Tracks of the Week (16/3/2017) (Alextbh, Sam Rui, As Our Throne, Black & Tomok, Nanasheme, Eyza Bahra, Mel Ramlan, A-Kid, Senna, Ismail Izzani)
We’re back with our Tracks of the Week and we have plenty of fresh local content to share with you guys. Some highs and some lows – across all genres and levels of popularity. Whether it’s some songs for your love mixtapes, some inspiring metalcore to start revolutions with, or just mediocre rap tracks to laugh to with your friends; we have it all!
1) You – Alextbh ft Sam Rui
The sultry, electro R&B crooner, Alextbh, is back with rising Singaporean singer, Sam Rui, in this romantic ode to love. Generally, Alex doesn’t swerve too far from that slow R&B sound that eventually breaks into hard-hitting EDM but there’s just something very old-school and calming about You. The vocal dynamic between Alextbh and Sam is pure – the chemistry grows more apparent in the harmonies as the almost industrial-like melody embellishes the song even further. The ra-ta-tat of the beat almost symbolizes that wonderful aching one feels when in love.
2) Rempuh – Black & Tomok
As a song in the J Revolusi OST, this song fits the characteristic of the film really well. It’s action-packed, invigorating and has a sheen of mass-appeal. Black and Tomok are your run-of-the-mill balladeers – a voice made for catchy pop songs. However, like the film itself, it’s vanilla for the most part, and cliche throughout.
Although a pleasant listen, it is slightly frustrating that this song, lyrically and musically, sounds a lot like a love song in an action film that is barely about love. A movie which showcases our Special Forces Unit should at least have more context-appropriate, redeeming anthem. Even if you assume all of the pronouns (the “mu’s”) in the song refers to Malaysia (Kerana sanggup aku/Dipeluru hanya kernamu/Ku rempuh), it still begs the question; why another love ballad?
Maybe we’re underestimating the effort put into this song? Whatever it is, rempuh je lah.
3) Santai – Nanasheme ft Eyza Bahra
In all honesty, this song isn’t bad at all. It’s got that ska backbeat that makes you bop, with lyrics inviting you to let go of all your worries and just lay back. Simple and effortlessly executed by Nanasheme; who gels well with the slightly harder verse from Eyza Bahra. The music video leaves a lot for wanting. Some of the shots seemed poorly planned. Why are the dancers filmed from that angle instead of looking at that camera as if they were robots entertaining an invincible audience instead o the actual viewers. Since so many more independently produced videos are better made, this becomes an important point to convey.
4) Aku Turun Stadium – Mel Ramlan
In these trying times, we all need a little motivation, and Mel Ramlan‘s Aku Turun Stadium is the sort of anthem Malaysia needs. Although the song itself is about football pride, people who aren’t sports fan would also have a reason to dance to the reggae backbeat and party to the chant-like chorus. More than just an empty chant song, Aku Turun Stadium perfectly summarizes the football scene in our country with some funny wisdom inserted in between. (Budak-budak zaman sekarang/Acah-acah nak jadi hooligan/Badan sado sikit mula nak cari gaduh).
5) Sabar – Ismail Izzani
Ismail Izzani is a pop prodigy to look out for. He proves that you don’t have to be annoyingly tacky and cheesy to be a good, up-and-coming, adolescent singer (re: Justin Bieber, Aiman Tino). The song itself is wonderfully composed, but Ismail Izzani carries the song really smoothly too – admonishing . The transition from Malay to English is really beautiful and the falsetto in the second half of the song melts the heart. Although definitely not an amazing masterpiece of an R&B song, this young lad is definitely someone to look out for in the future.
6) Anonymous – As Our Throne
From the ominous Stephen Hawking-esque intro declaring a dying Earth, to the melodic heavy riffs set to the words “You’ll never know, the meaning of surrender”, Anonymous is one of the more nuanced metalcore song out there in the local scene. It’s filled with dramatic dread and plays like a marching anthem at the end when the drums start changing its pace. A criticism of the establishment that is also a rallying call to fight. As Our Throne has hit a sweet spot in a society filled with skepticism, where the heroes are often those who are without identity (We are the faceless, the voiceless) – like the underground hacktivist group, Anonymous. The music video is just the cherry on top, and it’s produced and edited so wonderfully you would think you were watching Mr. Robot.
7) Ada Awek – A-Kid ft. Senna
A-Kid is a brilliant counter-argument to the notion that “everyone can rap” – because he surely can’t. Although light and humorous, after some time you start to realize that he probably does not put much effort in the lyrics at all. But then maybe the general opinion is that trap rap and comedic rap don’t have to be lyrically sophisticated, even though both of those notions are empirically untrue. Even Schoolboy Q has a better sense of flow in his trap rap songs, and there are funny Lil Dicky songs that are weaved with much more care and comedic timing than this. There’s this line in the song that goes, Ada awek yang makan celery/Ada awek yang bawak Camry; what a disappointment that line was. Thankfully Senna saves the day with slightly better bars and passable flow at the end.
As for A-Kid, I mean, there really isn’t any harm in learning how to rhyme and flow.