This week we have a lot of hip hop with R&B tracks for fans of the genre, including Flizzow, Aman Ra and LUNADIRA’s new track. Kayda’s debut single from her first official album is on this list too! We also have a great release from the supergroup indie rock band, Toko Kilat. This week’s edition of Singles Only has something for everyone. Follow us on Spotify for weekly updates on fresh local tracks.
Bicaramu – Amir Hasan
A mainstream chart filled with pop ballads, EDM & R&B influenced songs can get very derivative and tiring, so it’s good that people like Aizat Amdan and in this case, Amir Hasan ensure that the sweet cheesiness of acoustic pop still remains on the table. It’s cheese like this that keeps our earbuds warm and toasty. It’s not a mega-hit of any kind, but Amir Hasan’s lyricism reminds us of the days of artists like Bo Amir Iqram where it’s all about desperado busker boys trying to win the heart of another. The way the song starts off as a subtle acoustic (albeit with ultra-clean, mainstream sterile production) and breaks into strings is really beautiful too.
3.5 / 5
Bersamamu – Joe Flizzow Ft. Ila Damiaa
This anti-cyberbullying song is a middle-of-the-road bop, but a bop nonetheless. Flizzow’s verse is really the highlight of this whole track, accompanied by Ila Damiaa’s vocals on the hook. It has a strong message but really doesn’t do anything exciting with the productions and no single moment in this song is noteworthy. It’s another Alif Magic Potions & Joe Flizzow track – solid appeal, but overall uninteresting except with Flizzow’s flow.
3.7 / 5
Malu Tanya Sesat – Aman Ra
Aman Ra’s embrace of the triplet trap-cum-mumble flow is so enthralling! Malu Tanya Sesat is one of Aman Ra’s best single this year, a huge leap from his previous single Tabah at least. From the intriguing beats to the Aman Ra’s lyrical acrobatics, Malu Tanya Sesat is Aman Ra’s introspection of self-struggle. As he asks whether he should prioritize karya rap or angkat martabat budak flat, the answer to that is the song itself. Aman Ra is a master of both worlds.
4.2 / 5
Call On Me – Kayda & Sheila Majid
Kayda has been quiet the triple threat even before her music career officially started, having released her debut album only this year. She’s a dancer, rapper and a singer and her features have shown her capability as a pop artist is not something that should be brushed aside. Knowing one of our favourite producers, Emir Hermono, is responsible for most of the album’s production means we also know that she’s in good hands. That being said, Call On Me is a single is a bit inconsistent. Although the overall vibe of the song (reminiscent of early 2000s, late 90s R&B pop) is bright and catchy, the hook just falls a little short. The mother-daughter collaboration definitely adds an edge to the song though, with Sheila Majid’s vocals acting as a beautiful counterpoint towards Kayda’s already splendid voice.
3.9 / 5
BRADER-BRADER – RUFFNECK CLIQUE
Ruffneck Clique sends a salvo against snobbish upstarts like Aiman Tino in this aggressive rap banger. Every part of this collective shows a different side of the rough (or ruff) that makes this song continuously appealing at every bar. Down from the mafia-esque beats to the chorus, Ruffneck Clique keeps showing the gems that Malaysia’s underground hip hop scene has to offer.
4 / 5
Satu Suara – Toko Kilat
Releasing one song per year, Toko Kilat has a lot riding for them in terms of consistently releasing quality alternative rock tracks. Nahas and Pemacu Api both showcased the same core sound but with a different twist – bordering on Interpol but to the familiar chord structures of Malaysian indie music. Satu Suara maintains this consistent streak, without needing to be jam-packed. Satu Suara is a freaking anthem that does so much without being corny. A badass track, definitely.
4.2 / 5
Ready Ker – Ranjit Bois
Ipoh rap outfit, Ranjit Bois, brings fire to the rap scene through horn sections and swagger disses. There is a hint of rawness to the DIY productions, giving off freestyle vibes as opposed to a tight manufactured rap song. There are snags, where the flow leaves a lot for wanting, but overall the writing on this track showcases some artfully evocative fighting words (e.g. Nak cari bakat tapi lupa nak gilap, Masih ganjil walau jalan segenap).
3.9 / 5
$$$ – Fi7i & VIONA
In the music collective HOAXVISON – Fi7i is a deft proponent of Malay disco and future funk, which means this collaboration with VIONA, another eclectic artist always looking to fuse traditional sounds and modern electronica, a great match. Although in comparison to his other tracks, the vaporwave influences of Fi7i falls in the background a bit to make up for nostalgic disco-dancehall sounds, leaving room for VIONA’s lyricism to shine. The side of VIONA more prominent in $$$ is the boisterous cynic, seeping through a rage that’s gradually increasing; from composed composure in literature (Termangu, terganggu memikirkan bagaimana/Cara paling sopan untuk mengemis pada raja) to all-out colloquial bomb hit (Kau lupa cash aku, ha/Nanti Dia bagi cash, padan muka). Cool stuff.
4.5 / 5
Oh – Leaism
Oh is a great example that Leaism’s vocal chops still stands strong even in the absence of experimentation. Stylistically, Oh is very different from her previous single Love with a lot less fusion or sudden aesthetic turns, but it is no less gripping. The track has been around in Leaism’s repertoire for a long time (with a YouTube video of her performing the song all the way back in 2015) but this final studio version is made richer with beautiful string sections and soulful affectations. Truly a bare bones ballad, in the best way.
4.6 / 5
Stuck With You – LUNADIRA
She was an acoustic sweetheart who later gradually embraced the R&B sound she’s always been attached to. Her previous single Ocean Love was a run-of-the-middle generic pop, but all disappointment from that is shattered by Stuck With You. LUNADIRA really blooms in this track with a H.E.R. Lite mannerism and a vibe that is sensual & cool. Harith Jamil from Lostfellas also played a huge role in the track, production-wise – from the lilting soft electric guitar to the keys that form the core of the track, Stuck With You is a catchy song that proves mainstream R&B pop songs can still retain heat with the right tweaks.
4.5 / 5
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EDITORIAL: 25.5.2018 – LUNADIRA’s STUCK WITH YOU’s production was mistakenly attributed to Kuizz. The actual producer of the track is Harith Jamil from Lostfelals