It’s a mellow Thursday over here at our office. If you like your sad, gloomy reveries to be karaoke-worthy, we have for you TokTi’s new album. We also have some spacey, prominent indie opus, & love songs for hours – whether it’s a declaration of defeat that you need or a profession of romance. Check it out!
SimetriSiti – Siti Nurhaliza
After her album, Fragmen in 2014, our Dato’ songstress aka TokTi is back with her 18th album SymmetriSiti. Overall, there’s never been an overhaul in style when it comes Siti Nurhaliza. She maintains her forte in big love ballads and churning out memorable chart hits.
Sandarkan Cinta acts as a powerful introduction to the album, presenting Siti’s comeback with a vengeance. Despite the underlying consistency of Siti’s style, you can sense the mixture of genres present in the entire record which goes to show that TokTi bravely tries to take risks while at the same time showcasing her incomparable vocals. A good example of this is her collaboration with Joe Flizzow in Penghiburku, embracing the hip hop side of the industry.
In fact, both of her collaborations in this album are great, whether it’s Joe Flizzow or Judika. They truly bring out the best in her in terms of her vocal range and expertise, and everything seems to fall in harmony for the most of it.
The inherent flaw to some of the songs in SimetriSiti is that the evergreen nature of Siti’s voice doesn’t seem to be able to catch up with some of the more modern sounds in this track (electronic backbeats, etc). Kau Takdirku has a weird, almost industrial synthesizer riff going on at the end, and Siti’s vocals – although beautiful – come off as an unwanted stranger to the stage.
The positives still shine bright in the album. In Aku Bukan Malaikat, there is also a very profound and beautiful lyrical honesty to the ballad, which hearkens back to her older days of unbridled love songs or large declarations of romance. If you are huge fans of hers, this entire album is packed to the brim with ballads that just screams ‘Siti Nurhaliza’.
Eventually, things take a slower, more mellow pace with the acoustic guitars of Manis Terindah which stands in contrast to the rest to the larger, more epic sounds of her other songs. Although the song eventually builds up to that cleanly produced orchestral motif, the underlying acoustic guitar that carries the track makes this the most charming song in the album.
Siti Nurhaliza remains a veteran in the industry and surely knows what she’s doing. Risk notwithstanding, it is apparent that she’s not out there to expand her fanbase or look for bigger demographics, but simply to stick to what she does best. From the overall mood of the record, it is clear that SimetriSiti is her gift to her most loyal fans, especially the SitiZoners. You can hear it in the lyrics. It almost feels like she’s singing to you.
Cerap – Box For Letters
The Cerap EP, like the name suggests, is an amazing record for stargazing. From the dreamy whimsical nature of Burung-burung to the soaring melody of Mimpi, the entire record makes for a great friend in those lonely nights.
At first the lyricism and the words sound simple and straightforward, but through the stadium rock riffs and the lilting vocals of Syahidil Aizat, the simplest of verses become poetry. Some of the arching soundscape of the songs belie the truly dark and acidic verses, such as in the track Kayu, which speaks of degradation and inevitable loss. (Kau laksana kayu/Anai nan menunggu/ Rapuh, reput).
The eponymous song Cerap is a good example of the atmospheric deliberation that emanates from their instrumentals. Cerap invites you into a space laboratory of wonder and galactic magnificence with the eerie voice that seems to manifest itself from the abyss, interspersed by audio effects and inaudible singing vocals that makes you think of floating across the Milky Way.
There is also a very praiseworthy planning brought to the composition of the album; from the first track Mimpi all the way to Bulan dan Bintang. All of these tracks transition seamlessly, except maybe for the odd vibe that comes off from Nilai Diri. There is a very tragic tale that intertwines the tracks too, which starts off with the most optimistic note in Mimpi to the tragic undertones of Bulan dan Bintang (Hati makin gusar/Hati masih resah).
What’s more is that despite the theme of space, astronomy and stargazing, Cerap EP is not an experimental project of New Wave proportions that can be a hindrance to listeners of other Malay indie rock. It is still first and foremost, an accessible album with wonderful lyrics and a melody that is not too unorthodox, sticking back to the formula of indie rock except with slightly more anthemic auras. However with this album, Box For Letters, prove themselves to be true artists. Even with their lyrics booklet that can be found in the album, the page for the song Cerap is filled with a background depicting a mountain of telescopes gazing into a dark empty night sky, in place of what would otherwise have been shallow words.
At worst, it could do with a little more polishing, but at best it is out of this world.
Buy their EP to get the full experience. Definitely one of the better albums of 2017, so far.
Check out their album on their Facebook page.
You – Rozella
This love song feels like Rozella baring her soul in the most succinct way imaginable. It’s stripped down and minimal, with any real change in the momentum occurring only in the chorus, embellished by that harp-like strings (we’re not sure what instrument that is, but it sounds like a teardrop) as she sings “You”. It truly stands in contrast to her previous single Dark Side, which was more upbeat and musically interesting. There is nothing inherently wrong with taking it slow and mellow, but her new single doesn’t really strike as anything more than a skeletal love ditty. In the best of days, You makes you feel the idealistically raw and simple feeling of being in love as it feels float-y and borderline psychedelic, but when it comes to the playing field, there’s really not much that stands out in this track.
Forever’s Not Our Thing – Lunadira
When we grow up with social media platforms like MySpace Music, you form a sense of affinity with those singer-songwriters that go the DIY route and release the music they make in their bedrooms themselves, with lyrics that carry the label of ‘honest’ and ‘charming’. The spirit of new artists with ukuleles and guitars is still very much alive with new social media like Twitter, but mostly it is filled with unoriginal artists with some modicum of talent but with nothing to really provide to the music *cough* me *cough*. Lunadira doesn’t exactly fit into that fold though. When you listen to her covers, you know she’s not just putting a mic to the guitar and expecting decency. In Forever’s Not Our Thing, the little things like the clip of a thunderstorm adds a subtle scenery to the mix. When Lunadira creates, she’s not just promising a song, she’s promising an emotion. Simply put, this song is heartbreaking and powerful in its lyrics because it’s not laced with over-the-top metaphors in its verses (Your little apartment is the only reason I drive to town). It is also a tearjerker to any innocent passerby with a recent heartbreak. Although her vocals might not shout “best new artist of the decade”, Lunadira has potential in the attention to production detail that she pays to her track. And really if you’re going through a horrible break up, we cannot recommend this song enough. Especially to those with lovers whom are just not meant to be in spite of emotional sincerity.
To keep updated on fresh local tracks of the week, whether it’s indie or mainstream, follow our playlist on Spotify below!
This article is rated by Iezahdiyana & Zim Ahmadi.