Wow. We’ve come a long way, baby. Today the 23rd Annual Golden Melody Awards held their award ceremony. And Mayday won six of seven awards for which it was nominated. Six of seven. They won: Best Arrangement, Best Band, Best Composer, Best Producing, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year.
Before today, Mayday has been on the Mandopop scene for 13 years, but has never gotten a GMA award for anything other than best band. Basically, their popularity, but not their musicality, is all that has ever been honored. Now, if Cowboy Jay has taught us absolutely nothing else over the years, he has taught us that getting a GMA award for a particular song or project isn’t exactly confirmation that what you’ve put out there was the absolute best bit of music you’ve ever produced or that was available in the last year. I still think Mayday’s best album EVER was Time Machine. And I love “Noah’s Ark,” but… I have songs of theirs that I like better. Sometimes, it seems like the awards hold out on you for a long time, then finally step up and say, “Yeah. We recognize you. And you’re good.” That’s what this was, I think – it was like 13 years of awards all granted in a single night, and in that sense these awards were very, very well earned. (Plus Cowboy Jay was shut out. Always a good night when that happens.)
The one dark spot was that Ashin didn’t win best lyrics. And, kind of, that Masa did win best composer. You know, I’m thrilled for Masa, really, but I think he got incredibly lucky. After writing only a handful of deeply mediocre songs, he got nominated on his one contribution the one year the band came due in the eyes of the GMA judges. For Ashin, having composed the first four albums solo, being still solely responsible for lyrics, and writing at least half the songs on every album thereafter, this has got to hurt a little bit. Twice during the ceremony he laughingly told the audience to stop trying to comfort him – he’s great. I’m not quite buying it. I know I would have preferred that Ashin win and Masa not, but… who am I to question the wisdom of the GMA judges? Oh wait – I do that every year. Never mind, Ashin was robbed!
Except that he wasn’t, really. The lion’s share of all six of these prizes – yes, including Masa’s – belongs to Ashin. There wouldn’t be a Mayday without the breakthrough albums, and that’s all Ashin. And I do suspect that I’m not the only person who is a Mayday fan first and foremost for Ashin’s lyrics – hey, I even have a website devoted to them! I gladly pay my annual hosting fees each and every year for the sheer pleasure I get out of playing with his language, trying to move it back and forth between Chinese and English. Without Ashin’s “rock poetry,” Masa’s “Noah’s Ark” would never have been noticed.
Like just about everyone else I’ve “met” online or in person along the course of my own decade as a Mayday fangirl, my enthusiasm for the band ebbs and flows with the tides. I listen to a lot more sodagreen these days, or Tizzy bac; I’m obsessed with Carrie Elkin’s gorgeous last album, and in the car I pretty much only listen to NPR news. The time I once had for Mayday – for translating, for listening, or giggling over a Youtube video – gets taken up by more and more complicated things as I age alongside the band. I am, of course, still translating Second Round (even if it feels like I’ve abandoned it), I just have to squeeze it into increasingly busy days, and it’s slow going. But I spent a morning following along with the awards while I worked on other things – a paper under a tight deadline, emails to answer, housework to do, commitments to fulfill – and I knew that no matter how much attention I’m paying from day to day, month to month, I’m always going to be a Mayday fan.
So they can bask in this victory tonight, eat their bananas, and feel pretty good about the world. Then tomorrow, start planning that tour to the U.S., okay?