Singapore Music Reviews: Boon Hui Lu (文慧如) ft GBOYSWAG, Jasmine Sokko, Derrick Hoh, Sam Rui, .gif, and Homeless Scholars

Singapore Music Reviews: Boon Hui Lu (文慧如) ft GBOYSWAG, Jasmine Sokko, Derrick Hoh, Sam Rui, .gif, and Homeless Scholars

Every Friday, many local musicians release new music that flies under the radar. To bring you the best new local music releases this weekend, we've compiled a playlist featuring some of the newest songs out from artists such as Boon Hui Lu (文慧如) ft GBOYSWAG, Jasmine Sokko, Derrick Hoh, Sam Rui, .gif, and Homeless Scholars.  

Boon Hui Lu (文慧如) ft GBOYSWAG - 'Losing Myself'

'Losing Myself' comes as a surprise - Boon Hui Lu moves in a different sonic direction from her recent ballads, swapping out her usual emotionally plosive compositions for a more casual exposition on love and loss. Taiwanese artist GBOYSWAG proves a good fit here, his gentle runs mellowing out Boon's pristine vocals. 

It makes for an easy, light-hearted listen, but it's no less heartfelt. Rather, it seems to reflect the self-conscious emotional manoeuvre we tend to employ in the throes of heartbreak, where we try our hardest to convince ourselves that it's possible to somehow make light of the loss: "腦袋全放空  讓靈魂飄走  也許就不痛 (Empty your mind of thoughts / Let your soul float / Maybe this will make it hurt less)." Somehow, that might just make it hurt worse. 

Jasmine Sokko - 'Mess'

Jasmine Sokko sings to a different emotional tune in 'Mess', despite what the song title itself may suggest, and perhaps it's a timely offering given current circumstances, where things are anything but peaceful. In times such as this, and especially when we're left to reckon with ourselves every waking second, it's easy to turn the chaos of the external world inwards.

But we learn to face our mistakes, big and small, and accept them with grace. Sokko reminds us that despite the worst of our imagination, we may indeed be inconsequential after all: "So what if I've made a mistake / The world would go on." It's a liberating thought, and coupled with the futuristic interlude ("System rebooting"), Sokko crafts an arresting anthem of optimism and grit, a sentiment that we may need more than ever right now. 

Derrick Hoh - '找到你'

'找到你' is Derrick Hoh's first original work in a while—since 2017, in fact—and this time, he's resurfaced with a statement he must make to the world. It doesn't take very long to glean that this is a love song, but a less cursory glance at the lyrics would immediately reveal the sheer devotion with which Hoh has crafted this song. 

It's a whimsical articulation of love—nothing we haven't seen before, as far as love songs go—but this one in particular is also grounded in sure maturity and understanding of what it takes to make love work. It's clear Hoh knows just how rare this must be; how much of a miracle it is to be able to find the one person we spend our entire lives looking for, and it's the reason why this love song is cut more compelling and moving than many others. 

Sam Rui - 'Crew'

Sam Rui gives a shoutout to her crew in 'Crew', capturing the emotional zeitgeist of our generation in the process with lyrics that make clear her reluctance to participate in the ennui of hedonistic bacchanals and small talk. It's a sentiment that rivals Alessia Cara's 'Here', but she uplifts the general undercurrent of cynicism with the clarity of her affection for the ones who stick and grow together with her. 

She remains straightforward as ever, and it makes us feel as if we're privy to her most unembellished thoughts, and this bout of vulnerability in turn invites us to turn an honest gaze towards the relationships we have in our own lives and the ones we seek to build. It's the languid confessional essence of her sound that compels so, and it's why we allow ourselves to taken in and drawn away each time. 

.gif - 'My Darling' 

.gif is undoubtedly one of the best electronic acts in Singapore, and they prove why in their single, 'My Darling'. Their latest offering is a haunting loop that lingers and whispers in the background even as the last beat melts away into nothing. 

It's vivid, heady, and eerily seductive in the way one might be tempted to walk down a path shrouded in darkness, just to see what horrors await. If there ever was some semblance of a sonic manifestation of what it means to find yourself in a liminal space with no knowledge of where your next step may take you, yet being comforted by some instinctual recognition that you will walk out unscathed eventually, this may be it. 

Homeless Scholars - '偶然会' 

How do you talk to someone who's no longer here, to tell them everything you've seen with your own eyes now that they can't be there to experience the world by your side? What do you do with the ghosts of their memories? 

'偶然会' is a necessary journey through sorrow, tracing a personal transformation from the silhouette of grief that a loved one's passing has left one as, but where do all the residue longing and anguish go? The answer is, as Homeless Scholars seem to suggest, right here, still. Even as we turn the page, their imprint on our lives never really fade, and that's okay. It's a delicate balancing act, but that's what it means to have someone dear to you. That in itself is a precious thing, and this is a song that wants us to never forget that.