Last week, we celebrated the latest songs from the canon of Made In Singapore music to reach the ether. Now, we dig deeper into our national anthems with a critical eye. Read our review of the latest songs by Boon Hui Lu (文慧如), Nathan Hartono, brb., BECKA and OHMYMEITING, Nick Zavior, and Rangga Jones.
Boon Hui Lu (文慧如) - ‘不让你再’
Boon Hui Lu is exacting as a singer-songwriter, and she manages to hit the mark every single time.
One of her latest releases, ‘不让你再 Not Anymore…’ is a tremendous tug on the heartstrings. It first beckons with a gentle sort of melancholy, then swells into an excruciating narrative that traverses love and heartache and faith, conveying the strongest sentiments with precision and an undercurrent of tenderness. That’s not to say that it was schmaltzy though—not in the slightest. Boon is an expert at crafting atmosphere, and it shows in this track. If there’s a song that perfectly embodies the movie trope of gazing wistfully out of the car window in the rain, then this is it.
Nathan Hartono - ‘陪你旅行的人’
Nathan Hartono has already proven, over and over, on Sing! China his vocal affinity for ballads, but his timbre is just as easily charming in pop tracks as it is in slower tunes.
The singer’s latest Mandarin single is a mnemonic exercise with its impossibly catchy instrumentals, which his voice melds seamlessly with to create the ideal pop track—fluorescent in its technicolour soundscape. But this isn’t simply something to dance to; Hartono himself writes that it’s about “taking the time to be with your special somebody. Because life can get in the way of love sometimes, and all we really need is a little quality time away”. It ticks many boxes: important message, great momentum and sharp musicality.
brb. - ‘do me right’
R&B-funk trio brb. knows how to produce earworms, that’s for sure.
Since their debut single, ‘cool with it’ (2018), they have gone from strength to strength. With their debut album, relationshit, they have unveiled the last remaining track that had yet to make its way into public consciousness, and one can say it’s well worth the wait. While this track in particular doesn’t exactly stand out among a curation of fluid R&B sound and themes that are aptly reflective of the teen / young adult era the trio reside in, it flows like water, and is good, strong proof of their consistency.
BECKA, OHMYMETING - ‘Call Me’
‘Call Me’ doesn’t beat around the bush, if the lines ‘不需要再等待 / 省掉这些对白 Let’s not wait any longer / Save all the small talk’ weren’t already sufficiently obvious hints.
BECKA and OHMYMEITING see a successful burst of collaborative artistry on this new track, with BECKA’s lower, warm tone providing a gentle contrast to Meiting’s sweet crooning. Don’t let the wistful undertones of the song fool you though—the two Mandopop singers are refusing to play according to anyone else’s rules, and instead go on the offensive, coaxing and persuasive in this effortless blend of flirtation and earnest conviction. This refreshing R&B offering is a song that promises to stick.
Nick Zavior - ‘Fame’
The first five seconds of the song come almost a shock, then I read Nick Zavior’s Spotify bio. He is apparently a lover of funk, soul and gospel music, and now it makes sense. Surprising as it is, it makes for a grabbing preface to a fusion of soul and R&B.
‘Fame’ is an amalgamation of many things, and it does veer on the edge of overwhelming at times, but it is above all else, undeniably, a groove. Zavior works intensely well with the beatscape, producing equally distinct lyrics to accompany his sound. “Fame, she don’t care ‘bout what you have to say / If it don’t match what’s in her head’, he sings almost off-handedly, and it is this casual portrait that makes the track as charming as it is.
Rangga Jones - ‘Addicted’
After his slew of formidable singles in the past year, Rangga Jones’ name is one that won’t just go unnoticed despite his recent start in the local music scene.
In his latest work, ‘Addicted’, he takes his time to croon his love letter, pausing to let the sonic textures breathe, before his vocals slide in. There are instances where the instrumentals and his voice miss each other and seem slightly off-balance, as if trying to catch up to each other, but the strength of his crisp synths with his soulful tenor makes it clear that his is a name to remember.