Every month, we will compile a list of new music that we think is worth adding to your playlist for our Popspoken Picks roundup. However, for the month of August, we decided to do things a little differently. We asked you, our readers and friends, to recommend your favourite new releases on our Instagram page at the start of the month. Near the end of the month, we invited all of you to vote for your favourite submissions, and one follower who voted for any of the the Top 3 tracks will be picked at random to win a pair of Sennheiser CX 400BT Earbuds worth SGD $299.
In total, we’ve received over 200 unique votes between the voting period of 23 to 27 August. Votes for the Top 3 tracks accounted for more than 50% of the total votes. Below are the Top 10 tracks we’ve received – the first three are the ones with the most votes, and the rest are placed in no particular order. The winner of the giveaway will be announced at the end.
The Bleak Society – ‘Liquor’
On a cold, rainy afternoon, like the ones we’ve been experiencing in Singapore lately, it’s always comforting to stay huddled up in bed drinking a piping hot mug of tea. It’s the kind of mood that pairs immaculately with ‘Liquor’, a slow-paced Lo-Fi track by Philippines-based group The Bleak Society.
Contrasting with the comforting familiarity that the instrumentals carry is the heavy subject matter of drowning one’s sorrows in the bitter burn of alcohol. The poignant declaration of, “So wasted because / Can’t handle the setbacks / Slowly losing myself / So liquored up / I cannot stop falling / Need to dig myself out”, is, unfortunately, something that most people have experienced, and ‘Liquor’ is a sombre reality-check that only self-awareness can provide.
Naina V – ‘Play Pause’
In her debut single, Naina V’s soulful vocals channels those that paved the way before her. The opening note manifests itself as an airy respite from the hustle of city life carried on the wings of a tonality that reminds one of Billie Eilish’s ‘Ocean Eyes’. The Dreampop-influenced guitars of ‘Play Pause’ is a fitting companion to the words of the track, which explores the “seemingly never ending prelude to sleep”, as shared by Naina.
Lyrics such as “Moments replay / With things I just can’t say / I’m a bit afraid / Need some more alpha waves / Too many thoughts, coming my way / Too many thoughts, all in my mind” depict the reality that, sometimes, the moments before one falls asleep is the time when the brain is busiest. ‘Play Pause’ is the embodiment of the looping thoughts that occur as we go to bed, and serves as a reminder that sometimes, it is okay to let your mind wander, just as it is okay to encourage your mind to rest.
Singapore-based Metalcore band Reserate joins forces with rapper JJDROY to deliver ‘CYNIC’, a track embodying the zeitgeist of early-2000s Nu Metal and Rap Rock decorated with sprinkles of synth-wave MIDIs. Vocalist Linus Sebastian’s soaring hook flanks JJDROY’s sharp delivery as they discuss leading a life that deviates from the mainstream, and coping with the interpersonal challenges that come with it.
The track’s corresponding music video depicts the journey of a musician getting signed to a label. The musician, played by JJDROY, goes through the process of signing away the rights to his music and therefore plunged into the treacherous world of the music business. The frustration culminates in JJDROY fighting back against the controlling management, finally burning his restrictive contract and, supposedly, setting himself free.
Drey Reda – ‘LIY Eyes’
Drey Reda’s ‘LIY Eyes’ is a groovy, upbeat instrumental number that showcases the production prowess of this classically trained musician. The lack of vocals is more than made up for by Drey’s synth and key arrangements that sets the melodies apart from the snare-reliant percussions.
Bringing to mind the likes of FKJ and Tom Misch, ‘LIY Eyes’ is a light track that one can hear playing at a café in the late afternoon. It’s pop sensibilities and feathery ad-libs is a perfect fit for your 4PM coffee runs. Consider this your newest addition to any chill playlist you’ve set aside for work or study.
Foxela, Modello, Virgo’s Child – ‘Wake Me’
‘Wake Me’ is, basically, 2 minutes and 16 seconds of pure ecstasy – it is yet another addition to young producer Foxela’s arsenal of Electronic music that have defined him since he started his music production journey as a child. Coming together with fellow producer Modello and the anonymous Virgo’s Child, the now 18-year-old Foxela offers an anthemic Electro-House number laden with cutting vocals and drops that are sure to get listeners in the groove.
