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 theodora, Falling Feathers, DEON, Latro, KellyAnnalinez, ABANGSAPAU, Kazden, Tell Lie Vision and ShiLi & Adi.
theodora – ‘letsnotcallitlove’
“I can’t let go / The thought of you” is actually the calm before the storm, before the paralysing admission of consummate, utter vulnerability, “Talk to me, baby / Talk to me”.
On the titular first song off her debut-EP reveal letsnotnotcallitlove, theodora traces the trajectory of the less advertised, less sanguine aspects of falling in love. The torturous waiting and the pummelling bouts of self-doubt that fill up the space between words yet said and texts not yet sent acquire a palpability that is crushing and final. Pleading, gorgeously pleading, over the combined powers of producers FlightSch and Evanturetime, theodora shows that the strongest case for love is also equally strong in pulling you down to your knees. Here, both message and messenger are impossible to doubt.
‘Set Me Free’
Singaporean producer and DJ Kazden’s ‘Set Me Free’ is a track that harkens listeners back to the golden age of EDM, when DJs like R3HAB and Avicii ruled the airwaves. The perfect pump-up track, ‘Set Me Free’ is bright and energetic. Kazden brings back the big room sound with ease and makes it known that he’s destined for great things.
Latro – ‘Tatted’
Emo trap may have just emerged not too long ago but it’s quickly weaving itself into the mainstream. In Latro’s new single, influences of impactful rappers, such as Lil Peep and Lil Uzi Vert, echo through its expanse.
This is his first foray into the realm, since his previous works adopted a more, up-tempo, straightforward delivery, and he does a decent job of it. He sings the bars, which are drenched in the familiar melancholic feel, over a simple bassline and sparse piano melodies, which slide between the spaces left after each beat. He’s careful not to lyrically overload the song, prompting the backing melodies to sink in throughout the whole listen.
Falling Feathers – ‘The Other Side’
A broken heart feels many things. An intimate and devastating understanding of this compels Falling Feathers to want to know what it feels to be on the other side. In his new artistic guise, the singer-songwriter has posited how a grave, sombre tale, hook-minded pop sensibilities and an epic scale can all be harnessed for the singular end of making an earworm-worthy song with a moving sense of gravity. The action in “The Other Side”, is ever-ascending, until the moment of release: Cathartic self-awareness and the vow made to self to not “fall for it again”.
DEON’s first single of 2019, ‘Fix’ is a powerful, emotionally charged track. It might feature light instrumentation, but make no mistake, it’s a big song. DEON’s hushed vocals take centrestage on the track; he hits the highs effortlessly, every utterance is polished and impactful. With ‘Fix’, DEON has us wishing for one thing: A full-length album sometime this year.
KellyAnnalinez – ‘Cologne’
KellyAnnalinez’ appeal comes in the form of the “small town girl with big dreams” trope. Reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s eponymous debut album, she gains the favour of the listener with heart-on-your-sleeve lyricism and a country-inflected piano and guitar harmony to convey her story. Everything around her reminds her of a past love and she wishes it never ended. She also recently emerged as the champion for The Dream Composition songwriting competition for this track, and deservingly so.
ABANGSAPAU – ‘Shackles’
His name is Bahasa Melayu for “Macho Man”. It’s a tongue-in-cheek manifestation of him now owning the insult for being the fat kid amongst his peers back in the day.
That bit of trivia is telling of this rapper’s incipient philosophy of music. With a playful, winking verve, the kind perfected by Aminé and Masego, he recounts an episode of unrequited love. His flow is consciously theatrical but sincere – it’s instantly endearing. You want to root for him. Like his ad libs, the beatscape is Playboi Carti-esque. There is high replay value here but most of it comes from his idiosyncratic take on a universal truth: Nobody wants to have shackles in their heads; we want to be free.
Tell Lie Vision –
Tell Lie Vision has returned with a new single, ‘Castles’, and it is an absolute gut-buster. Starting off with a pounding drums and chords ablaze, screams soon kick in and shift the track into overdrive. Before long, a melodic clean chorus swoops in for an added layer of texture. The single’s breakdown is massive and heavy. All in all, this song is a ripper and stands out in this week’s track reviews.
ShiLi & Adi – ‘When I’m With You’
ShiLi & Adi have been in the music scene for five years but in that time, they’ve proven themselves to be one of the most in-demand music acts in the region. From stints such as performing for former presidents S.R Nathan and Tony Tan to gigs on Indonesian TV, the duo has affirmed that there’s certainly no denying its musicality.
‘When I’m With You’ is the duo’s first English track and it’s an irresistibly disco-influenced dance number. It’s heart-pumping from start to end and there’s a surprise when the bridge comes in: An ‘80s dance music tune; no vocals; just pure grooves. ShiLi & Adi take turns singing the lyrics, climaxing at the chorus where their harmonies soar through. It’s definitely a song you’ll want to listen to if you ever want an instant mood-lifter.