Kopi Playlist: 2018’s Best Singaporean Music

2018 has been an amazing year for the Singapore music scene. We weigh in on the year’s most notable songs and albums — and anything else that strikes us as being interesting.

Theodora, ‘Talking Insane’

With its lush, sharp production and catchy hook, Talking Insane might be Singapore’s best shot at the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) infused pop that has characterised recent charts. Theodora – who has been rising to prominence in the local music scene – says that the song is about an empowered woman. “There’s so much more to me than being with you”, Theodora says — and that’s the message of the song.

Listen on Spotify 

Sezairi, ‘It’s You

Sezairi hasn’t rested on his laurels after winning the Singapore Idol in 2009. Constantly innovating and experimenting, we might have seen Sezairi’s most refined work in 2018. In an interview earlier last year, he said that he always gravitated towards R&B music from the 90’s and 2000’s. And it shows. It’s You is a feel-good love anthem that is reminiscent of a Boyz II Men ballad.

Listen on Spotify

Fariz Jabba, ‘Apa Sia’

Stand-up comedian Fukkah Fuzz, is well-known amongst Singaporeans – featuring in his own Netflix special and sold out performances. His younger brother, Fariz Jabba, tries to bring some of the same humour over to Apa Sia. A lot of the times, bilingual rap can sound forced. This simply isn’t the case here – Jabba’s flow is so slick that he switches languages seamlessly.

Listen on Spotify

LEW, ‘Frank Ocean Song’

Lewis Loh – better known by his stage name LEW- became known as the singing cop in the Singapore Police Force’s cover of One Singapore in 2015. Twnty-two now, LEW is pursuing a degree in songwriting at Berklee College of Music. In Frank Ocean Song, he yearns for and misses someone he holds dear. It’s vulnerable, honest and minimal in its production — much like Frank Ocean’s music.

Listen on Spotify

Fauxe, ‘Malam’

2018 might have been a busy year for Fauxe, producing numerous records for local artists. However, his most intriguing work yet, has to be his own album, Ikhlas – which is Malay for sincerity. Each track chops up and experiments with Malay, Tamil and Hokkien samples. The end result is a predominantly dance album, with a South-east Asian flavour.

Listen on Spotify

Jasmine Sokko, ‘Hurt’

Jasmine Sokko’s Hurt has a pretty simple premise – she wants to get back at a lover who has hurt her. The song’s production, which is handled by Jasmine herself, incorporates elements of tropical and deep house. Released in August 2018, the song has amassed over 2.4 million listens on spotify. Did we also mention that it has a pretty interesting music video to accompany it?

Listen on Spotify 

Brb., ‘Cool With It’

brb.– a band consisting of Clarence Liew , Auzaie Zie, and Marc Lian – released its first single, Cool With It in August 2018. Combining a stripped-down, sparse beat with bursts of rap and a catchy chorus – the song takes a page out of Ed Sheeran’s signature ‘acoustic rap’ style. Considering that this is only their first song, the future is bright for brb.

Listen on Spotify 

Yung Raja, ‘Mustafa’

There’s nothing more Singaporean-Indian than Mustafa Centre in Little India. Maybe that’s why Yung Raja choose to flex by name checking the 24 hour shopping centre. He raps in the chorus, “Call me Yung Mustafa, I got what you want, if you’re looking for that beef, I got it in my shopping cart”. The song comes on the heels of the success of Poori Gang – Yung Raja’s Tamil parody of Gucci Gang – which made waves on social media.

Listen on Spotify 

These songs represent a fraction of the great music that was released last year – and we are sure that we left out a lot.  Singaporean artists are really challenging perceptions of what home-grown music can do, and are starting to produce at an international-level. 

It’s time that we start to support them. 

Featured image from Bandit

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