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 reviews of the latest songs by Sezairi, Gentle Bones, MYRNE & Duumu, Bennett Bay, Akid Amir and CLT.
Sezairi – ‘She Moves’
If you’ve kept up with Sezairi’s string of releases in 2019, then you know just how immaculately he has been able to venture into a newer sound and come out shining. His latest track, ‘She Moves’, which nicely wraps up his Undertones EP, follows in that same vein. ‘She Moves’ is a dancey, pop-heavy mood-lifter that effortlessly puts a little pep in your step without you even realising it.
As I sit here writing this review, I catch myself swaying along to the track in my seat – something that doesn’t happen very often. If that isn’t a clear indicator of just how catchy this song is – and the whole EP, while we’re at it – then I don’t know what is.
Gentle Bones – ‘Why Do We?’
'Why Do We?' is the first in the series of ten tracks that he plans to release this year. The kinetic synths, tempered by the polished, brooding swell of his voice, make for an immersive articulation of love and loss. True to his desire to not make his music a hyperbolic means of expression, Bones continues to keep it simple and clean, exploring complex emotions without surfeiting the song with pathos.
The track serves as the perfect first taste of the latest era of Bones, as it offers listeners just enough of what to expect from future releases without giving too much away.
Duumu & MYRNE– ‘All for Nothing’
Singapore’s MYRNE teams up with fellow Monstercat label mate Duumu for their latest track, ‘All for Nothing’, a softer, lighter approach to the electronic realm that both producers traverse. It’s a welcomed change in a sea of over-the-top bass-in-your-face EDM tunes that swell the airwaves and flood streaming services now.
Not only is it a nice change of pace, it also showcases the artistic growth and maturity of MYRNE, whose previous works include B4NGER PROJECT with Gentle Bones, has been a steady chart of adaptability. ‘All for Nothing’ is one of those tracks that you can lose yourself to, as you get engrossed in whatever it is you’re doing, and you let the mood and vibe of the track sweep you away.
Bennett Bay – 'Kasai'
Bennett Bay’s music is a conspicuous presence in any playlist. A performing oxymoron, his soundscape is a sublime wisp that lingers between musical abstraction and visceral imagery conjured up by the somber strings that sing in the track. Hailing from his latest EP, Little Old Town , a collection of sounds inspired by his solo trip to three different places during his time in Japan, ‘Kasai’ in particular recounts, in his words, “an overcast evening stroll to and from Kasai Rinkai Park”.
At first, the instrumentals and ambient noises stand apart, distinct, like an accidental overlap, two stories independent of each other. As the track progresses, they start to intertwine to become a seamless chronicle of emotions - nostalgia, longing, forlornness. It may not an evocative ballad that screams its pathos at you, but ‘Kasai’ demands attention in a more subdued way. It excels as a tender, enduring memory that speaks not with words, but sound and images.
Akid Amir – 'I'll Wait'
Romance novels love the boy-next-door trope, but how many of these fictional characters can claim to be able to style hair and perform serenades with soulful tunes? Singapore’s own boy next door, Akid Amir, does just that, masterfully wielding his tools as a barber by day and entering his element as a musician at night. The duality of man, as people might say, but he is singular in his personable, down-to-earth demeanour, which shines through from his interviews to his music—and ‘I’ll Wait’ reflects exactly this unadorned brand of sincerity.
“Simmer down all your ego / Spread the love to the people”, he sings, accompanied by a sonic groove infused with borrowed elements of old school disco in a throwback to a simpler era while looking to the future with optimistic anticipation. It’s a little Phum Viphurit-esque, but where Viphurit’s sound may be a gentle rain shower you can dance in, Amir’s gives you all the sunshine you need to bathe in.
CLT – 'No Plan'
CLT’s Spotify bio is simple and direct: 20 year kid from Singapore just always loved rapping . He offers no other information, and so—whether an intentional effect or otherwise—all attention zeroes in on the two tracks on his profile - ‘No Plan’ and ‘Instagirl’, of which the latter was released just last year.
Despite the limited discography, he already promises a distinct sound with his sleek flow and candid lyrics, reflecting the gritty, carefree attitude that is so uniquely embodied by hip-hop. There is a headstrong, stubborn confidence that is found in his latest track, a self-assured recklessness that is reserved for those who have, as CLT raps, “belief in self”. ‘No Plan’ is a breed of rugged poetry, a manifesto for everyone who is following the tail of ambition, even if there is no clear end in sight.