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 Gentle Bones, GARETH FERNANDEZ, Dru Chen, Fingerfunk, and Zalelo.
Dru Chen - 'Who We R'
Kicking off the decade with a brand new single, Dru Chen proves his versatility and effectively marks himself as an artist who is unafraid to stray from genre.
‘Who We R’ is a refreshing pop sound among Chen’s effervescent discography of funk and soul fusion. While known for his florid soul soundscape, this genesis of a new sonic direction seems to bode well enough; Chen retains his breezy vocalisations as he delivers an impassioned mantra on the passage time and the mutability of the self, all the while propelling the track with a self-possessed tempo that is impossibly catchy.
GARETH FERNANDEZ, Gentle Bones - 'Be Cool'
GARETH FERNANDEZ and Gentle Bones team up on their savvy new track, ‘Be Cool’, a light mockery of the desire to fit in and melt into the mould of convention. It’s reminiscent of Echosmith’s ‘Cool Kids’, but where the latter sleeper hit is a lonely, introspective monologue disguised as pop glamour, the duo is telling you they know better: don’t play by their rules / ain’t nobody like you when you’re trying to be cool.
Theirs is a voice of reason, of conviction, and while anthems such as this can veer on the side of being too much in their earnesty, this one is strangely convincing. The two are keenly aware of our smallness, but are still optimistic that we are capable of amounting to something without boxing ourselves in, serving up vivid lyrics such as “lightning in a bottle / We just conduits / Tryna map out our own constellations”.
Fingerfunk - 'Sephora'
Fingerfunk could start a party rolling anytime, anywhere.
The electronic R&B band’s new single, ‘Sephora’, offers a unique sonic palette that plays a catchy tune while avoiding all the pitfalls that many otherwise predictable groove tracks tumble down. Hisham.tha.mc and FRZ are an effective tag team, with the latter effortlessly segueing from the fluid timbre of Hisham.tha.mc’s vocals to spit a relatively fiercer “thank you next” narrative. In all honesty, it’s a good remorseless, unapologetic post-breakup anthem. Ariana Grande’s “Thank u next” is a wondrous, generous ode, but sometimes you just need to be petty.
Zalelo - 'Stay Away'
Zalelo belongs to the rare breed of musicians that possess a voice so genuinely enchanting that, in a song stripped of any production gimmicks, is utterly impossible to ignore.
The songbird’s latest single, ’Stay Away’, is a tenderly desperate and devastating track that is made buoyant by her pristine voice, which makes for a seamless, wonderful fit with its hushed tenor. This is a soft song, a painful song, but it’s neither here to make a statement nor spill platitudes about heartbreak; instead, she lets the gentle swell and sink of her voice do the storytelling. It doesn’t take very much for the song to hit, and when it does, we’re left with a warmth that lingers and lifts like an autumn breeze.