Sing ah, Sing-ah-pore!

Posted on May 15, 2012

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Wow, I came across Nat Ho’s ambitious effort “Unleashed” today.

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So, it’s near-impossible for a Singaporean to comment on what is clearly a well-thought-out and well-planned creative project of a fellow Singaporean without all kinds of backlash, if the Youtube comments are anything to go by. Either you are an unsupportive asshole – c’mon! He put in effort! Kudos to effort, right? – or you take the mantle of the cynic who hates everything Singapore produces and is deeply embarrassed by the pitiful offerings of our fledgling artistes.

To the “effort-effort-effort” gang – take off your damned kid gloves. It’s not helping anyone. We’re not in freakin school where teachers (ahem) have to tone down “is an irritating twat who cannot shut up” to “enjoys interaction with peers but should learn to express him/herself appropriately”.

To the “oh my gaw- how amateurish!” bunch – yes, because it IS the dude’s first try. Let’s wait and see.

Here’s my take on the video and song.

The Good:

1. The boy has some serious face and bod, and is charming. He looks great on camera.

2. Bit o’ the ole Autotune, but vocals overall are enjoyable.

3. Good lyrics (for the genre of song).

4. I liked the structure of the song. It had a good buildup and catchy hooks.

5. The video was well-produced.

6. Ambitious first project means ambitious person means big things ahead.

The Bad:

1. As a pop song, I thought it was a tad too long. My interest waned after awhile.

2. The futuristic, cyberpop start to the vid was interesting, but some scenes could have been cut. While I enjoyed the production overall, the vid’s editors should have been more ruthless with the scissors. Some of the scientist-y scenes were really draggy and slowed down the pace of the video. One dance scene with Nat surrounded by Ninja-looking creatures was quite jarring to the overall aesthetic of the video.

The Ugly:

Just one point. It fucking sucks that a label would not have enough money/ trust in its stable to invest in a product-placement-free vid. I know he produced this himself, hence the need for the advertisers. But honestly, the F&N and HTC appearances were p.a.i.n.f.u.l. and did nothing for this laudable first effort. I am actually regretful that had to happen. Urgh.

On a separate note, Singaporean denizens have pondered before the lamentable state of our mainstream English music scene. It’s not a size thing – we had a good ole rock n roll thing going on in the 1960s and 70s. Here’s Naomi and the Boys doing a 1965 song “It’s All Over”. There was actually a respectable proliferation of bands doing their thing, and being listened to, bought and followed by locals. Check out this lovingly-kept music blog of 1960s Singaporean (and others) English music. What happened? Rising costs of living? Increasing insecurity complexes?

I’m well aware that there is a healthy, growing indie music scene – perhaps more on that in future – but it puzzles me that our English pop music scene is currently so barren. There is much love for the Chinese and Malay pop music scene, but English pop listeners tune their ears for overseas channels for their Bieber-fuelled needs. Sun Ho, a controversial public figure, actually did make it somewhat in US, collaborating with Wyclef Jean even, and has quite a following for her dance music, but I’ve yet to meet a Singaporean who has anything positive to say about her.

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Seriously, that song and vid’s not what I would call bad in any sense. Still, based on past backlash, I’m guessing that comments had been disabled for a reason. Oh well! Like so many other things except food, the music, art, politics, sports, education sectors in my country are, frankly, still in their infancy. Check back in 10 years’ time, and hopefully we will have more to talk about then.

Till then, I love you Singapore, you big noisy annoying baby. xoxoxoxoxo

Looks just like home foto@me

Posted in: Review, Say what?