Sick Beats – April 2022 Spring Collection

Written by: Ashley Chean (22-O1), Benedict Keng (22-U3), Cheng Zhi Shan (22-U1), Chloe Tan (22-I6), Darius Chen (22-E4), Eris Kek (22-I6), Rebecca Yap (22-O1), Sophia Chiang (22-O1)

Designed by: Cheng Zhi Shan (22-U1), Darius Chen (22-E4), Eris Kek (22-I6), Rebecca Yap (22-O1), Sophia Chiang (22-O1)


Imagine standing in the bustling streets of Japan, with the cherry blossom trees all around you. They’ve just bloomed, and the light pinks are dripping off their petals as they spiral in the air. Your hand brushes a fallen petal, as you walk down the streets, smelling the sweetness of the flowers in the light passing breeze, watching them fall as you hum to your favourite tunes. What would you be listening to? 

Sick Beats brings you a curated selection of our favourite songs to bring the perfect vibes of spring to your very own room, so that you too can replicate the feeling of spring in Singapore! We bring to you our memories of spring, captured in a couple of tunes to bring you the joy and brightness of spring. 

Beginning with an entrancing violin melody that transports you to a magical world of flowers and light, Flowering (개화) heads the debut single album of the South Korean band Lucy. The lyrics liken winter to a person who has drifted far from the singer, accompanied by the hopes that this person will bring warmth to them again in the form of spring. The bright melody contrasts with the bittersweet lyrics that mention how even if the singer remains alone, they maintain the hope that “it is going to bloom blue”, perhaps hinting that spring will eventually arrive no matter if the season is happy or sad. Despite the tone of the lyrics, the radiant melody with unique instrumentation and soaring vocals is bound to put a spring in your step. I am often left imagining myself running across fields of flowers to the melody of this song. If you close your eyes for just a moment, this song will take you on a journey, allowing you to forget about the present, even if only momentarily.

Coming from famous South Korean indie band Busker Busker, Cherry Blossom Ending (​​벚꽃 엔딩) has an uplifting and infectious melody which captures the feelings of falling cherry blossoms with various acoustic sounds. In the lyrics, the singer reminisces about a time when he was walking hand in hand with his lover on a street filled with cherry blossoms. Just like how spring is the season of love, especially with the flowers and sweet smells all around, this song definitely brings about heart-fluttering memories of being with your family and friends, while enjoying time together during springtime, as it has done for me. With the many stresses of school life, if you are missing the feeling of spending time together with your loved ones, this song is for you. 

Starting off with a fast-paced and light-hearted melody and combined with the singer’s own angelic voice, ‘If I could ride a bike’ could be easily misunderstood as a simple love song tinged with the flowery feel of spring. However, as the song progresses, the tone of the song shifts from one that is rather pleasant to one burdened with solemnity. ‘If I could ride a bike’ talks about the singer’s hope to explore the many beauties of love together with her partner, but such a dream is disrupted by the sad acknowledgement that she “is never able to do [those] things, so [she’s] just left imagining”. While it is not the happiest song, ‘If I could ride a bike’ manages to twist both a simple tune and lyrics into something that is full of emotions and imagery, and strongly deserves a listen. 

“Just know I’m right here hoping that you’ll come in with the rain.” Taylor Swift’s fourth track off her Fearless Platinum Edition will tug at your heartstrings and take you back to a lost feeling of bittersweet separation and longing. This song, paired with a nostalgic tune and artistic composition, will remind you of those fond memories . Come in with the rain speaks of Taylor Swift’s hope that an estranged lover will return without her entreatment, just like how the rain comes in when she leaves her “window open”. Pictures of the rain and cloudy skies will transport you to a spring unlike any other, and will walk you down a journey of both desperation and hope. However, just as spring passes, pain too, will pass. This song will definitely take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride, and leave you wanting for more.

The cool, offbeat tones of subside transport the listener to a park bench while they’re sipping a cup of coffee, admiring the view. Subside is from Eloise’s album called This Thing Called Living. The deep blue-green flavours of this song express the longing she feels for someone, reminding one of a calm, peaceful lake, with her harmonies weaving a blanket of comfort around the listener. This song is one of my favourites, with its low-key lofi beats in the background making it perfect for an afternoon of relaxation and wonderment.

