. It is also hoped that this study may establish a foundation for studies of Taiwanese songs.
The study of Kue’s lyrics and life is divided into four parts. First, I looks into Kue’s song-writing career from the beginner stage to the final stage when he became a writer of omnigenous songs. Kue’s experiences have coincided with the development of Taiwanese songs. Second, I discuss Kue’s performance as a singer of Taiwanese songs. Third, I present Kue’s beliefs about song-writing. Finally, Kue’s lyrics are classified into three categories: love, career, and integrated lyrics. The lyrics about love reveal Kue’s observation of and attitude toward love as well as his creativity as a song writer. The career lyrics incorporate folk talking performances of some traveling sellers and the bittersweet and feeling of nostalgia for an absent-minded worker. People’s life at that time and its social environments are vividly recorded in the lyrics. The integrated lyrics include ironic songs, adapted songs, Taiwanese ballads and songs for couples. Through a comprehensive analysis of Kue’s lyrics, I hope to expose the meanings and importance of Kue’s creations.
Kue’s lyrics are poetic, with massive monologs that do not lose ground to live drama performances and the elegant changes of tones that present the beauty of the Taiwanese language. Also, Kue has not only shown great attainments in literature but also broken the prejudice that Taiwanese is rude, uncivilized, and unqualified as a language for literature. The lyrics were written in Taiwanese and based on people’s daily life, social realities, and people’s voice. Thereby, people have long passed down the works by word-of-mouth, proving the prosperity of Taiwanese literature in the 50s and 60s. Therefore, there is no denying that Kue is a lyric-writer of Taiwanese literature whose works, of course, are genuine Taiwanese literature.