With the Lunar New Year fast approaching, you would have probably already heard festive music being blasted through speakers at shopping malls and supermarkets.
The usual suspects are timeless numbers that many would remember hearing repeatedly while growing up, including '贺新年 (He Xin Nian)', '恭喜恭喜 (Gong Xi Gong Xi)', and '大地回春 (Da Di Hui Chun)'.
If you are seeking fresh music to listen to as the usher in the Year of the Dragon, the local music community has, over the years, delivered plenty of alternatives to what you would typically expect to hear during the Lunar New Year.
With electronic and dance originals and creative remakes of familiar songs to choose from, you can expect a very different festive celebration should you choose to explore this library of Lunar New Year tunes put together on our sunny island.
Here are six unique festive tunes from Singapore to check out this Year of the Dragon.
Electronic beats for your shopping trip
Title: 'The Uniqlo Song'
Purchasing new outfits that you can show off when you go visiting is a must-do activity in the lead-up to every Lunar New Year, and music producer Fauxe has created the perfect song to keep you company during your shopping trips.
Launched as part of Uniqlo Singapore and Syndicate's collaborative 11-track Lunar New Year album, Uniqlo In Store Music: Chinese New Year, in 2017, 'The Uniqlo Song' is a delightful auditory experience that blends futuristic electronic sounds with hypnotic repetitions of "新年快乐 (Happy New Year)". If you want to turn an ordinary visit to the mall or an online blog shop into a relaxing otherworldly journey, load this one into your playlist.
Jazz music from a vintage songbird
Artist: Miss Lou
Miss Lou is an artist who has proved time and time again that she can effortlessly give any song she covers a retro twist, and one of the latest songs to get the Miss Lou treatment is '贺新年'.
Released in January 2024, the glamour vintage songbird's soothing jazz version of the festive classic will make you want to grab a partner and break into dance. It's not a sight that is usually associated with the Lunar New Year, we know, but trust us when we say that it's hard to resist doing so when Miss Lou, Mei Sheum (keys), Hiroaki Maekawa (bass), Anson Koh (drums), and Daniel Chia (saxophone) make you feel like you are in a Chinese jazz bar from an era long gone.
A multicultural spin on a classic
Title: '恭喜恭喜狮城 Style !'
Artist: Ding Yi Music Company
While the Lunar New Year is predominantly celebrated by the Chinese community in Singapore, the Ding Yi Music Company has reminded us that, given the multicultural nature of our society, members of other communities, too, are welcome to be a part of this joyous season.
Released in 2016, the Wang Chenwei-composed '恭喜恭喜狮城 Style !' is a unique rendition of '恭喜恭喜 (Gong Xi Gong Xi)' that incorporates influences from art forms associated with The Little Red Dot's various ethnic groups. These include the Malay Asli and Joget dances, Indian music, as well as jazz. More than just a song for the Lunar New Year season, this one is a lovingly assembled reminder of what makes our island home special.
A track to kickstart a Lunar New Year rave
Title: 'As Long As You Huat'
Artist: Titan Digital Media
If you are in the mood to party the night away this February, don't let anything, or anyone, stop you. And while you are at it, you might want to consider kicking things off with 'As Long As You Huat', a dance-inducing collaboration between local content creation house Titan Digital Media and supermarket chain Giant.
Featuring familiar content creators such as JianHao Tan, Debbie Soon, and Ridhwan Azman, the track captures the best parts of every Lunar New Year — receiving red envelopes, feasting on abalone and prawn rolls, and even dining at Hai Di Lao — in its verses before delivering satisfying beat drops. It also comes paired with a fun-filled music video, in which the members of Titan Digital Media can be seen dancing inside a Giant store and at Haw Par Villa.
Manyao, doo-wop, rock, R&B, and more in a single medley
Title: '一帆瘋順 CRAZY SMOOTH'
Artist: MICappella and Jaspers Lai
In this energetic festive medley, local a capella group MICappella and Jaspers Lai show us that there are many ways to inject new life into songs that we have already heard countless times.
Beginning with a classic rendition of '恭喜发财', MICappella and Lai continue the medley with a doo-wop spin on '贺新年', a reggae-infused cover of '财神到', an R&B reimagining of '恭喜恭喜', a fast-paced manyao version of '大地回春', and more. What is even more impressive than their creativity in reinterpreting these Lunar New Year tunes is their ability to seamlessly transition between tracks that could not be more different from each other — talk about being "crazy smooth".
One for your nosy relatives
Title: 'SINGLE - A Preetipls CNY 2020 Single'
While the Lunar New Year is regarded as a season of joy, it can also be a time of great stress, all thanks to those dreaded conversations — or should we say, interrogation sessions — with nosy relatives.
If you are single and not sure of how to respond to questions about your love life at your next family gathering, why not take some inspiration from Preetipls and just laugh them off? In her irreverent Mandarin-language track 'SINGLE', the social media personality and music artist uses self-deprecating humour to reflect on why she still does not have a plus-one. "These boys don't speak my lingo, bye bye to my BTO," she sings at one point.
While we can't tell you for sure if you will be greeted by a laugh or silence for poking fun at yourself the next time you are grilled by an uncle or aunt, we can assure you that giving them the Preetipls treatment will, at the very least, bring the questioning to a temporary halt.