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 Miss Lou, YETI PACK and PARINDA, Killmeslow, The Fleurist, CLT, Shahrizal, ABANGSAPAU and Tengyboy, Zaymm, Michael Noah, Marijannah and Intriguant.
Miss Lou – ‘Right Next to You’
A longstanding love is different from a newly minted romance in many ways. But the most significant distinction is emotional stamina. Miss Lou’s latest is an ode to that vitality, to the raw material needed to ensure that absence doesn’t just make the heart grow fonder but stronger.
The Singaporean chanteuse arrived in the ether fully formed, a brand unto herself. In sound, as well as in presentation, she’s an invitation to a distinct world and a distinct sensibility, soundtracked by an easy-listening splendour that embraces the sensuality of jazz and the mellifluous charms of pop. She ushers the listener to this place on her new one, too, but it’s been imbued with more sophistication and honesty. Like an angel’s kiss, her voice rides the beat, itself a soaring presence within all the surrounding lushness. Whoever this song is meant for is lucky, indeed. For when she utters these words, she speaks of an eternity together: “We were made to build each other up”.
Yeti Pack, PARINDA – ‘LONELY’
“Why you only calling when you lonely?”
Both ends of that question are relatable places that we’ve all been at before. The distance between both poles is a complex one to traverse, much less live with. That’s why this song exists.
Loneliness doesn’t happen in a vacuum – pain, frustration and anger get swept up into its rip tide. Here, the sum total of Yeti Pack’s masculine energy finds a gorgeous counterpoint in guest singer PARINDA, whose airy coo, which is the musical spine that carries the song’s emotional freight. The four male voices rap around her orbit – explaining, flexing and confessing with dashing, quote-worthy vigour. The whole song is a climax – but the question doesn’t need to answered because the answer is obvious.
Killmeslow – ‘untrue’
What I love about Killmeslow’s handle on emo trap is that it’s more than just a proof of concept.
He follows the genre’s tenets but not obsequiously, giving his written-in-blood narratives a believable, lived-in feel. ‘untrue’ hews closely to the path of his earlier singles, reprising his favoured nocturnal setting and the theme he’s become very fluent in: “I don’t really care if you try to break my heart tonight”. It’s almost as if Killmeslow is testing the limits of his heart in every song, daring himself to break – and never getting there. This time, he finds comfort in the narcotic haze that is the “zone”, which gives him the comfort that buttresses his detachment. Even if it wasn’t intended to – even like it doesn’t sound like it – this is a song of hope, damaged hope.
Marijannah – ‘1966’
This is the era of the multi-screen, multi-tab experience. At over 9 minutes, ‘1966’ is automatically disqualified from the kind of algorithm-based listening favoured by the trend police. But the song doesn’t care – it’s clearly made for fans. Forged in the crucible of a particular strain of heavy metal and love for horror movies, the Marijannah endeavour is poised at the intersection of several fandoms. This means that every Marijannah song rewards the listener on multiple fronts. This time, the seismic clash of guitars, drums and bass honours the narrative of Roman Polanski’s 1968 coup Rosemary’s Baby. In the world of the film, the words, “Where have you gone my baby? / Hold on, i'm coming for you now?”, are haunting and prophetic. Animated here, as they are by this teeming soundscape, including an almost-two-minute guitar solo, they ring even more portentously and mythically.
Intriguant – ‘Chika’
The dominant way people listen to music often plays a part in deciding how it’s made. Intriguant’s new single is born from the recombinant thrust of the digital format, of the multiple information/stimulation-rich pathways of the Internet, but testifies to the authorship of a singular vision. ‘Chika’, is Japanese for “underground”, and a crucial signifier of its conceptual birthplace. Different dance musics coalesce in its 4/4 pound. In Intriguant’s sonic architecture, house, techno and hip-hop are different ways to get to the same destination: Envelope your consciousness and blast your body into movement. It pulses with life and possibility, in the darkness of its own menace, just like a night you know will end well.
