Mayday’s Latest Album 五月天最新的歌曲选

I don’t often write about music here, but I started listening to an album last night, and can’t get enough of it. It’s by Mayday, 五月天, a popular Taiwanese rockband who have been going strong since the 1990’s. The members now are all pretty much in their 40’s, they’re not anything like the young heartthrobs of One Direction.

Their latest 2016 album《自传》(History of Tomorrow) is said to be their penultimate album, and although I haven’t listened to any of their other albums from start to finish, this is one that I keep playing on repeat.

I understand Chinese, but often with songs, it’s harder to tell the meaning on the first time of hearing the words > see misheard lyrics so as it’s only the second time of me listening to the songs, I’m commenting more on the sound of the album rather than the lyrics. But Mayday are renowned and famous for their hard-hitting lyrics that are easy to relate to, talking about courage, patience, heartbreak and other such matters.

This album has a mixture of titles ‘party animal’, ‘what if we had never met’, ‘greatest day’ etc and they’re all pretty upbeat. They’re just an all round great boy band that’s stood the test of time.

Here’s a video to one of their new songs, it has English subtitles too if you switch them on on Youtube. The band are in the future as old men, they open a special vault, go back to the past (present day) and make all these people stop working hard and start partying, including yes, the token laowai (foreigner) and a girl who looks like she’s studying for her gaokao (Chinese college entrance exams you take in secondary school).

I plan to listen to the album a few more times, and look up the lyrics to some of my favourite songs, since Spotify isn’t like QQ Music and doesn’t give you lyrics (unless that’s on the premium version?)

I stumbled on the album by chance, after wanting to listen to one of my favourite soppy nostalgic Chinese songs 《倔强》 also by the band. I thought the band was done with recording, so was pleasantly surprised to hear some new music from them. Keep it up guys, I’m waiting for your last album and next world tour!



Misheard Lyrics (Spanish)

A few weeks ago I posted about some of the misheard lyrics I’ve heard in Chinese. I also speak Spanish, so here are my best/worst examples of misheard Spanish lyrics.

‘Juan caramelo’

Me and my friend used to sing this in secondary school, as there was a cute language assistant at school called Juan. We thought the song said ‘Juan caramelo‘ (caramel Juan), but how wrong were we?! The song is actually ‘Guantanemera’ and it’s areally big Cuban song that is written about a girl from the city of Guantanemo, it’s been covered by lots of artists and this is one of my favourite versions.

‘El taxi’ ~ Osmnani Garcia ft Pitbull

If you’ve ever been with me at a Spanish party when this song comes on, you’ll know how much I love it! I thought the lyrics were yo yo yo me paré el taxi, yo yo yo yo yo me paré el taxi, (it was me, me me me who stopped the taxi…something to be proud of right?) but it’s actually cho cho chofer pare el taxi, cho cho cho cho chofer pare el taxi (driver driver diver, stop the taxi). And it’s not only me, there are loads of Spanish articles online about locals making this mistake too.

‘La polla amarilla’ ~ Chico Trujillo

Truly the best band I’ve ever seen live, this Chilean band is really great. Their song La Pollera Amarillla is inspired by Alexis Sanchez, pollera being the Chilean word for a shirt (the [wonder child] in the yellow [football] shirt). But I heard it as ‘la polla amarilla’, which if you know Spanish will be very funny – literal translation = the yellow hen, real life translation = the yellow p*nis.

Have you made any of these mistakes?

Misheard lyrics (China)

Chinese is a tonal language, but in songs, it’s incredibly hard to incorporate the tones. For example one pinyin word like ‘wo’ pronounced in a different tone can mean me, nest, hold, crouch or snail depending on the tone and the character – 窝 and 蜗 are both the first tone, but one means nest, the other means snail. Therefore, this can lead to a lot of misheard lyrics, especially for us language learners.

Here are some of my misheard lyrics, I won’t tell you how long it took me to find out their real meanings:

你是我心内的一首歌 – Selina/ 王力宏
Pinyin: haoxiang wen ni
I heard: 好想吻你; I really want to kiss you
Actual lyrics:好想问你; I really want to ask you

The next line of this song is 对我到底有没有动心 (if your feelings about me have changed at all), so looking at it in that way, it’s quite obvious that it’s a question.

送你一首吉祥的歌 – 乌兰图雅
Pinyin: lailailai heipengyoumen
I heard: 来来来,黑朋友们; come here, black friends!
Actual lyrics: 来来来,嘿朋友们; come here, hey friends!