Cornelia Street is a song from Taylor Swift’s seventh album, Lover. This song encompasses the bittersweet hues of spring, as she reminisces about her past memories, both the good and the bad. The feeling of dancing on the streets is captured in the upbeat tones of this song, which parallels  the falling leaves of spring. The brightness of this piece brings about personal memories with a tinge of nostalgia to any listener, as it has done for me.

This piece (not song, as classical snobs might correct) is the second instalment of Seycara Orchestra’s series of contemporary orchestral pieces based on the four elements – water, wind, earth and fire. The composer, Yuang Chen, along with the rest of his orchestra manage to perform a piece that reminds one of a spring breeze. The use of the flute helps to characterise the piece as lively and swift, leaping cheekily in passages all while being spurred on by the accompaniment of the strings and harp. Although this might be subjective, I personally like to imagine this piece as a bird soaring over a busy cityscape, watching buildings and people pass in a blur. The lack of lyrics makes this piece an excellent listen while studying and the pace of the song is sure to keep you high-spirited as well. If you ever need a piece to lift your spirits, this piece would surely serve as the wind beneath your wings.

Glitter is the final song from Tyler, the Creator’s 4th Studio album – Flower Boy. The first half of the instrumental consists of  pretty synth leads reminiscent of a relaxing walk in the park, complementing Tyler’s emotional and raw ruminations on falling in love – ‘everytime you come around I feel like glitter’. The track is then divided by a short 5-second electric guitar riff before the beat changes into something much slower-paced and dejected, again corresponding to Tyler’s insecurity- ‘This is one sided, yeah, I can’t lie’. This gives rise to the 2nd chorus anchoring the song together with the repetition of ‘scumf***flowerboy’ and ‘how ya feel’, encapsulating the duality of Tyler as a person as well as the stark contrast between his feelings. Overall, the song is a bittersweet joyride that captures the wistful melancholy of spring.

Released as part of the album Abbey Road, Here Comes The Sun is the most well-known song from The Beatles, with close to 800 million listens on Spotify. Written by George Harrison, the lines “It’s been a long, cold lonely winter” and “Here comes the sun” reflect his relief at the arrival of spring, after having a difficult year. (He had been arrested for marijuana possession and had his tonsils removed.) This song is one of my comfort songs as it serves as a reminder that tough times will pass and “it’s all right”. Should you need constant reassurance that everything will be alright, ‘Here Comes The Sun’ is here for you.

With that, we have come to the end of spring! We hope that you have enjoyed exploring some of our springtime tunes with us and that these songs help you to take some stress off from school life. Hopefully, the different songs were able to invoke your favourite memories of springtime, whether it be cheerful or emotional. We look forward to you guys joining us next month for more feel-good vibes! 

¿?sick beats?¿ November 2021 Edition

Written by: Ashley Koh (21-A1), Lian Zhiqi (21-I1) and Tricia Loh (21-U1)

Designed by: Ashley Lay (21-O1)

Colourful costumes, plots clichély familiar or refreshingly new, dashing male leads and gorgeous heroines: these are some of the things that we think of when we mention “Bollywood”. After all, these are staples of Hollywood movies, from which Bollywood draws much of its influence and inspirations. Even the genre’s namesake is a combination of “Bombay” (or the old-timey name for Mumbai), and “Hollywood”! 

However, Bollywood and Hollywood differ in one big area: the music. Most Hollywood films, save musicals, usually don’t pay much attention to the music. Admittedly, soundtracks from famous Hollywood movies can become huge hits, but they are rarely the stars of the movies themselves. 

In Bollywood, this is completely not the case. Bombastic group numbers, tentatively gentle romantic ballads and many other types can be seen in every Bollywood movie. Without fail and regardless of the genre of movie, actors can be found bursting into song. They may even break into impromptu yet expertly choreographed dances. The biggest Bollywood stars of today are also excellent singers. 

However, Bollywood hasn’t always been as developed as the industry currently is. So how did it all begin? 

Ever since Hindi cinema started in 1931, its films have heavily incorporated various musical genres. They are a characteristic element of Indian films which makes it timelessly popular and enjoyable for its generations of audience. 

India is a culturally diverse country with different groups of people speaking in different tongues and dialects. Bollywood music breaks through these language barriers by effectively intriguing their audience with lively and vibrant beats combined with dances performed by an energetic mob of people. Thus, by connecting citizens from all over the country and even attracting audiences outside, Bollywood music has gained a great reputation for itself. 

