The excitement surrounding SG50 has come and gone. What comes next – what will the Singapore narrative be for our youth, our tomorrow, our identity?
Urban regret in Singapore, is a concept explored by local musicians, Lost Weekend in their debut album. As I was in a different time zone, we communicated online on one of society’s favourite mediums, with one condition in place – for them to respond solely using songs. Lost Weekend’s unique blend of pop and classical rock wasn’t produced in a vacuum, its rhetoric was influenced by all those before them such as international legends Nick Cave, Led Zeppelin and Blur; but what comes after, is an interpretation that is theirs alone.
Economically, we are sound, but surely, that can’t be all there is if we want to develop Singapore as a Renaissance City. In a candid interview with Time, PM Lee stated the single-biggest challenge we face in the long term, is developing a sense of national identity. More could definitely be done for the local music scene, perhaps in setting a mandatory quota for radio channels to play local music. It is heartening to know, though, that there is some Radio Gaga already going on, for example, on Lush 99.5. But if goodwill Money, Money, Money is channelled into pianos alone, will there be any left for local creators or mid-sized music venues, to promote their debut albums or create them in a professional sound studio?
Mornings catalogues Lost Weekend’s more memorable moments in Singapore. From kopitiam beers, to prancing around in shopping carts in the dead of the night, to fleeting memories, nostalgia, unfulfilled expectations; and time, that waits for no one. Behind Rachel’s soulful voice, is the concept of being alienated in a city that has morphed tremendously over the past 50 years. It is certainly “music for small lives in a big city”.
The beauty in their album, is an honest reflection of the young millenial in the context of Singapore’s urbanity. “I don’t want to live, and I don’t want to die” croons Rachel in Red is the Colour, which exemplifies the constant violent dichotomy and struggle to come to terms with self and society, in search of purpose and meaning.
Local musicians have come so far. It’s time to Run to The Hills, dig deeper to locate our Singapore psyche and keep on keeping on. Majulah Singapura.