Thursday, March 8, 2012


Imagine a girl going to karaoke in Taiwan for her first time.  She has no previous knowledge of what her peers listen to there.  She has a good grasp on the spoken language but practically none on the written.

A few years ago, I was this girl and I used the opportunity to educate myself.  This was the takeaway:  My friends in Taiwan surprisingly liked Avril Lavigne and "Way Back into Love" from the Music and Lyrics soundtrack.  (Yes, these were both kind of hilarious points to discover).

AND.  We all loved Mayday.
Source: Wikipedia
I know they look like they're about 25 but the youngest one - Masa (on the left) - is currently 34.

In many ways, their story is very typical of a band - a bunch of kids in high school who thought it would be fun to start a band and made it big.  Their band started off with a funny name (SoBand) that was changed when they entered a music festival.  They played gigs at colleges which turned into concerts which turned into world tours.  Now they are credited for being one of the leading pioneers of rock music in Taiwan and of capturing the zeitgeist of youth in Taiwan.

But why love Mayday?

Their music is, in turn, humorous and poignant.  It's style ranges from angsty teenage emotion in raw heavy chords to introspective pondering in impressive poetic wordplay.  But, in everything, it's real.  It's a band of individuals who are growing and living and pausing to express what that process is for the rest of us.

Bonus: the lyrics are concise and beautiful but also frustratingly layered in its meaning.  Ashin, especially, loves to throw in references to literature, movies, history, and pop culture.  Interestingly, this just means that it's relate-able to many people in many different situations.

Llately, I have been reminded again how much I love this band.  For one, they recently put on a new album which I have heard bits of and am anxious to get my hands on.  Secondly, things about Ashin and his success and good work ethic keep coming across my desk. (I will spare you those articles since they are all in Chinese and I'm too lazy to translate it)

Here, then, is my nod to my first love when it comes to Asian music.

"Falling in love for the first time, all over again"

I actually love the video as much as I love the song.  This band cracks me up.  They don't take themselves too seriously here and the result is a lot of fun.

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