Now Playing… is a biweekly column that releases every other Friday at 5 p.m. EST. Every other week, I will spotlight a lesser-known song or artist from a variety of genres. It will be a bit of music analysis, arts education, blogging, and more. Love it or hate it, I won’t let you down at exposing you to the cool art that is being made today from songs, to music videos, to live performances. If you’re also a cool young person constantly on the search for new music, let me supplement your listening diet!

Who is deca joins?

If you aren’t listening to Taiwanese music already, do yourself a favor and start. Taiwanese musicians have been popping up in the global music scene, with notable musicians Sunset Rollercoaster being a breakout hit with the 2019 Youtube-viral “My Jinji.” Continuing the momentum, deca joins is a Taiwanese rock band that should definitely be on any indie rock band fan’s radar.

What’s playing this week?

Wave” — deca joins

deca joins’ entire discography is awesome, and you can listen to it here, but this music video is a masterclass of short-form storytelling with absolutely disgusting raw emotion and a tragic antihero pinning it all together.

Why this music video?

The video follows a “lowly” truck driver (which is false because truck drivers are the backbone of our society, but I digress). He is without any support system of family or friends, and his only distinguishing trait is lust. Wherever he goes, he gets intrigued by a woman—who are often service workers and thus required to interact with him. Simply put, he’s creepy and oversteps in how he treats women. Great.

The story progresses, and we see him at a table with a group of people, and next to him is a woman—one who he has spent the most time fantasizing about in the music video. When he brushes her hair out of her face without her permission, the man she is with tackles him. They start fighting, and the song and story reach its climax. The song no longer sounds like it’s coming from the band, but from the character himself. It somehow feels like this song was the character’s internal scream all along, only now breaking through the surface.

In professional terms, the music becomes diegetic, audible to and interacted with by the characters within the story (thank you intro to cinema class!). This shift adds much to the song’s melancholy and dejectedness, and I am a sucker for this technique because it really elevates a music video.

The lyrics sung in that key moment also give insight into the character: “This is just my life / The sun falling / The waves worried / Retreating and retreating still.” Sonically, the syllables of the Chinese words are just so satisfying with the clashing of the guitar. As for the meaning, the metaphor of nature shows us attitudes of forlornness and futility that ultimately shapes peoples’ lives. The video peeks into the tragedy of when people accept certain desires as unchangeably as nature, and fail to recognize their faults. 

In the conclusion, he sees a young girl who, from behind, looks like the woman he had touched non-consensually. In a fit of rage, he grips his steering wheel even harder and presses the gas. The screen fades to black. He did not have to succumb to his urges, but he did. In all of the moments, he had no one to blame but himself, but every time, he chose to blame something else, like nature. Unfortunately, he is not the only one who pays the price.

Art is about depicting the human condition, even its ugliest sides, but that’s where new insights are made. Through an antihero’s deep imperfection, I learn that, while I hate this guy’s guts, I can peer into his psyche, see how other people think, and feel it amplify the song. 

But, it doesn’t end there. When you rewatch the video, the beginning tells you the story’s definitive end. He comes out of his truck, and in front of him are the strewn objects of the student he hit. Whoa.


Lyric credit:

Missed last week’s rendition of Now Playing…? Read it here!