Shreya Goshal is one of the most famous singers in Bollywood, with her net worth being a whopping US $25 million! Her most famous songs include Jaadu Hain Nasha Hai and Saans among many other hits. Jaadu Hain Nasha Hai was composed for the 2003 movie Jism and adopts a soft and dreamy tone with the acoustics being emphasised the greatest. The song communicates a girl’s increasing vulnerability toward her love interest, slowly opening up to him as she becomes more connected with him. Jaadu Hain Nasha Hai literally translates to ‘it’s magic’. How romantic!

Goshal charges 20 lakh rupees per song, which converts to about SG $36,500! Making it big in Bollywood is definitely challenging, but it undoubtedly earns the artists good money. Having their name known by over 1 billion of India’s citizens as well as striking it rich while doing what they love (singing) is probably the major pulling factor drawing hoards of young, aspiring musicians into the Bollywood scene. 

Many foreign artists have even taken inspiration from Bollywood music for their own pieces! Did you know that the famous violin riff from “Toxic” by Britney Spears was taken from a hugely popular Bollywood song? Another example is “Paint the Town” by KPOP group LOONA which is a Bollywood-inspired dance and hip hop track with strong fast-paced percussion and sampled exotic vocals.

But this international love for Bollywood doesn’t just stop at pop music sampling. The Bollywood craze has become global, with at least 9 different countries including Germany, Japan, Peru and even Russia going gaga over these colourful and vibrant Indian films with their music telling tales of adventure and love. The films and songs also serve as a reminder of home for many Indians living abroad and out of their native country. The music can even be a stepping stone for Indian children living abroad to get in touch with a part of their culture, their mother tongues. 

After examining all the factors and the reasons behind Bollywood’s rise to dominance in the global film industry, it is clear that it’s become a force to reckon with. With the Indian film industry continuing to improve and catch up to Hollywood in terms of quality and prominence, it is also clear that Bollywood is here to stay. 

So before you go, why not get in on the craze? Sick Beats recommends a few Bollywood songs to get you started: 

  1. Chaiyya Chaiyya: Sung by Academy Award winning artist Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi, this evergreen and massively popular classic from 1998 captivated the hearts of millions of Indians with its hypnotically catchy melody and mesmerising vocals from both Singh and Awasthi. If you want to get into Bollywood music, look no further.
  1. Nazm Nazm: Another romantic yet modern song that captures the sweetness of love, this will have you swaying along to the gentle voice of the singer Arko. 
  1. Dil Dhadakne Do: On the more lighthearted and foot-tapping side, there is this song which shares its name with the film it’s composed for. Fun, catchy and sung by international superstar Priyanka Chopra Jonas, this one will get your head bopping. 
  1. Kabhi Khushi Khabie Gham: The last entry of these recommendations is definitely not the least. Sung by the greatest playback singer in the world Lata Mangeshkar, this song’s distinctive and emotive melody accompanied by Lata’s iconic vocals tell a beautiful and heart-wrenching story that truly encompasses the meaning of the song’s title: “in happiness and sadness”

Now that you know a little bit about the tour de force named Bollywood, we hope you will dive into the colourful costumes, plots clichély familiar or refreshingly new, dashing male leads and gorgeous heroines and most importantly, the must-listen soundtracks of any Bollywood film. 

Bibliography

Maurya, S. (2021, June 14). Top 10 singers in India – 2021. Business Connect | Best Business magazine In India. Retrieved November 14, 2021, from https://businessconnectindia.in/top-10-singers-in-india/. 

Nicolaou, E. (2021, November 2). What makes Bollywood movies so special. Oprah Daily. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/a33396048/what-is-bollywood/. 

Satija, G. (2017, October 15). 9 countries where Bollywood is Badshah. IndiaTimes. Retrieved November 14, 2021, from https://www.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/9-countries-where-bollywood-is-badshah-331482.html. 

Thomas, C. (2020, November 20). Why Bollywood is so popular across the world. Viral Panda. Retrieved November 14, 2021, from https://viralpanda.net/why-bollywood-is-so-popular-across-the-world/. 

Vaidyanathan, R. (2012, June 7). The rise and rise of new bollywood. BBC News. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-18327901. 

Verma, R., & Kheraj, A. (2018, August 20). Best bollywood songs: 11 incredible Bollywood songs in Hindi Movies. Time Out London. Retrieved November 14, 2021, from https://www.timeout.com/london/film/best-bollywood-songs.