The ‘hey’ in this song is a Chinglish word, they used the English word ‘hey’, and the Chinese word for black is also hei. It sounds pretty similar. Other lyrics in the song also say ‘it doesn’t matter where you come from, we’re all friends’, so my interpretation 真有道理!

我的蒙古马 – 乌兰图雅
Pinyin: wo de menggu ma
I heard: 我的蒙古man; my Mongolian man
Actual lyrics: 我的蒙古马; my Mongolian horse

Wulantuya is my current favourite artist, so it’s only likely she’s on this list. She usually sings about the grasslands and she has some songs about a guy she likes, so I thought she was revealing that she liked a Mongolian man, and added the English word ‘man’ in, just because it’s cool to mix languages in songs. But I should have listened more carefully, actually, the first sound you hear when you play this song is a horse’s whinny, and yeah, the video is full of horses.

时间都去哪儿了?- 王铮亮
Pinyin: yibeizi
I heard: 一杯子 (a cup)、亿倍次 (a million times)、一被子 (a quilt)
Actual lyrics: 一辈子; a lifetime

This song is about time passing fast and his parent’s relationship, but 一辈子 is a word I hear in a lot of Chinese songs. I first thought it meant a cup, like sharing a glass of wine or a nice drink together. The previous lyrics are 生儿养女: bearing and bringing up children, so maybe a million times would be suitable, meaning that his parents would do it all over again and again. Then I thought, as I’d heard yibeizi in plenty of love songs, it meant a quilt, like moving in with someone and sharing a quilt with them, cos that’s romantic right? All of those times I was wrong, and it was infact 一辈子,the Chinese word for ‘a lifetime’.

What songs have you misheard in Chinese or any other language? Did you make any of the same mistakes as I did?

Pitbull – My Guilty Pleasure

Pitbull is one of my musical guilty pleasures, along with Jedward and others that I won’t mention. He’s one of those artists who I know I should despise as his lyrics and videos are always outrageous, yet when I hear one of his songs, my head starts moving, my foot taps to the rhythm and I just want to get up and dance.

Mr Worldwide

His lyrics are often questioned, criticised and featured in those Top 10 Worst Lyrics of All Time lists and I do agree that when I’ve stopped to actually listen to what he’s singing/rapping about, it either:

  • makes no sense at all and is just a list of words
    Big news, Pitbull, Tom Cruise, Mumbai – Get It Started
  • him talking about women’s bodies
    Mami got an ass like a donkey with a monkey/Look like King Kong – I Know You Want Me
  • him making statements about himself with strange metaphors
    I’m slicker than an oil spill/She say she won’t, but I bet she will – Timber
  • him saying how he is like (enter famous person here)* these are my favourite types of Pitbull lyrics
    I’m like Moses/ I split the red sea – Party Ain’t Over
    I’m like Bon Jovi/I’m wanted – Exotic
    I have em like Miley Cyrus/Clothes off – Timber
    I got it locked up like Lindsey Lohan – Give Me Everything
  • sexual innuendos
    I’ll be the plumber tonight/I’ll check your pipes – Hotel Room Service

But why can’t I stop listening to his music? The rhythm is intoxicating to me and the use of different sounds and instruments brings a different vibe to other music I listen to that has a similar beat.

This is a problem, as I’m torn between my mind and my body, my mind tells me I shouldn’t listen to this music which degrades women and is pointless words thrown together by an arrogant ex-drug dealer. Yet my body starts dancing when I hear his songs and the music makes me happy. Maybe it’s because many of his songs include samples of other songs, maybe its because I like upbeat music but I think this is a problem the whole world is facing (not Pitbull as an individual). These songs that have upbeat melodies and that are good to listen to are often ruined by stupid or inappropriate lyrics, such as the Blurred Lines scandal two years ago. When young children sing these songs and don’t know what they’re singing about, how can you tell them to stop?

From the looks of things, Pitbull won’t change the type of lyrics he writes, his latest song, Fireball is not free of lyrics about a named girl and her body

I gave Suzie a little pat up on the booty/And she turned around and said/Walk this way

If I were Suzie and Mr Worldwide had touched my booty I would have turned around and told him where to go, and it wouldn’t have been “this way”. But again, I find my feet tapping away when I hear it and the video is more artistic than others of his.

What also irritates me is how famous Pitbull is, everybody who’s anybody in the music industry seems to have made a song with him, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Usher and Akon to name a few. He produces hits that sell and when top names are collaborating with him, it’s one of those if you can’t fight them, join them situations.

Should I continue to listen to Pitbull? Do you like him and/or his music? I’d love to hear from you.