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 FARIZ JABBA, Masia One, Sezairi, thecolorfractal, MICappella and Dnl..
FARIZ JABBA – ‘Masa’
Behold the new version of FARIZ JABBA. There’s dancing and singing in this iteration and also a whole lot of heart.
In his latest single, one of Singaporean music’s most popular artists shows a new side of himself with self-correcting flair. Gone is the rapid-fire rap that he made his name with. ‘Masa’ is the site of life-elevating, transformational and history-resounding love. It’s a song made to transcend the turn-up thrills of the moment; a song made to be sunk into one, 10, 30 years from now and JABBA meets his aims with expert flair. Over a pulsating Flightsch beat, he proffers exquisitely smooth R&B blessings to the listener. The fact that it’s entirely in Malay isn’t alienating in the least. It’s one of those songs that evokes the language-confounding feeling of love’s universality by sheer feel alone. The alignment between sound and emotion is total and superb.
thecolorfractal – ‘twenty three’
While thecolorfractal may be new to the Singaporean music scene, the brain behind the project, Weiwen Seah, is far from a fresh face. At the tender age of 16, Weiwen signed to independent record label Big Ear Musica under the moniker For This Cycle. Since then, he has dedicated a large portion of time perfecting his craft, graduating Magna Cum Laude from the prestigious Berklee College of Music with a dual major in songwriting and contemporary writing and production.
thecolorfractal’s debut single is as close to perfection as it gets. A well-rounded track, ‘twenty three’ showcases the best of his abilities, from mature songwriting, to standout instrumentation across the board. Upon first listen, it’s hard to believe that the track isn’t something taken off John Mayer’s discography. With his debut single, thecolorfractal has announced his return to Singapore music, and everyone needs to take notice.
MICapella – ‘Through Your Eyes’
MICapella ushers in Mother’s Day with a lush and serene lullaby ‘Through Your Eyes’. As the title suggests, the song tells a story through the eyes of a mother. It starts off with a clip of a child singing The Pine Ridge Boys’ ‘You Are My Sunshine’ and in the opening verse, the group sings as the child with to their mother: “You were standing there holding my hand”. But as the song unfolds, the viewpoint shifts to that of the mother.
By gently tugging memories and feelings from both experiences, the group crafts a moving image in the listener’s mind and creates a sort of time lapse of the past to the future on a bed of soaring melodies. Keep in mind, it is exclusively A cappella and with the intricate percussion and ascending melodies – it’s almost impossible to believe no actual instruments and minimal production were used in the song.
Sezairi – ‘In Secret’
“We ain’t children anymore / I just wanna go real slow”, coos Sezairi in his latest single. It's no secret that he has grown up; this song is about wanting to explore unknown territory with one’s significant other (in private) – a theme that isn’t too uncommon among the radio hits of today. ‘In Secret’ is the kind of song that you would be listening to on a bright sunny day, while talking a leisurely stroll around town, possibly on a date.
The catchy melodies and smooth rhythm will have you snapping your fingers along to it in no time. Alongside its overall pop sound, Sezairi also seamlessly weave in R&B elements and trap beats into 'In Secret'. The song has the chirp and pep that you'd expect from a pop bop but with the additional twist that will bring you to your feet.
Masia One – ‘Jamaican Flava’
“Tell me what you want / What you really, really want from me/ You Jamaican boy” – So much of what MAS1A does is a love letter to Jamaica but this is the most effusive and heart-on-sleeve she’s been about it.
This time, she features on a song by one of the most celebrated names in reggae and dancehall, Richie Stevens, who also had a part to play in Rihanna’s panoramic Jamaican excursion, ‘Work’. Together, him and MAS1A partake in a call-and-response exchange that connects Asia and Jamaica through the mesh of romance. All the conventional signifiers of Jamaica are invoked here in an infectious and transportive way: Its sensuality; its terminally relaxed atmosphere; its sparkling waters. Not only do you vouch for the lovers in the song but for Jamaica itself.
Dnl. – ‘Tastebuds’
Let’s begin by prefacing that ‘Tastebuds’ isn’t a bad song, but there’s room for improvement. There are a few great things about this track: Its fire beat, and bilingual rap verses. The track is led by a simple, yet beautifully crafted beat made up of trap hi-hats, snares, electronic drum patterns and a quiver of bass. The first rapped and Auto-Tune-filled verse could use a little bit of work, though. With his delivery and the heavy use of reverb, it’s hard to make out what he’s saying. Things pick up with the second verse, though, as the Malay rap verse kicks in. Overall, it’s a fun track, but it could be better with just a little bit more work.