¿?sick beats?¿ September 2021 Edition

Designed by: Liew Yi Xuan (21-E1)

$ilkmoney – My Potna Dem 

$ilkmoney definitely rose to fame with his hit “My Potna Dem” that was used for a trend where people used sign language to mime out his lyrics. The chorus contains alphabets and numerals, like “DBSB 3272” and “GLOBEABB” to a consistent drum beat. Its popularity can be attributed to the challenge of the trend since hand-eye coordination is necessary to do the actions. 

Arizona Zervas – Roxanne

The release of this undoubtedly catchy single in 2019 became an instant Tiktok anthem, generating 2.3 million videos with it to date. It is a pretty typical pop song that can latch on to listeners’ minds. The song itself sounds personal with specific details like how this girl named Roxanne behaves and feels, as well as the singer’s relationship with Roxanne. A fun song that is easy to dance to, this became ingrained in people’s minds and will probably be remembered for quite some time.

Masked Wolf – Astronaut in the Ocean 

A hip-hop song with a catchy beat that people have danced to on YouTube soon became an internet meme especially on TikTok. While the song was gaining popularity, some creators have stepped out to say that the song was corny and “felt like what a 10 year old boy at the gym would listen to”. Soon after, the chorus was edited to become distorted which resulted in the song becoming a viral meme. There are obviously two teams here, with those vibing hard with its energetic, twangy notes at the start and those cringing at it. No matter what, the song still is successful for the previously unknown Australian rapper for topping charts especially in Eastern Europe.

Little Simz – Venom 

The latest TikTok trend where this sound was used as a form of woman empowerment definitely made this song rise up the charts. The lyrics lament about how in a modern patriarchal society, men do not celebrate women’s successes. This message resided with many women who then took this opportunity to use the sound and empower themselves. 

Dance Monkey- Tones and I

Dance Monkey was released on 10 May 2019 and topped music charts in numerous countries. The tune itself was award-laden and even peaked at fourth in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The genre of music was electropop, not only was the tune catchy, so was the lyrics. The song featured in a variety of Tiktok videos, but dance choreographies allowed the song to blow up on Tiktok. Recently, in one Korean Music Show, hip-hop singer Jessi sung a cover of the song and it blew up immediately, proving the song’s sustained popularity.

Peaches- Justin Bieber ft Daniel Caesar, Giveon

Of course! Another hit from Justin Bieber. A recent song released on 19 March 2021, topped charts all over the world. The lyrics aimed to pay tribute to his precious wife, Hailey and wishes for their long lasting romance. He even collaborated with Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Usher for a remix, with each verse changed. The music itself was indeed a lyrical masterpiece that took the tiktok platform by storm.

Someone You Loved- Lewis Capaldi

This single has held top charts in seven non-consecutive weeks and even gained popularity in the US from London. It held pole position in the Billboard Hot 100 in late October and November 2019. It talks about the heart wrenching breakup of his that captured the attention of audiences in UK and US. This heavy emotional content was what some people subscribed to. However, this song had no link with tiktok until remix was made, sounding similar to Hawaii beach music, allowing people to choreograph dance moves filled with heartbroken emotions, while becoming the staple dance of married couples.

Skechers- DripReport Prod. OUHBOY

Possibly classified as a meme song, this song invited many variations of dance and even relatable skits. The track was released in January 2020, and has gained over 1 billion streams on tiktok. It allowed the Skechers brand to advertise their shoes, and gave many tiktokers a platform to express their creativity with their own take on the music.

References:

  1. Australian rapper MASKED Wolf’s Depression SONG “Astronaut in the Ocean” is our Latest tiktok meme HIT, SOMEHOW. Stereogum. (2021, February 17). https://www.stereogum.com/2116514/australian-rapper-masked-wolfs-depression-song-astronaut-in-the-ocean-is-our-latest-tiktok-meme-hit-somehow/columns/status-aint-hood/
  2. Perry, C. (2021, July 20). The 21 BEST Tik tok songs of all time. Teen Vogue. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/best-tik-tok-songs
  3. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/57EG9lWmdn7HHofXuQVsow?si=v_Dy0QmbQmGfNOTYZ3Pr7g&utm_source=copy-link&dl_branch=1

The Rise of ASMR

Designed by: Leanne Soh Li-En (21-E6)

A pretty lady moves her hands slowly and whispers into both your ears, perhaps simultaneously crumpling paper or clacking her nails on a keyboard. Although this scene may seem strange to some, many others are captivated by and find solace in this: a typical ASMR video. 

