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Yang Yu Teng (Singer)
When YU made his debut in the summer of 2020, he was a nearly unknown newcomer. Since then, a starring role in the hit Taiwan series We Best Love – which also featured his song "Blue Lover" – has turned him into one of the most anticipated new names in Taiwan pop.
YU's second EP Dark Wings arrives over a year after his first EP. He works with the same core production team led by producer Howie Chou, but this time he wrote the lyrics for both songs on the EP. If My Night Has Nothing To Do evokes blue feelings, then Dark Wings brings out the feelings of darkness. The EP's two songs call upon the doubts, fears, loneliness, rebellion and uneasiness YU felt in the past as a youth who left Japan at 14 to study overseas on his own.
This EP's sound is described as being "Japanese-style rock," and that comes through clearly in the first track "Doubt About Love," which has a One OK Rock-ish vibe with its mix of hard and melodic rock. The song is a reteaming with Yu Hong Long, who co-composed and arranged Follow in YU's first EP. "Doubt About Love" makes a strong impression from the start with a reverbing bassline that explodes into an alternative rock number. The lyrics cry out from a dark place of self-doubt: "Waiting in the darkness for an unknown future / Is it already destroyed? / The hypocritical world is nothing strange / Doubt about love, how to love." YU's naturally gentle vocal tone meshes surprisingly well with the arrangement, softening the hard edges of the song.
YU continues to explore the inner world of doubt and darkness in the EP's second song "Fallen Angel," which he co-composed with his guitar teacher Gao Meng Yuan. The medium-tempo rock ballad uses an angel with dark wings to symbolize the disillusions of a person whose dreams hit the wall of reality ("I push and struggle to take every step / Without forgetting the desire to fly / When tomorrow's road is another high wall / I yearn for my dark wings").
This story of a fallen angel who grows black wings and becomes a crow also provides the creative concept for the album photowork. Using a crow for the image of a dark angel has another layer of significance. Although black crows are associated with misfortune in many cultures, crows are actually considered a good omen in YU's native Japan, so there is hope and meaning beyond the darkness.
Dark Wings is an appealing sophomore work that sees YU developing his songwriting skills and shaping his music style. Working together in sound and theme, the EP's two songs resonate with moody yet catchy alternative rock tunes voicing the dark feelings that many people experience at some point in their lives. Hopefully, YU will release an album with more than two songs next time.