Monthly Archives: March 2014

S.H.E 春浪音樂節 2014 - Spring Wave Music and Art Festival

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Well, I need to take a frivolous break from thinking about the unfortunate saga that Mayday is embroiled in recently. To prepare for S.H.E’s performance in Spring Wave Music and Art Festival, I took a trip down memory land and revisited the classic S.H.E’s songs which accompanied my noisy teenager years – especially in the KTV rooms. I am not really a fan of S.H.E. but some of their songs are truly nostalgic (they dominated the radio charts in the early 2000s with our dear Mayday boys and of course Mr Jay). I have selected 10 songs which defined (in my opinion) the S.H.E era and hopefully they will sing during the upcoming concert.

1.戀人未滿

This is S.H.E’s ‘成名曲’ that kind of propelled them to fame. Many ’emo’ teenagers nursed their ‘unreciprocated love wounds’ by drowning themselves with this song.

2.熱帶雨林

A KTV-friendly hit from their second album.

3.美麗新世界

A ‘kawaii’ song with weird injection of random Japanese words.

4. Beauty Up My Life

Another ‘kawaii’ techno-like song with some random Japanese phrases.

5. 愛呢
The girls showcase their signature ‘harmonising’ abilities in this popular song.

6. Super Star
They will definitely sing this soft-rock anthem! Please sing this song as I can transform into Ella and terrorise everyone in Kending with my ‘rocker alter ego’!

7. Remember

An upbeat song with the refrain ‘Say you’ll remember, remember my hug, my heart, my love’, ‘Say you’ll remember, remember my eyes, my smile, my soul’… Shiver…

8. 中國話

In this popular ‘China Wind’ song, the girls attempted a fusion of Chinese culture, hip-hop and rap.

9. 五月天

This song conjures memories of lost innocent love somehow. Ashin looked so dashing (the nerdy specs) in this music video. Lecherous Serena molested our dear Ashin in a scandalous kissing scene at the end of the video!

10. SHERO

Our dear Ashin wrote the lyrics for this song so I am kind of hoping that they will sing this song!

For old times’ sake, I have to add two ‘emo-跳樓’ songs. As I have defined awhile back, these classic songs will make any heart-broken souls so depressed and ‘encourage’ them to jump down a cliff with their shattered hearts.

*愛我的資格

*記得要忘記

I am sure I have missed out some of S.H.E hits. Undoubtably, one of the most successful female group in the Mando pop scene, S.H.E has so many classic love ballads that accompanied many lonely hearts during their adolescence years. It will be very amusing and interesting to watch S.H.E performing the KTV oldies in Kending! 懐かしい!


Taiwan’s Mayday lets the Music do the Talking

Another English article. The Canadian Press is doing a decent coverage of Mayday.

Taiwan’s Mayday lets the Music do the Talking
By Adrian Mack March 12, 2014

Taiwan’s Mayday sings in Mandarin, but its songs speak a language any rock fan will understand.

ANY WESTERN PRESS about Mayday invariably mentions the “Beatles of the Chinese world”, but U2 crossed with a little One Direction might be more accurate. The songs are chiming and anthemic, the success is monumental—unprecedented, basically, on their home turf of Taiwan—and, let’s face it: the five members of Mayday are awfully pretty for men in their 30s.

“There were no actual rock bands in Taiwan in 1997, so when we start our band at that time we never even think about going on tour, something like right now,” says guitarist Stone, calling the Georgia Straight from his home studio in Taipei as he prepares for the North American leg of Mayday’s biggest-ever world tour.

“We made our first album just for something like memory,” he says, wryly adding that Mayday’s ambitions, back when the high-school friends first hit the garage under the name So Band, didn’t extend beyond eventually joining the army or settling into careers as “chef or carpenter, maybe”.

Almost two decades and nine albums later, Mayday has played to over 40 million screaming fans around the globe. Having dominated its own hemisphere, the band is intent on colonizing this one just as completely, a plan that appears to be on schedule after Mayday hit some untested European territory last month. In Holland, of all places, and to Stone’s great surprise, the non-Asian portion of the audience was singing along in Mandarin.

