YUNA, Monoloque, DJ Fuzz, Pitahati and Pacai. In one category. That’s quite a legit mix when you’re pitting pop talents against each other for an FFM crown in music. There’s pop, there’s rock, there’s hip-hop…we savour the best theme songs of 2014 in all the mainstream movies nominated.
“Formula Popular” by Syed Ahmad Faizal (for Dollah Superstar)
Sound-To-Sight Verdict: Maybe not as memorable as it could be as it was not the most prominently placed in the film. Performed by Awie and RJ, the song wavers undecided between a silly pastiche which doesn’t take itself too seriously, and a narcissistic attempt by Dr. Syed Ahmad Faizal (a.k.a. ‘Pacai’ himself) at a pop theme which isn’t quite pop enough.
“Sahabat” by Pitahati (for Terbaik Dari Langit)
Sound-To-Sight Verdict: This three-minute slice of acoustic goodness on the other hand, was prominent in just the right scene in Nik Amir‘s road movie. Even though rumour goes that the band hates the song–being true to their art-rock instincts and so laughing it off as a “pop” exercise–”Sahabat” was nevertheless heard and sung all year long by young fans of the film.
While it was a mild tragedy that Malay radio did not blast this lagu tembok folk singalong as much as it could, it showed that Pitahati not only understood scoring (the band also scored TDL) but also could write a decent pop tune with a strong melody, seemingly with not much fuss or effort.
“Sampai Bila” by DJ Fuzz (for Amir & Loqman Pergi ke Laut)
Sound-To-Sight Verdict: Delivered raw by local rapper W.A.R.I.S. in his inimitable style, with a requisite slo-mo chorus by Mark Adam, producer DJ Fuzz dressed up his rough-riding theme as street as he could. Offering a banging track to kick off the credits, Fuzz served up a “Gangster’s Paradise” for the urban Malay heartland at the same time.
On a strictly car stereo-to-screen impact ratio, “Sampai Bila” has most of the urban hit single bases covered, and if it wins the track would truly be off the charts. And if it doesn’t, well, least Fuzz will have come out of it with reputation intact–as a Nusantara hip-hop curator extraordinaire; a Malay rap equivalent of Dr. Dre.
“Lautan” by Yuna (for Lagenda Budak Setan 3)
Sound-To-Sight Verdict: Firstly does it really help Yuna‘s cause that “Lautan”–a perfectly decent world-beating song about young romance and a graceful return to singing in Malay for the singer/songwriter–is hired as the flagship theme to drive such a cheesy flick’s emotional selling point. Uh, got that? We barely did ourselves, so don’t worry about it.
The main thing with this classy ballad being product-placed in LBS 3 is that, at this point in mainstream Malay music and movie circles, both probably deserve each other. A perfect match made in Makcik Mass heaven, we guess. And it would come as no surprise when it wins, in which case, swipe right.
“Kami Histeria” by Monoloque (for Kami Histeria)
Sound-To-Sight Verdict: Performed by Loque, Loko and Dax from Monoloque, many hearing this for the first time would pick up on the Butterfingers sound, only without their estranged singer Emmett. Instead, Red Films had hot young actresses and a superb langsuir singing these Kami Histeria songs. The self-titled main theme featured Syafinaz Selamat in full soprano flight–to evoke the film’s eerie Cik Lang–with lead Diana Danielle (interestingly snubbed in all other acting categories) and Milla from the cast kicking out the jam with surprising verve. The tune itself is a display of Loque’s endless musical scope, and an ever-growing knack for fresh Malay pop.
Daily Seni’s Pick
Pop-rock composer Loque’s “Kami Histeria” is one worthy of the win; yet Yuna and DJ Fuzz’s songs still have the populist edge. Would be a truly satisfying butt-hurt if Pitahati’s only recognisable pop song took this category.