Started in 2010, ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and is defined as a feeling of well-being combined with a tingling sensation, as experienced by some people in response to a specific gentle stimulus, often a particular sound. The trend took off on YouTube in 2013 and there are currently a whopping 13 million videos providing people with ASMR-eliciting sounds to date. What is ASMR, actually? Why do people listen to these sounds anyway?  How did the ASMR community expand so fast? 

ASMR audio is more than just gentle tapping in rhythm, contrary to what most who do not watch ASMR videos believe. These stimulating sounds can also include mouth sounds such as licking and lip smacking as well as the crumpling of plastic wraps. Besides that, there are roleplaying videos, where the creator acts out a scenario with the listener, such as in boyfriend roleplay. In short, the range of videos triggering these tingles is vast and there is a variety of content to cater to different people’s needs. 

So how does ASMR actually work? Well, ASMR usually invokes tingles in listeners that start at the scalp area. Gradually, as they continue listening, the tingling sensations may spread to the rest of the body, including their neck, spine and other sensitive areas. These help create an overall calming and happy feeling that many listeners enjoy. 

However, many find these videos to be cringe-inducing, strange or even disgusting. A case in point is the trigger of mouth sounds whereby creators, or ‘ASMRtists’ as they have coined themselves, can be seen licking microphones that mimic human ears. It is understandable that such an act can be seen as inappropriate and sometimes they truly are. It must be noted though, that such videos are exceptions, and the majority of ASMR videos are made with the simple motive of bringing relaxation to the bunch of people who seek comfort in hearing such sounds. 

So why is it still so popular with so many, to the point of being needed? The biggest reason is because ASMR can help people to calm down and relax. Notable features of ASMR videos include their quietness as well as the intimacy that they create, which makes so many people enjoy listening to them to unwind and destress after a long day. Some ASMR videos are actually specifically made to help people sleep, revealing their effectiveness in helping people relieve the stresses and anxiety built up throughout the day. 

The intimacy created by the ASMRtists also leads to another reason that people listen to them: companionship. Specifically, romantic companionship. Many ASMRtists do “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” roleplays in their ASMR videos, and these often include taking care of the listener while they’re sick, or helping to calm them down before a stressful event. These provide a sense of intimacy and can even simulate an event in a real relationship, helping to  ease the loneliness that many listeners may feel in their own lives. After all, who doesn’t like receiving personal attention and being carefully taken care of? 

So, it makes sense that some people enjoy listening to ASMR videos. But these videos, as helpful as they may be to some, seem catered to a very specific portion of online users and would therefore probably be very niche under normal circumstances. So why are they exploding in popularity now? 

One of the reasons is skyrocketing stress levels. Across the globe, students and workers are facing (among other things) astronomical amounts of stress. Their fast-paced lives don’t really allow them to indulge in their hobbies or take frequent vacations for some good ol’ TLC, so these overworked, over-stressed people have begun turning to other sources for relaxation and calming of frazzled nerves. One of these sources is ASMR. In addition to the emotional and psychological benefits we’ve examined above, ASMR can also provide physical comfort through the tingling sensations that it triggers, which can help listeners to relax. It’s also a good solution to nightly insomnia caused by stress, aiding many to get their much needed sleep instead of tossing and turning the entire night. 

Another reason is the global community it’s been able to foster. Before ASMR came onto the scene, many online users were already discovering the tingling sensations that they felt upon coming into contact with different triggers. Confusion and curiosity naturally led them to scour the ever-developing and advancing internet for answers, through which they discovered people who felt similar sensations, leading to the rise of ASMR and the formation of the community behind it. On Reddit, 130,000 ASMR enthusiasts are part of the r/asmr reddit community, showing just how strong and connected these people have become thanks to ASMR. 

So the next time you stumble upon an ASMR video and feel those tingling sensations start to creep across your body, know that there is a good reason for that, and that there are many around the world who share those sensations. If you’re feeling adventurous and have got time on your hands, maybe pick up a microphone, and start whispering into it. Who knows, you might become the next biggest ASMRtist. 

