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, Latro, Killmeslow, Sam Veil, ABANGSAPAU and D'prpht.
Disco Hue – ‘Better Now’
Sometimes, it’s not enough to be resigned to the fact that letting go is something you have to do. Sometimes, accepting that letting go is almost impossible, is the only way you can move on.
Disco Hue’s latest single soundtracks the emotional universe of that paradox. At this stage, the Singaporean quartet has perfected its anthem-ready, throwback-faithful sound. But the band’s bigger achievement here lies in how it portrays the element of timeless, almost spiritual innocence that has always made its music so compelling and so sweet. That this unfolds within a breakup narrative is also superbly impressive. Frontwoman Sherlyn Leo turns in her best vocal performance yet, cooing out the struggle between knowing you deserve better and feeling like all you need is “someone like you”, over an exuberant synth-pop soundscape that isn’t without a meditative quality. When she sings, “Isn’t it over now?”, you have no answer, too.
LATRO – ‘Trapazine’
Latro’s latest single, ‘Trapazine’, is a smooth, groovy trap tune that will undoubtedly get stuck in your head. In a world overflowing with trendy trap fare, Latro stands out with his latest track, which is a reminder, that, sometimes, less is more. With ‘Trapazine’, Latro cuts back on the all-too-common mistake of overcrowding a track. Instead, he focuses on what’s important: The songwriting, delivery and production.
The instrumentation on the track has many layers and sonic textures to it, but, make no mistake, it works, and greatly at that. The subtle bass, prominent snare and underlying melodies combine for a coherent, smooth-flowing beat that Latro uses to the best of his abilities. The track works great as an exchange between impeccable flow and a great beat that complement one another.
Killmeslow – ‘The Way Things Are’
Just as the artist’s moniker suggests, Killmeslow’s repertoire is filled with jadedness, apathy and melancholy, and his latest single fits in perfectly with all his previous works. The song introduces itself with relatively slow guitar strumming, giving the illusion of a guitar ballad before swerving to the opposite lane with deep, rumbling bass, trap beats and processed vocals.
Lyrics such as “Tryna keep it cool cause you told me that I’m beautiful / Girl, I’m always high cause the pain is so unstoppable”, cut through the instrumentals to make clear that, sometimes, during one’s darkest hours, it might be hard to accept that there is still love towards you coming from another human being. This song fully embodies circumstances when turning to less wholesome escapes seem like the only solution, and that the presence of a loved one is the only other comfort one might have.
ABANGSAPAU – ‘Aura feat. Shameer’
ABANGSAPAU’s new track is a multidimensional, fluctuant one.
‘Aura’ features smooth and expertly-crafted instrumentation, a spine-tingling chorus, and contemplative rap verses. The beat on the track may very well be one of the best produced tunes to come out of Singapore in the past five years. Soft piano keys kick off the track as a snare and hi-hat quickly join the fray, creating a calm and serene lo-fi vibe, before electronic sweeps take over the chorus. The chorus features an incredibly strong performance from Shameer, who hits the perfect mark between smooth and gruff vocals, reminiscent of John Legend. The beat, and Shameer’s vocals, are an undeniable match made in heaven.
For his part, ABANGSAPAU provides the bluster and swagger expected of a rapper in the configuration that songs like this are based on. But his confessional, heart-on-sleeve delivery shows another facet of what he can bring to the table. It's 2019 – you can most definitely bare your heart in rap.
Sam Veil – ‘Happy’
Sam Veil’s new song is an upbeat pick-me-up best enjoyed with a nice cup of coffee in the afternoon. Don’t expect anything less than what the title suggests – ‘Happy’. This lighthearted tune is a gift from Sam to his listeners, reminding them to, “Believe in yourself”. Essentially, ‘Happy’ maxes out your recommended daily allowance of positivity and pep.
Arpeggios seem like something that Sam likes to employ in his music: A palm-muted guitar progression of that sort at the beginning sets it up to be an exciting and dynamic journey. Sam’s ever-soulful voice encourages you to “Don’t ever give up / Take it slow / Take it one step at a time”, as you go about your daily grind. This song is a track that people should include in their playlists simply for its uplifting qualities.
D’prpht – ‘Some Girl Shit’
“I always thought you were an Olympic flame / But I guess you’re just a matchstick with no one else to blame” – This isn’t just a great line, it's a declaration of expulsion. It’s one of many heat-seeking bars in a song about a broken heart grieving for what it can’t have.
Favouring lyricism over hype and boom bap over trending sounds, D’prpht establishes himself in the old mode of a rapper with Something To Say. He’s an excellent mouthpiece and a great writer. Vivid, coloursitic and for-the-jugular imagery is his main arsenal. “Love isn’t all fun and games / It’s just like fire / You get too close and the situation gets dire”, is a universal truth delivered with the battle-weary conviction of someone you want to root for, someone whose words matter to you.
At the song’s close, when his jadedness peaks, you heave a sigh and wish him well.