Singapore Music Reviews: Shahrizal, LEW, Foxela, MMXJ, Ruth Kueo, Hyu, Killedbythecircus, Celestia and Wira Munir

Singapore Music Reviews: Shahrizal, LEW, Foxela, MMXJ, Ruth Kueo, Hyu, Killedbythecircus, Celestia and Wira Munir

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 Shahrizal, LEW, Foxela, MMXJ, Ruth Kueo, Hyu, Killedbythecircus, Celestia, and Wira Munir.

Shahrizal – ‘Take This Pain Away’

“I must be blessed, how did I chance on an angel like you? / Halos on your head, I feel the light in you”

Shahrizal puts his heart on his sleeve in this new song. A dreamy, romantic concoction of love and adoration, this track discusses longing for the one and wishing that the stars would align. Being in love is commonly portrayed as a turbulent and emotional experience, but ‘Take This Pain Away’ highlights the stabilising and calming nature of being in the company of the person one is in love with.

With this song, Shahrizal emotes his feelings and desire for “something good” and “something right” to happen, and that he will keep waiting regardless. With such a beautiful, gentle track, we wish him good luck and that his torturous wait will pay off someday.

LEW – ‘Somebody New ft. Ariyel’

LEW’s collaborative track with Bostonian singer-songwriter Ariyel is a bittersweet ballad about the struggles one faces with their loved ones, but that they wouldn’t have it any other way or with anyone else. This song not only applies to romantic relationships, but to family and friends as well.

“Never knew that love was bloody / You can’t fix a wound with sorry / Love is a war” – To err is human, and to forgive is divine; though sometimes, forgiveness can be difficult. Staying in love with someone is a choice made every day. One can easily walk away, but LEW and Ariyel encourages listeners to fight on in the name of love.

Ruth Kueo – ‘如果搬到你的城市裡’

“我喜歡緊閉著眼睛 / 想你背影 / 彷彿這一刻 / 拉近了距離 / 我不喜歡睜開眼睛 / 還在原地 / 因為太可惜 / 這個世界沒有你”

Ruth Kueo’s ‘如果搬到你的城市裡’ encompasses the sentiments of many couples in long-distance relationships. Literally translating to “If I moved to your city”, the song conveys the feeling of being away from the person you love and the longing that comes from such situations. They say home is where the heart is; but what if your heart lies with someone who’s far away from home?

This emotional ballad is further made poignant by Ruth’s ringing vocals, sounding like bells against the strings in the instrumentals, conveying words of love and longing that resonates with people who knows exactly how it feels to be apart from their loved ones.

Killedbythecircus – ‘Believe’

“Through our twisted dreams / You’ve gotta make yourself believe”

‘Believe’ is the light at the end of the tunnel that was the bleak ‘Doubts’. Killedbythecircus’ second single talks about the the circumstances of hopelessness and the battle to stay afloat. For some, it can be extremely difficult to keep faith when all seems lost; this song plays the role of a guardian angel empathising with the situation while encouraging listeners to hold on.

Shadows can only be seen with light, and light can only be perceived in proximity to shadows. ‘Believe’ is the light from the shadows of ‘Doubt’, and this new track documents yet another chapter in the turbulent mind of Killedbythecircus.

Foxela – ‘It’s All Love featuring Kubota’

Singaporean electronic dance music wunderkind Foxela returns with a new track, ‘It’s All Love’, featuring Kubota. The track starts off with soft piano keys and electronic notes festering and bubbling underneath. As the percussions kick in, you hear Kubota laugh: A sign of things to come with the track. 

Without any build up, Kubota launches into a fun little rapped verse that sets the tone for the rest of the track, with its lively and bubbly flow and tempo. Foxela does a great job at matching Kubota’s flow, using his production prowess to elevate the verses and chorus. If you’ve listened to Foxela in the past, then you already know his production quality is on point. Foxela truly understands what he’s doing and at the end of the day, it’s all love.

MMXJ – ‘Brave featuring Acv’

When people think of the local dance music scene, they think of artists like MYRNE and Perk Pietrek. It’s about time someone else joins them as a household name in the genre, and that person is MMXJ. Maybe MMXJ isn’t a familiar name, and that’s perfectly okay, because ‘Brave’ featuring Acv then gets the chance to convert you into a fan. 

MMXJ has been putting out great singles over the four years, so there’s a lot of tracks to choose from, but perhaps ‘Brave’ is the best one yet. The future bass cut features the best bits of the genre, with dreamy synths, pummelling kicks, heavy bass wubs and a catchy buildup with an unforgettable verse and performance. This is as strong as an electronic track gets. Kudos, MMXJ. We eagerly await your next release.

Hyu – ‘Summer Love’

We were pleasantly surprised when Hyu released her debut single, ‘YOU’ back in back in April, as we remarked: “The stakes around her next transmission are certainly high.” With the release of her debut EP, and one of its strongest singles, ‘Summer Love’, Hyu sticks the landing. 

The opening track to the EP, it sets the tone for the rest of the project, opening with captivating violins, before a feel-good house beat kicks in. As Hyu joins in with her charming vocals, the song takes on a life of its own, showcasing her musicality and creativity. The future is bright for Hyu, and she’s only getting started.

Wira Munir – ‘Seigfried’

Wira Munir’s latest single, ‘Seigfried’, is a breathtaking one. It’s soft and muted, yet loud and strong in what it’s trying to convey. With reverb-dripped vocals and the soft twangs of an electronic guitar, Wira Munir adds his own element to this Frank Ocean cover, making it more sombre and darker. 

Over the course of his musical career, Munir has experimented with a plethora of sounds. While he hasn’t put out a bad song, we don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t stick to this sound. It works, and greatly at that. It’s a great track, and we can’t wait to see what direction he goes in for his next release.

Celestia – ‘Love Eternal’

Celestia makes her grand return to music with the release of her first single in six years, ‘Love Eternal’. With a crystalline voice, Celestia delivers every line with such powerful conviction. Despite strong instrumentation, her vocals shine through as the true star of the track. 

The track begins with soft piano keys and strums of a guitar, slowly building to include leads from an electric guitars, atmospheric drums and violins. It’s an epic end to a truly special song. Fingers crossed Celestia follows this up with more music sooner, rather than later.