“That one was most exciting to us,” he says. “The first few years when we’d go to London or New York, it was almost 90 percent Chinese people there. We get more western people now.” This upswing is probably attributable to a couple of things, starting with Mayday’s undeniable gift for the kind of instantly gratifying, stadium-tooled alt-rock that usually comes with a name like Snow Patrol or Coldplay attached.

But matters really started to change for Stone and his uni-monikered bandmates—Ashin (vocals), Monster (guitar), Masa (bass), and Ming (drums)—when they started subtitling their videos with English and Japanese lyrics. What this revealed, funnily enough, was an apparent fixation on transcending language itself. Check the lovelorn power ballad “Cang Jie” from 2011’s The Second Round. Riding over the top of those swooning harmonies—which, to be fair, do actually bring the later Beatles to mind—we hear Ashin bemoaning that “words lose their effectiveness”; that he’s “run out of language” while he prays for “a poem that would let the whole Universe start again”.

It’s a point Stone makes repeatedly during a 30-minute chat, whether it’s about smuggling a sly message into the hyperactive electro-rocker “Enter Battle”—“We’re talking about politics, sort of, but not very obviously. It’s the beauty of lyrics,” he says—or just laying out the band’s governing manifesto.

“We always believe that music, there’s no boundaries, there’s no language. Music itself has its own power,” he insists. When Stone spent a year at the Paul McCartney–founded Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts during a band hiatus in 2001, he recalls ditching words altogether around his pan-European classmates and “just playing guitar so people would know what I’m talking about”.

“You just make the music to talk,” he says. “That’s the easiest way.”

There’s further significance to this if you consider the language and identity issues that define Taiwanese life and culture. When seven of the country’s key alternative bands came to Vancouver courtesy of TaiwanFest in 2010, they brought previously suppressed Taiwanese dialects and a general resistance to the monoculture of mainland China with them. In contrast to that, somehow, Mayday managed to both kick-start Taiwan’s politically charged independent music scene back in the ’90s and find a neutral path through the China-dominated mainstream. Now they own it.

Europe and North America are next on the docket, although it’s worth considering that, in contrast to underground Taipei rabble-rousers like Aphasia, Mayday had a global outlook right from the very beginning. When Taiwanese superproducer Jonathan Lee suggested that the band get out of town to record its 1999 debut, he set Mayday up at—are you ready?—Greenhouse Studios in Vancouver. (Stone is delighted to learn that Bryan Adams, whom he saw when he was still in high school, hails from these parts.)

“Every time we’re going to make an album, we try to escape our hometown,” he says, “to get a different point of view and get detached from people and just really focus on the music. We like working in area like Vancouver. It’s working with the other people, they have a different point of view of music. Then we will have some chemical explosion or change.”
This is where U2 comes in. Asked what he’s listening to these days, Stone leaps right over the question and states, “I’m really looking forward to listening to U2’s new album right now.” Indeed, he seems pretty intent on paying tribute to the long-standing doves of Irish one-world rock.

“We get a lot of ideas from U2, actually,” he says. “Song and concert ideas, and also the point of view to the world. Because U2, they always write their songs very positively, I think, and they’re very political, and I think Bono himself always tried to make the world better and better. That’s what we admire. We really want to have that kind of power U2 has right now.”

If Asia is the future and the future is now, Mayday could very well get exactly what it wants, and soon.

Stone sounds off on the things enquiring minds want to know.

On the apocalyptic theme of The Second Round:“We try to see things globally, see things widely. For example, our last work, it’s talking about doomsday and the end of the world, but it’s not only [the] Chinese end of the world. It’s also about western people’s end of the world. So we try to expand these things. It’s not only about you and me, it’s about all human beings.”

On his guitar influences: “David Gilmour. I like his playing. He play very subtle and very sensitive notes. Every note has its life and its passion. He’s the guitarist I love most. Eric Clapton is the second one. Yeah, I like blues a lot.”

On recording in Vancouver in 1998: “It was very cold at that time, but Vancouver is a beautiful city in every season. And we actually saw a wild deer in our back yard. It’s our first time. And we see frozen river for our first time. Also it’s our first time we see snow. There’s no snow in Taiwan.”

After reading this article and learning about Mayday’s respect for U2, I have a sudden urge to hear Ashin singing a US song – maybe this…