The atmospheric soundscape of ‘Wake Up’ takes the listeners on a journey through a conceptual badlands where they are the heroes searching for Utopia. Opening with “I was waiting till the sky was falling / Held my breath till every single star had aligned”, it is possible for the track to find it’s place in a Sci-Fi movie, just as the protagonist is about to embark on a life-altering journey.
HYBRD – ‘Nights Like These’
The first track off HYBRD’s debut EP, THE HYLIFE, ‘Nights Like These’ is, according to the Hip-Hop outfit, a track that “showcases the vulnerability of being human” and shines a light on how one’s unhealthy thoughts can quickly spiral into something more sinister.
Coupled with the track is a music video that sees members Draco Raj and Q in a cinematic montage of melancholic self-reflection. Speaking about the song and the video, Draco said, “This is a very personal story from the both of us. Maybe this would give everyone a peak at the darkness and demons that occasionally run amok in our heads. Nevertheless, these feelings are never permanent. I hope everyone of you get to combat whatever demons you may be facing.”
lullaboy – ‘only in my dreams’
Indonesian-Singaporean multi-hyphenate lullaboy’s ‘only in my dreams’ is a heartstring-tugging track that pays tribute to the inspiring mother-figures in our lives. Oftentimes, even though we all have a lot to say to our mothers or those who filled the shoes of one, we get carried away by trivial arguments and small disagreements. The song comprises the things that lullaboy would like to say to his mother in the fictionalised event that it would be too late.
Opening with a quiet pair of lullaboy’s vocals and twinkling piano melodies, the regretful, heart-wrenching mood is set against lyrics such as “I could lose everything I have in this world / I could die but know that I’m still yours”. The instrumentals gradually progresses to feature the soft wails of violins and a backing orchestra, as lullaboy comes to terms with the fact that he will no longer have the chance to make amends should his mother leaves this world.
Dru Chen – ‘Our Story’
Running along the veins of Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia is ‘Our Story’, Dru Chen’s indie-pop opener to his EP of the same title. The clean-cut production contains groovy elements borrowed from the Disco, Alternative and Pop, but Dru’s impressive vocal range and falsetto takes centre-stage as he sings about, as he puts it, “When the people have gone and left the party, and you’re all alone once again; how do you cope with the emptiness?”
Dru shares that ‘Our Story’ is his way of dealing with the existential dread that sets in when one is alone in their heads, thinking about the past and mistakes that have been made. “It felt like therapy writing this song,” he said. ‘Our Story’ encourages listeners to have those tough conversations with themselves in a light-hearted way, and to always remember that they are not going through it alone.
Thaddeus Lin – ‘Grass Field’
‘Grass Field’ is a 4-minute Folk ballad from Singaporean artist, Thaddeus Lin. A tranquil number, the track calls for listeners to trek outside of modern societal pressures and to take part in a simpler form of solace. Simple plucked guitar melodies and Thaddeus’ soulful tenor range whisks listeners away to a place of comfort and relaxation.
Employing strong imagery of nature, lyrics such as “We’re far from the city / In the grass behind the walls / As the Sun lights up the trees / While the withered leaves are falling” presents a sonic getaway from the complicated, distraction-filled world. ‘Grass Field’ is a song ideal for those who desires a short break from it all.
Dominic Chin ft. Jerry Galeries – ‘My Love’
Dominic Chin and Jerry Galeries’ latest collaboration, ‘My Love’, flips the Mando-Pop sound on its head by incorporating the iconic audio motifs of retro Chinese music. Revisiting sounds that Mandarin-speaking Gen Y’ers are familiar with, Dominic Chin gives a bilingual take on the music that he grew up listening to. Dominic’s sincere vocals and Jerry’s timeless arrangement is a nostalgic sound that brings listeners to the heydays of A-mei, JJ Lin, and Stefanie Sun.
Speaking about ‘My Love’, Dominic had the following to say. “This is a classic love song that stems from the old-fashioned style of professing one’s love for another person, with lines speaking poetically and hopping between two romantic languages: English and Mandarin.”
Giveaway Winner: 嘉 (@karrrr2 on Instagram), Popspoken will contact you shortly via Instagram Direct Message with more details on prize collection.
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