Saturday, 17 May 2014

What's the song in your heart?

So the NDP organising committee has made the BRAVE decision NOT to commission a NDP theme song this year.

I applaud them. 

What makes a good NDP theme song? Or Singapore Song?

It shouldn't be contrived. If someone loves SG and wrote a song, GREAT!

If you commission a song... well, some are great. Some not so good. It's a little hit and miss.

If you wanna know what people really feel about SG, see how much better received some parodies of the annual theme songs are.

BUT, there are also good independent alternatives ("parodies"?) that are also loved, that also showed the writer's feelings for SG. And because it is not commissioned, there is perhaps a greater authenticity to the feeling. Not to imply that Dick Lee's "Home" lack authenticity. Dick Lee had tapped into the zeitgeist and found the shared emotions of Singaporeans in that song. Perhaps as a professional, he was able to.

I suspect it is also because he was more in tuned with mainstream Singapore - he has the experience of tapping into the mainstream consciousness. The other "professionally" written song by Electrico, was not so well remembered. I don't know why. Personally, I think it is a pretty good song. BUT... the words just does not resonate with me either. I do not know what was Electrico's brief on what the song should be. It is more upbeat. Well, more upbeat than "Home".

While "Home" is a great song, it is on the melancholy side. It is perhaps written to tug at the heartstrings of the Singapore diaspora. And maybe attempt to bring them home.

Imagine you are at some International gathering of students and every country's rep has to lead the group in some song (but not the national anthem) - so you hear "America the Beautiful", and "Waltzing Mathilda", and then when it is Singapore's turn, we sing "Home".

And we manage to make everyone cry.

For Singaporeans here in Singapore, what do we sing?

Has "Home" become an anthem for "Lost Singapore" - the Singapore of the Past that is no longer? The Singapore we once knew, but we know no longer? The Singapore that was home but is home no longer?

Maybe a real Singapore Song would be called "The Complain Song".

Maybe it should be in Singlish. Or include dialects, Mandarin, and Malay.

Maybe it should be easy to sing, like a campfire song ("Home" is not a good campfire song). A little upbeat.

Or maybe, Singaporeans aren't in the mood for cheery, feel-good, "the future is bright" kind of song. Maybe the mood of Singaporeans are less optimistic. Pessimistic even.

And the true Singapore Song should reflect the mood of Singaporeans.

But an NDP theme song would always be a little on the "rah-rah" side. And that just comes across as forced and contrived.

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