References

  1. Lopez, G. (2015, July 15). ASMR, explained: Why millions of people are watching YouTube videos of someone whispering. Vox. https://www.vox.com/2015/7/15/8965393/asmr-video-youtube-autonomous-sensory-meridian-response.
  2. ASMR: Defintion, the Science, & examples. Sleep.org. (2021, April 8). https://www.sleep.org/what-is-asmr/.

¿?sick beats?¿ August 2021 Edition

Designed by: Lay Kai En, Ashley (21-O1)

When most of us hear “xinyao”, we think of songs that our parents or even our grandparents sing at karaoke. These songs may seem distant, maybe even foreign. But in the August edition of Sick Beats, the team has decided to recommend some nostalgic 歌曲s to you. 

细水长流 – Liang Wern Fook

This song describes the friendships we make during our growing up years, until saying goodbye to each other when we decide to pursue different paths in life. If fate permits, we may meet each other again soon. It was especially relevant in our grandparents/parents era, where without technology, it was difficult to keep in contact with each other, hence relationships were more precious and unforgettable. Listening to this song, you will realise the importance of true friends.

我们这一班  – 颜黎明

Have you guys heard of the 成语 :小时了了, 大未必佳? It came from this song, which describes a reality that has passed us. However, the meaning behind this song is an ideal school culture that every kid wishes to have experienced. Many of you will probably relate to this, relating this to early years of primary school. Though the original singer has passed on, this song will not fade from our memory anytime soon. 

小幸运 – Hebe Tien

First loves, missed opportunities, unrequited love and even platonic friendships. A short song carries all these themes. This song was part of the soundtrack of the movie, 我的少女时代, a comedy-drama in the setting of a highschool. Despite its sweet melody, the lyrics carry the heavy weight of regret, reminding us that one’s first love may not always come true, but stays in the heart forever. 

邂逅 – Eric Moo (巫启贤) & Huang Huizhen

The title of the song, which means 事先没有相约而遇见, directly translates to encounter/meeting by chance. This was one of the OG songs that made 新遥 popular, and was sung by 18 year old, 巫启贤, in the 1980s. The song achieved great heights in the local music industry then, and is the favourite of many Gen Ys now. Maybe you will enjoy this tune too!

童话- Michael Wong (光良)

Released in January of 2005, this song swept the whole of Asia a decade ago. Then, it was foreigners’ favourite song to sing at KTVs. The song depicts a love story mirroring a fairy tale. It presents the sacrifice that the protagonist puts in just to make his significant other happy. Nowadays, to find such a precious gem in a guy, is really worth it to keep leh. This song probably portrayed many ideals of love in our parents’ generation.

Kopi O- Eric Moo

Kopi O is a Cantonese song released in the early 1980s by Eric Moo. It was part of a SBC drama from the heartlander series “The Coffee Shop?”,an eponymous coffee shop, this song was one of the most memorable opening theme songs, with its chorus of “Kopi-O! Kopi-O!”

Step by step- Liang wern fook

This was one of Liang’s most popular songs. Among a series of catchy songs that capture life travails and joy, it was one of the favourite songs at the Sing50 mega concert

想着你的感觉-liang wern fook

Released in 1991, this song is a pop song that can be categorized as xinyao.The original composer was Liang Wern Fook, but was made famous because of Eric Moo The song talks about the emotions and longing felt after breakup and is still played on radio stations today.

等你等到我心痛-singer Jacky cheung and written by 黎沸挥

This song has a catchy tune and is fast paced, talking about how a person waits for his lover’s feelings to change but to no avail. The song describes a sense of loss, employing the Chinese phrase 心痛 as a metaphor for physical and mental pain to make the lyrics more appealing.

All these songs are oldies that we probably come across once in a while, but they were actually incredibly popular in our parents and/or grandparents generations. Do you remember listening to any of them, if not, no harm listening to these songs now! These songs are incredibly important as records about Singaporean history and the local music evolution.

¿?sick beats?¿ Special Edition: K-pop fans

Designed by: Lay Kai En, Ashley (21-O1)

Ah yes, the “kpop stan.” Just entering “why are kpop stans so…” into Google search will show a multitude of words used to autocomplete the search: “cringe”, “annoying”, “crazy”. The last word is especially interesting, as it really emphasises the intensity of the love that some Korean Pop (K-pop) fans have towards the genre, whether it be the music produced or more commonly, the idols singing and dancing to their songs. 

