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 Disco Hue, Zeeaura, Shahrizal, SAYVERE, Pandasaurs, KHAi, Foxela, Amni Musifirah, Obviously We!, Sam Driscoll, Jason Ling, Made With Monsters, Sasha M, Ling Kai and Din's List below.
Disco Hue – ‘Call Me Back’
And the winning streak continues. If there’s one pop band in Singapore which knows how to use its raw charms as jump-off points into new, ever-exciting forms, it’s Disco Hue.
Throughout its blossoming discography, the band has shown that, besides being passionate devotees of a certain shade of pop music, it’s able to distill the sum of its influences into its own singular signature. Disco Hue’s latest song is a thoroughly gorgeous analysis of waiting for that call to come from one’s beloved. Lines such as “Only you make me feel at home”, testify to what’s at stake, as a resplendent twirl of melodies affirms the near-religious significance of young love.
SAYVERE – ‘
Rewind’ featuring Erin Frinlay
With ‘Rewind’, Singaporean DJ and producer SAYVERE makes it known that he means business. His first release of 2019, the track tugs on the heartstrings of listeners as vocalist Erin Finlay sings about rewinding time to when things were better with a significant other. While the song carries a moderate runtime of three minutes and fifty seconds, it feels a lot shorter – it begs multiple listens. With immaculate production from start to finish, there’s never a dull moment throughout the future bass cut. While SAYVERE’s big room alter ego RedMoon has made waves worldwide with well over millions of streams, SAYVERE’s music takes a much simpler approach, his main purpose being to offer those who are feeling down the same emotional relief music has given him. And that, he has done incredibly.
Zeeaura - ‘Monkey Land’
With music trends changing ever so quickly, there is almost always very little time to have a full grasp and envelop oneself in what has past. But in her new single 'Monkey Land', Zeeaura enlists the sounds of traditional Chinese orchestra and combines them with the melodies of contemporary Mandopop. Strong bursts of violin, gentle long notes of the piano, and the luxurious sound of the cello are all heard here and seamlessly blend with her sweet, nasal voice. When all the elements combine, the track transports the listener to a comfortable and soft landscape and makes them drift away into their own reveries.
Shahrizal – ‘Roses’
R&B is wide, expansive and endlessly explorable canvas. It demands expression of the fullest, most florid and most unabashedly dramatic extent. One of the reasons ‘Roses’ is a thing of beauty is because Shahrizal makes full and sterling use of the sound’s sonic and emotional affordances. Over a lushly filigreed tapestry of twinkling synths, he emotes, partly bleeding, partly praying. When the swells of bass and drums hit, the force is visceral and palpable. There’s an all-cancelling urgency here: When it’s playing, the listener gets the sense that the drama chronicled in the song is the only thing in the world that matters.
'Tide' featuring Kosmic
A collaborative project between already-established producers and DJs Lincey and Perk Pietrek, Pandasaurs’ first release of 2019, ‘Tide’ is a straightforward track. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it truly is, which is a short, easy and fun listen. With a steady build, the song preps listeners, getting them ready for a fun drop to bounce to. Kosmic’s sharp and high-pitched vocals perfectly match up with the vibe of the production, keeping everything light and breezy.
KHAi - 'Small Talk'
KHAi's first entry of 2019 is a love note to his crush, urging the other party to cut away the initial awkwardness and delve into getting to know one another. And it's a catchy track to lay it on. He adopts snappy, singer-songwriter guitar melodies before the song swells into a harmony of drums, acoustic guitar strums and sporadic warped electric guitar inserts as he rolls into the chorus. His voice is a whispery and delicate vehicle as he sings, "Don't be afraid baby I won't bite / I know it don't make sense to trust a man". The melodies are playful and sweet, just like the narrative woven here.
Foxela – ‘Again’
‘Growth’ is a tricky thing to expect from or ascribe to a 16 year old but across his burgeoning body of work, Foxela has evinced an incremental grasp of how to harness sounds for their fullest pleasure centre-gratifying heft. On his earlier releases, the producer mined from the teeming world of future bass. Now, he takes that bounty to UK garage, where, soulful urgings resound. Every inch of song-space here shines with a pullulating gleam. One more thing: Vocal samples are now part of the young producer’s arsenal, as are interesting pitch manipulations. The stakes are high for the next one.
Jason Ling – '
I Kiss I Touch'
Jason Ling has returned with his first single of 2019, ‘I Kiss I Touch’. A slow-building electronic track, the song opens with a simple beat, carried by Jason’s Auto-Tuned vocals before lighter melodies creep in, resulting in a very Owl City-esque track, which isn't a bad thing. Before long, we’re treated to an eclectic electronic drop. While short, the song is an uplifting, feel-good track that will undoubtedly keep listeners wanting more.
