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 Rangga Jones, Ffion, MYRNE, dolltr!ck, cues, Sasha M, 96memory and Shahrizal, KARAN, BOYINSPACE and Airavat, $ain't, Naeli Fulmaa and Bella Hobby.
Ffion – ‘Let U Down’
“Baby, I just want a reaction” – that’s the clincher. That’s the precipice you from which you either slide down or free fall off – either way, heartbreak is a foregone conclusion.Ever since the maximal tendencies attendant to future bass became pop’s new black, the emotional essence of the songs that carry its freight have come to matter more than ever. Ffion’s new one has all the requisite pops of colour and glorious swells of bass that give it a skyward momentum, but what makes it embed itself in your consciousness is its devastating honesty. Ffion soul-searches in real time; her pain is exquisitely rendered and cuts through the blockbuster sounds.
By its close, a weary, battle-scarred Ffion opts to get off the emotional rollercoaster: “Imma just leave and forget it”. And you applaud her for it.
MYRNE – ‘Higher’ featuring Lost Boy
If you’ve been following MYRNE’s slew of releases over the past two years, then you know that the Singaporean DJ-producer can throw down bass-heavy bangers one second, and switch things up with a feel-good future-bass melody the next. His latest track, ‘Higher’, is one that bridges the two worlds, with melancholic verses and bouncy bass-riddled drops. Synths and light percussion lead the verses, as they slowly build with Lost Boy’s vocals until they reach their thumping peak, as MYRNE introduces thick bass kicks into the mix. The track ticks many boxes; radio-friendly single, club banger and festival track and is undoubtedly one of MYRNE’s most well-rounded singles.
dolltr!ck – ‘Paper Thin’
This electronic dance-pop number from dolltr!ck’s debut EP, Innocent Intentions, highlights her abilities as a producer and musician. The pristine production of this song stands out – every of the various layers and sonic textures are balanced such that each element is clear to the listener’s ears, while not conflicting with the others.
dolltr!ck’s voice can be said to be the glue that keeps the elements of the track together. Airy and unimposing, the vocals blend smoothly with the impeccably produced instrumentals. All these come together to create a soundscape that is light on the ears, yet does not cut corners in terms of its intricate effects and sonics.
BOYINSPACE and KARAN – ‘On Me feat. Airavat’
Our social media-addled present makes this difficult to remember but strip away the illusions of hype and clout and all you really have is the need to say something and the means to do so – that’s what music is. Without some sort of viral crutch, others may not pass muster under these parameters but the duo of KARAN and BOYINSPACE thrives within this utterly simple but merciless metric.
The music of KARAN and BOYINSPACE is fully formed and gimmick-free, despite their youth. They know how to invoke devastation of a visceral and affective kind and let it ride over a gorgeously evocative beat. ‘On Me’ reprises their charms but racks up the drama, doused as it is in the heady pall of reverb and speckled with twinkling synths and pulsing with a heartbeat of bass pounds. It’s both a confessional and a plea, a down-on-its-knees show of vulnerability amidst an intoxication so sublime, it feels otherworldly.
Rangga Jones – ‘Anymore’
Rangga Jones is one of those artists you listen to, and think to yourself: “This guy’s going to be huge”. His list of releases has been nothing short of stunning. On, ‘Anymore’, his soulful voice is backed by luscious instrumentation that makes the entire track feel so raw and emotional despite its beautiful production. With a Frank Ocean-esque performance in tow, Jones is quickly becoming a key player in the Singaporean music scene. A warm bassline stands out in the instrumentation as its driving force, setting the tempo for the rest of the track. He is most definitely one to watch.
96memory – ‘care less ft. Shahrizal’
In a collaborative effort with Shahrizal, 96memory presents a dripping hip-hop track built upon rumbling bass, hollow chimes and a light trap beat. The Auto-Tuned vocals add a surreal, almost-detached quality to the song, further emphasising a subject matter that is as common as it is painful.
Lyrics such as “Girl, you know you drive me crazy when I’m by your side / Girl, you know I’d do it all again like a thousand times” and “Heaven’s got a place for me / I just don’t know if we’ll get there” describe a relationship that has lost its spark – the people involved desire to get out of it, but temptation and residual feelings make it hard to leave. The hollow, poignant sound of the track adds to the melancholy that the lyrics deliver.
Sasha M – ‘Friends’
Sasha M has chosen a kinetically florid way to say “I just wanna be friends”.This is the friend zone anthem – the banner under which you lay down the law. It’s a widescreen house stomper, with booming house textures, a driving beat and an uncompromising lyrical payload. Set in the club, the narrative is familiar but refreshing: It’s that no-turning-back scenario where you’re about to be approached for a dance by someone with whom you’d like to keep things strictly platonic. Though unwavering, Sasha lends credence to her story with a strong measure of realism: She loves the feeling that your eyes are on her; she feels a blush running over her skin but her mind is made up – “Just don’t put your hands on me”.
For anyone that can’t take a hint, let this track spell it out for them.
Naeli Fulmaa – ‘Felt Cute’ featuring Bella Hobby
Naeli Fulmaa’s ‘Felt Cute’ featuring Bella Hobby is one of the grooviest tracks on this week’s round-up. It boasts vibrant synths, crisp percussion, funky basslines, intricate guitar work and fitting vocals. Also, if you listen closely, you’ll find a cowbell sprinkled throughout the track. Combine all those elements, and you have a roaring good time, condensed into a four-and-a-half-minute runtime, perfect for fans of Chromeo’s ‘Fancy Footwork’.
$ain’t – ‘Make It Through The Night’
The fourth track off his new album ASTROBOY, ‘Make It Through The Night’ is an apt representation of the record as a whole. Ethereal sounding, with synths that embody an almost sci-fi quality, this track blends early ‘00s R&B and modern lo-fi trap to convey a mood that is familiar yet fresh at the same time.
At the beginning of the track, a faint voice of an automaton indicates to the listeners $’aint’s fascination with the anime namesake of his album, and the futuristic theme that it brings. One cannot really classify this song into a single genre – the assortment of styles employed, no matter how minute, come together to create a slightly gritty yet spacey sound that is uniquely $’aint’s.
cues – ‘butttxt’
It doesn’t matter if you feel that math-rock is a title-averse proposition. The quartet of cues knows how to furnish sounds that take any reverie to its nth expressive degree.‘butttxt’ presents a bounty of sounds, musical largesse that adheres to a greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts thrust. This is crucial because each element of sound in a cues song already contains so much. Polysemy is a natural byproduct of gymnastic instrumentation but cues know how to make its technicality resound with a poignant emotional valence. There’s no disconnect between head and heart – in the voluptuous grooves, quicksilver notes and the supernaturally deft time signature shifts, meaning resounds.