Many of us either are, or have friends who are, fans of K-pop and it’s easy to see why: the increasing relatability of idols and the lyrics of the music they produce, highly stylised and choreographed dance moves that make the music videos and stage performances movie-level productions, and just the sheer eye-candiness of our favourite idols (or “biases”, as lovingly coined by social media). However, there are some fans who undoubtedly take their love for these idols too far, and are thus termed by the internet as “stans”. 

But what is a “stan”? There are two theories as to the origin of the word being used to describe obsessive and unhealthy fan behaviour. Firstly, Eminem’s 2001 song featuring Dido, “Stan”, which traces the journey that the titular Eminem fan takes through several letters that Eminem raps about. His obsession with the rapper goes so far that (spoiler alert!), he locks his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk of his car, and drives the both of them off a cliff. Another theory to how the word came about is much simpler: simply the combination of the words “stalker” and “fan”. From these two theories about the origin of the word, we can already see how intense the love these fans have towards their celebrity loves and idols is. 

K-pop has especially gotten flak for the toxicity of their stans whereby they would go to lengths just to prove that their favourite band was better than everyone else’s. A particular fandom comes to mind – ARMYs, the community known notoriously for tearing down anyone who does not place BTS on a pedestal like they do. A fan of another band could make a simple remark on how BTS’ new song did not excite them and they would be doxxed in one second with death threats hurled at them. Such behaviour feels eerily similar to those of a cult, wherein every member needs to have the exact same opinion in order to fit in and will be dealt with severely if they express a different view. Whenever a new single is released, there will be an endless scroll of praise for their boys with no constructively critical remark in sight. 

To ensure that their favourite bands are seen as the kings or queens of K-pop, fans are also avid critics of other groups who may be more, equally or even less successful than their idols, giving rise to the phenomenon known as “fanwars”. Fans of different groups take it out on social media usually to unleash utterly demeaning remarks about other groups who may have recently gained traction, just so the spotlight is not shone away from their idols. The classic example of EXO fans and BTS fans illustrate this very well – every time either group makes a comeback, the other group’s fans will immediately criticise the members’ dancing and singing skills and even their appearances. They always make sure to end off their ranting episodes with a comparison with their boys. Tweets like “exo’s choreo is not as hard as bts yet they still manage to screw it up. Pack it up”, though cringe-inducing, are not uncommon. 

Even worse, some Kpop fans have gotten so obsessive that they start intruding the homes of or chasing the vehicles that idols use. These fans are typically termed as “sasaengs”, and their behaviours are usually unwarranted, sometimes getting heavily criticised by their fandom members or the Korean media. Instances of such unfortunate incidents include when WAYV, the China unit of K-pop boy group NCT, was filming one of the videos in their undisclosed schedule. Despite the freezing weather, sasaengs were spotted photographing the members at their filming location. They were later called out publicly by members on social media. 

Furthermore, such actions from these overzealous fans actually negatively impacts their idols’ psychological health. It is known that idols struggle very much when dealing with such fans. They develop mental conditions like paranoia and anxiety which affects their performances. However, most entertainment companies can only take this much legal action or encourage their idols to adopt public shaming methods. Being a “sasaeng” fan usually doesn’t end well. They face fines and jail terms, but what happens after that? Let us all give the idols the privacy they deserve! 

However, it would be too one-dimensional to say that all K-pop fans are bad, since there are also fans that stand up for their idols. For example, when Got7 was about to disband, AhGaSe, their fandom, were upset that their company JYP was not taking care of their members properly over the years. The last straw was the contractual situation of Got7 being mishandled. AhGaSes’ had enough of their idols getting mistreated or forgotten for company activities, thus they sent a truck in front of the company office with captions displayed demanding the company to treat the members better. While the #FairTreatment for Got7 was trending worldwide on Twitter, many fans supported their idols doing solo activities and being in charge of themselves. It can be seen that not all fans are toxic in nature and that there are fans out there that are genuinely concerned about their idols. 

In summary, the view that K-pop fans are purely toxic and even dangerous may be too one-sided and based on a few bad apples within the community. Even so, K-pop fans should remember to heed the boundaries set by the idols, their managing company and even normal social boundaries. Nonetheless, the love for K-pop is able to enrich lives and fuel people to support those that they love and idolise, as well as build a wholesome community. So go ahead, be a fan, and belt your heart out alongside your favourite idols! 

