第二人生 album: Second Round

Even though I am a Mayday fan who frequently spouts biased views on Mayday and their music, I truly believe everyone (even the non-Mayday fans) must listen to  “第二人生”, “Second Round”, before they depart this earth peacefully. Mayday has indeed transcended new heights with this inspiring album. While their previous album “后青春期的诗”, “The Poetry of Day After” is brilliant , “第二人生” is just sublime.

I was waiting eagerly for their eighth album as they released their last album in 2008. It had been a long “three-years-anticipation”. Moreover, I planned to visit Taiwan to attend the new “Nowhere Tour” that would feature many new songs from this album. The album was released officially on 16 December 2011. I bought the album in a shopping mall in Kaoshiung on 17 December 2011. However, I could not listen to the album as I was semi-backpacking and had no access to any CD player. In the end, the blessings of technology allowed me to listen to the album via Dropbox and free WIFI on 21 December. It was quite surreal to listen to the album during the long journey from Taipei to Jiufen. With shameless pride as a dedicated Mayday fan, I firmly declare that this album has broadened my perspectives and inspired me to embark on the journey to find my “第二人生”or a “Second Round” to reboot my mundane life and start afresh!

The album is one of the most cohesive albums in Mayday’s repertoire. The overarching theme of “第二人生”or “Second Round” or “Second Chance” in life is tightly integrated in the production of the album. Most of the songs explore the theme of starting a new stage of life and chasing dreams without regrets.

The marketing of the album also evolves around this unifying concept. Firstly, the album is advertised with this shocking tagline:

这是世界上最后一张五月天CD,除非2012年不是世界末日…

This is the last Mayday CD in the world, unless 2012 is not the end of the world…

Most Mayday fans would probably scream when they hear the first phrase. However, this is just Mayday’s tongue-in-check reference to the “2012 Armageddon” as predicted by the Mayan calendar. According to popular belief, the Mayan calendar moves in cycles with the last cycle ending in December 2012 and thus it is often interpreted as “the world will end on 21 December 2012, at 11:11 UTC” .

While many may reject the rather tacky tagline as a marketing gimmick, it is hard not to give Mayday credit for promoting their album with such a cohesive concept. Furthermore, the concept is extended by the dual versions of the album. Mayday released two versions: “末日 – Nowhere” and “明日 – Now here”. The wordplay on “Nowhere” and “Now here” is aptly executed to enhance the concept of the album as well as to generate more album sales.

末日版 – Nowhere
 
明日版 – Now here

As depicted by the predominantly black background of the album cover, the “Nowhere” version has a pessimistic mood running through it. On the other hand, with a vibrantly decorated album cover, the “Now here” version is more optimistic. Both versions boast different track arrangements in order to create a hopeful or bleak mood. The listeners have the autonomy to choose any version (自己決定要 “末日” 还是要 “明日”. The availability of the dual versions appears to empower the listeners as they are entitled the freedom to choose any version that is suitable for them. The listeners’ choice mirrors their attitude towards life: Are they the optimist who embraces a second chance to chase their dreams (明日)? Or the pessimist who is drowning in despair (末日)?  I think it is essential to listen to the two different versions to experience the subtle effects created by the different arrangements of songs.

末日版 No Where

  1. 2012
  2. 仓颉
  3. 洗衣机
  4. 歪腰
  5. 乾杯
  6. 我不愿 让你一个人
  7. 星空
  8. 三个傻瓜
  9. 末日
  10. OAOA (丢掉名字性别)
  11. 第二人生
  12. 诺亚方舟
  13. 有些事现在不做 一辈子都不会做了
  14. T1213121

明日版 Now Here

  1. 有些事现在不做 一辈子都不会做了
  2. 我不愿 让你一个人
  3. 星空
  4. 洗衣机
  5. 三个傻瓜
  6. 歪腰
  7. 乾杯
  8. 仓颉
  9. 2012
  10. 第二人生
  11. 诺亚方舟
  12. 明日
  13. OAOA (现在就是永远)
  14. T1213121

However, this intelligent concept is intertwined with a sophisticated marketing strategy. Hardcore fans like me will definitely buy both versions. Even though the cynic in me prefers the “Nowhere” version, I bought both versions. Not only that, when I was in Taiwan, I bought five copies of the “Now here” bundle that comes with Mayday figurines. This bundle is called the “friendship” pack as it comprises of five copies of the “Now here” album and five figurines of the Mayday members that the fans can share with five good friends (五个好朋友分享版: 明日版5CD+5人公仔全套装). The figurines are so adorable that any Mayday fans would kill to get their hands on their favorite Mayday members (or all five). I shall confess, as of today, I had bought one “Nowhere” album and two “friendship” bundles (ten “Now here” albums). I gave most of the albums to my friends as I feel that the album is so amazing that it is essential enlighten the non-Mayday listeners by “forcing” them to listen to it at least once.

Say hello to Mayday!

Despite all the shrewd marketing tactics, this album stands out as one of the most polished production by Mayday. As what Mayday stated in most of their interviews, “请给五月天一次机会,泡杯红茶,把第二人生从头听到尾”, please give just spend one hour of your life and listen to the entire album – from the beginning to the end. Your outlook of life may be altered slightly as you feel the urge to do something with your life and pursue your “Second Round” in life  – “第二人生”.

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