The National Day Parade is around the corner and one thing people look forward to when it comes to National Day is the theme song! These songs are usually heartfelt and encompasses patriotism like no other. First introduced in 1984, these songs became extremely popular after Dick Lee’s Home became possibly one of the best songs every written. Some other theme songs weren’t as popular or well received, and we’ll take a look at that in this post! So attack your fun pack, and relive the good ol’ theme songs! Let’s go!
1984 & 1985 – Stand Up For Singapore
Every Singaporean will remember this song for being joyous and anthemic! This song is somehow played every year in NDP Celebrations among the different schools across Singapore. It evokes a sense of belonging and you feel proud to scream it at the Kallang Stadium!
1986 – Count On Me Singapore
There is something about this song that is so uplifting and inspirational. A definite favourite for true blue Singaporeans!
1987 – We Are Singapore
Yet another excellent song, it reminds everyone of their roots as well as fostering a spirit of togetherness among the citizens!
1998 – Home
Every Singaporean should know this song. It’s undoubtedly the best theme song ever written, and we have Dick Lee and Kit Chan to thank for that! You can calm wipe the tears and relax now.
1999 – Together
This song is about making a difference with the people we love for Singapore. It’s one of the more upbeat theme songs, but the video is a little confusing don’t you think?
2000 – Shine On Me
This isn’t one of the best theme songs and it was a pity that it was the millenium! All I take from this song is “Stars and Crescent Shine On Me”. Also, there is a different message in this song. It’s somehow saying that Singapore can make our dreams become a reality. Perhaps that made the song feel a little distant in our hearts. This was also the era that we saw more HDBs in videos. I just had to point that out for some reason.
2001 – Where I Belong
This was a vast improvement from Shine On Me, and it has a little bit of everything that makes a good theme song! Also it’s a little more refined and even has light guitar riffs!
2002 – We Will Get There
We Will Get There is a little edgier than the past few songs and is forward-looking, which was the exact direction Singapore was headed to. This to me was the song that perfectly captured the state Singapore was in, and it’s a pretty good song too!
2003 – A Place In My Heart
Haven’t heard of this song before? I don’t blame you. The song goes “You will always have a place in my heart” while he goes around Singapore drawing. It’s the fact that there is no mention of Singapore and how it’s melodically flat that makes this one unfortunately forgettable.
2004 – Home by Young Voices
Let’s face it, it is difficult to redo a classic and this attempt falls short in making an impact. At the same time, it’s rather pointless in getting children to sing it. This looked like a lazy attempt which is irrelevant to what a theme song is.
2005 – Reach Out For The Skies
Singapore Idol Taufik Batisah and Rui En recreates the NDP magic with this song, and it even has some choreography to go along! After a few years of ‘dead’ theme songs this brought back the joy of NDP in a fun and approachable manner. I’m not going to lie, this was a kick ass song to dance to back in secondary school.
2006 – My Island Home
Sang by upcoming singer Kaira Gong, My Island Home sounds like an updated version of Home, without comprimising the similar message of belonging.
2007 – Will You
This is like the Friday of NDP Theme songs. It is extremely tacky and while it challenges Singaporeans to make a difference and a change, the song does no justice to the otherwise bold message. 2007 was the first year that the NDP was held at the Floating Platform so this could’ve been an attempt to make it edgier. Will I? Hell no.
2008 – Shine for Singapore
Sang by our second Singapore Idol Hady Mirza, this song brought back the magic formula of theme songs. It is heartfelt and not to mention one of the songs that features really great vocals. One thing that can’t be forgiven is the ‘falling stars’. I mean, why?
2009 – What Do You See?
This was a rather successful attempt to make the NDP more ‘hip’ with local band Electrico performing the song. It takes on a personal message with imagery that is somehow down to earth and a little bit gloomy. At the end of the day, this song brought about a good direction in recognizing local talent.
2010 – Song for Singapore
This was a great NDP song because it is not over achieving and simple. The message is also similarly uplifting but at the same time it is also a little bit forgettable.
2011 – In A Heartbeat
For the upcoming National Day Parade, Sylvia Ratonel lends her voice for In A Heartbeat. First of all, I am thankful that there was no attempt to be hip this year. After the fun pack video showed up, I bet the whole of Singapore was worried. So that’s good. Secondly, using Sylvia is almost like a gem because her vocals are undeniable. Song-wise, some might argue that it is typical but I personally find it very suiting and refined. Is it forgetable? Perhaps. But one can’t discount the fact that songs like these made us love theme songs from the very beginning.
So what do you think of the theme songs of the past? What are your favourite NDP theme songs? Share it with us in the comments below!
Words: Sadali Mawi