Amni Musfirah – ‘Goodbye'
Amni Musfirah has been in the limelight since the tender age of 10, having performed at several prestigious stages, with one of them being the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Finance Minister’s meeting with former US president, Barack Obama, in attendance.
Her latest track 'Goodbye' is a another testament to her ability to produce hits. Her booming vocals are on display in the last chorus, accompanied by sultry electric guitar riffs and swelling drums. But her restraint, heard mostly throughout the track, is the highlight of the song. She adjusts her intensity at the right moments but still manages to hold the sensual mood that she exudes throughout. And the arrangement of her vocals also pushes the authenticity of the pain that is felt as you listen to the song. It's truly a spectacular listen.
Sam Driscoll – ‘Call It a Day’
“I’m ok that it’s all over now” but then, “the light in my soul is burning out” – this is a lovely ode to two states of being. Equally celebratory as it is mournful, Sam Driscoll’s latest ditty chronicles the different stages that follow the emotional free-fall that follows the demise of a relationship. What’s the main prize here is how he employs a delicious measure of jangle-rock and a soul-lifting blast of horns to punctuate the song’s multiple climaxes. You get the sense that though his heart has taken a bruising, he’ll be ok – he makes it easy to root for him.
Made with Monsters –
'The Transient State'
Singaporean alt-rock/new wave post-hardcore quartet Made with Monsters’ first single of 2019, ‘The Transient State’ serves as the perfect introductory track to what it brings to the table. With two previous singles under its belt, Made with Monsters proves to be adaptable as ‘The Transient State’ takes a step back and slows things down after its fast-paced predecessors. When it comes to rock music of any form, faster doesn’t always mean better and this is one instance that proves that claim right. While still an incredibly fun track with chunky riffs and a chorus that calls for a sing-along, the latest version of Made with Monsters sees the band at its strongest, showing signs of maturity. A strong composition in every aspect, the band shines with this single. If this is a mere glimpse into what’s to come from the quartet, the future is bright for Made with Monsters.
Ling Kai – 'Loving Everyday'
Bilingual singer-songwriter Ling Kai was once mentored by the incredible Singaporean superstar Tanya Chua so, yes, she might have taken a leaf out of Chua's book but Kai's discography shows that she honed that and moulded it into her unique brand. With the affirmations from the success of her debut album LinK, she shaped the songs that followed after, and this latest track is another hole-in-one.
Driven by uplifting melodies, Kai seamlessly switches from Chinese to English and carries the narrative along with no hesitation in between. As she holds the note in the last chorus, the backing vocals come in and lift the mood of the song even higher, as if no depressing clutch could ever bring it down.
Obviously We! – ‘Away From Here’
They say the music industry is mercilessly hype-chasing. But pop punk is one of the few movements that has outlasted pop culture’s interest in it, still thriving in the hearts of those who have sworn themselves to the cause.
Singaporean quartet Obviously We! is one such band ardently devoted to pop punk’s hooky, heart-on-sleeve code of conduct. But it would be a great disservice to the music it makes to pigeonhole the band as mere revivalists. Its debut EP Right Here, Right Now is a masterful work and opener ‘Away From Here’ is the shimmering stand-out song. Over titanic riffs both spiky and sweet, frontman Mud tells a tragic tale of unbearable pain. At the bridge, a pristine guitar lead cuts through the noise like a ray of pure light. It’s a beautiful moment from a band that is most definitely one to look out for.
Sasha M –
A stripped version of Sasha M’s viral 2018 single of the same name, ‘Loaded’ (Acoustic) breathes new life into an already-strong track. While the original version was a collaboration with German EDM producer Hasso, the acoustic version focuses solely on the Singaporean vocalist, her sultry vocals and harmonies capturing the emotional charges that the lyrics try to portray. While her vocals were great on the original version of the track, its raw power is put on full display on the acoustic version and we can’t wait to see what the singer has in store for the future.
Din's List – 'To The Light'
Din's List debut single 'To The Light' signals the band's enthusiasm to let the world know its sonic abilities. Comprising five lads from the National University of Singapore, Juzantri, Fariduddin, Halim, Yunmu and Mark, the band came together and created a track that exhibits every single member's musicality. From harsh guitar riffs to the rapid sounds of the cymbals and pounding of the drums, the band pieced together a strong start in its portfolio. Juzantri's vocals are exerted but cut above the rich landscape his members have laid out. This intricate blend of melodies is amongst the best things of the band's big leap into the Singaporean music scene.