ABANGSAPAU, Tengyboy – ‘Clingy’
ABANGSAPAU’s new track is a multidimensional one. ‘Clingy’ features smooth and expertly crafted instrumentation and contemplative verses. The beat stands out from the start and never lets up: Simple synths, piano keys and trap snares and hi-hats are all ABANGSAPAU needs to paint his latest work of art.
The track tackles the topic of an overtly clingy significant other. Its opening seconds set the scene, with a sample of a clingy girlfriend questioning her boyfriend’s every move, ending with “You’re mine, you’re mine forever.” ABANGSAPAU is driven from loving his partner to lamenting her, as he sings “Baby, let me go / Suffocate me / Baby, let me breathe”. Tengyboy’s performance and flow on ‘Clingy’ is a great example of how getting the right artist to feature on a track can elevate it further, as he lays down a verse that services the song perfectly, while also showing off what he can do.
CLT – ‘Myself’
CLT, also known as Charlton Lucian Tan, understands the importance of self love, staying true to yourself, and never compromising for anyone. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and while it may come off a little gating, there's no denying that CLT exudes his truth on the song.
CLT is riding on an all-time high, and won’t let anyone bring him down, as he sings “Don’t be trying to change me now / I’m loving who I am now”. While CLT’s flow is rather subdued and chill, his delivery drips with his almighty swagger. CLT self-produced the track, and while it may not be as pristine and clean as it could be, it’s a good improvement from his previous two tracks, ‘Talkin’ and ‘Indifferent’. He’s showing signs of artistic growth, and expanding his potential.
Michael Noah – ‘Among the Goddesses’
Michael Noah has finally dropped his debut album, Venus And Mars, and while the entire album is great, one of its standout tracks has to be ‘Among the Goddesses’.
Starting out with hollowed, distant percussion, and soft twangs of guitars and piano keys, Michael Noah’s whispery voice slowly flutters into the mix. As the percussion slowly inch closer, getting louder and stronger with every stroke, marching snares are introduced, giving the track more texture. At the halfway point, Michael layers his vocals, harmonising with himself, hitting a lot of high notes in the process, giving the track an angelic, choral vibe. Violins and electric guitars are introduced, before everything comes together to close the song out perfectly.
The Fleurist – ‘My Love, A Lifetime’
The Fleurist has consistently succeeded in injecting its music with the swooning, potent dose of romance which its name is a manifestation of. Making it their mission to bloom colour into the world, the duo likens their songs to the myriad emotions that flowers can offer.
‘My Love, A Lifetime’ is wholly reminiscent of ‘90s romantic pop, brimming with a resplendence spotlighted by shimmering harmonies, shuffling hi-hats and synth snare beats. With its bold lyrical declarations, this track highlights the simplicity and purity of love which has often been drowned out in the excessive noise of today’s accelerated culture. Their limpid voices poignantly soar above that clamour, delivering a scintillating experience that reminds us of what it means to return to the essence of feeling, which is to love and be loved.
Shahrizal – ‘You Are The Only One’
Shahrizal has taken his time to arrive at this pinnacle of love. His entire discography has been building up to this sonic declaration of endless devotion and enarmourment.
In ‘You Are The Only One’, Shahrizal attests to the poignant message in the title with his poetics from start to finish. While remaining faithful to his R&B roots, he showcases his versatility in the genre as he spits verses that insistently deliver his love letter in comparison to his gentle croons. Layered with distorted vocals, the hooks make up the cosmic centre of the track, as he repeatedly sings over tinkling synth keys and snappy 808s, “I can do no better than you / Cos you are the only one, the only one for me”.
Zaymm – ‘Gold’
Zaymm effectively transforms his beats into a canvas of potential. His sixth release to date, ‘Gold’, is testament to that.
In ‘Gold’, he evokes a defining symbolism in hip-hop with his signature deadpan delivery, effortlessly conveying what is truly gold, to him. In an impressive display of his dexterity and ingenuity, he spellbindingly stretches and compresses time, turning pauses into punchline moments and stuffing bars with hard-hitting messages. Notably devoid of a hook, he exemplifies the spirit of a cult hero and his position as a masterful and compelling storyteller in this track, packing every bar with an undeniable, persuasive force.