References

  1. A. (2020, June 26). Stop Celebrating Stan Culture. It’s Toxic. Junkee. https://junkee.com/stan-culture-toxic/259044
  2. Times, K. (2018, August 6). When K-pop superfans turn ugly – the dark side of the Korean pop culture phenomenon, where admiration turns. . . South China Morning Post. https://www.scmp.com/culture/music/article/2158408/when-k-pop-superfans-turn-ugly-dark-side-korean-pop-culture-phenomenon 
  3. Vanderstraaten, J. (2019, January 22). Are All BTS Fans Just Unstable, Toxic, Screaming Teenagers? RICE. https://www.ricemedia.co/culture-events-are-bts-fans-unstable-toxic-screaming-teenagers/ 

¿?sick beats?¿ LBTL 5

Designed by: Lay Kai En, Ashley (21-O1)

Even Tears Withered – TUYU

  1. My future is nothing but dark
  2. I don’t care anymore
  1. Dreams, how do I find them?
  2. Please tell me, I thought I was being good
  3. I had perfect attendance at school, I worked hard at club activities too
  4. My test scores weren’t too bad either
  5. But the blindfold is too tight, it won’t come off
  1. look down on me with your frantic attitude
  2. It’s annoying
  3. It’s so bright how you’re chasing after something
  4. I’ll just rot away like this at the very bottom of society
  5. My vague life will just pass away
  6. my tears have withered away
  1. had lots of dreams when I was little
  2. I wanted to become a patissier
  3. A sports player didn’t seem bad either
  4. Remember the long past
  5. They’re all just “if I were to choose”
  6. I didn’t do anything special for them
  7. Because they’re “dreams”
  1. I’d lived a life without any hardships
  2. So I just believed without any doubts
  1. Dreams, how can I talk about them?
  2. Please tell me, I thought I was being good
  3. “Compared Child” I listen to it but there’s no point
  4. She’s more successful, even while being “inferior”
  5. The blindfold is too tight, it won’t come off
  1. Don’t look down on me with your earnestness
  2. annoying
  3. I’m so jealous of how you talk with passion
  4. I’ll just rot away like this at the very bottom of society
  5. I’ll jump in, dumbfounded
  6. Even my tears have withered away
  1. I was praised a lot when I was little
  2. They all expected a lot from my future
  3. I got New Years money and presents
  4. I wish that could go on forever
  5. But the numbers of them so obviously go down
  6. And then, it’s normal to not get anything at all
  7. It’s all like a dream
  1. But still, I lived a life without any hardships
  2. So I believed, without any doubts
  1. My future is nothing but dark
  2. I don’t care anymore
  1. Dreams, how do I find them?
  2. Please tell me, I was being good, you know!?
  3. I became an “adult” without problems, I’ve done what I’ve been told to do
  4. My looks aren’t especially good
  5. I’ve lived a mediocre life
  1. Don’t look down on me with your frantic attitude
  2. It’s annoying
  3. I hate your happy-sounding voice
  4. I’ll just rot away like this at the very bottom of society
  5. My vague life will just pass away
  6. Even my tears have withered away
  1. They’ve withered away

Have you ever felt like you were not enough? Well, TUYU (this song’s artist) certainly has. Growing up, she would be rewarded with ‘presents’ whenever she met the expectations of others by keeping up her ‘perfect attendance at school, [working] hard at club activities’ and maintaining good ‘test scores’. Thus, she was misguided into believing that her self-worth hinged on what others valued – her performance in school. TUYU’s singular concern for her grades was a ‘blindfold [that was] too tight’ to be removed as it had been engraved in her since young. Thus, she only ever cared about maintaining her grades to please others. This proved to be a detriment to her as she grew older as she began to notice how she lacked any talent or passion for anything else, making her feel insecure and ‘mediocre’ in comparison to others. Although those around her were ‘inferior’ (when compared to her in terms of academics), they had something to ‘[chase] after’, be it their own interests or ideals, whereas she did not possess any. As an adult, one’s performance in school becomes irrelevant. This crippled TUYU as not only did she not have any dreams, but even if she did, she would be unable to achieve them as she felt utterly useless without her academics to prove her worth. Her unfaltering belief that she had a bright future awaiting her was completely shattered. Combined with the hopelessness she felt when left scrambling to find a goal to cling to, the messy combination of emptiness, insecurity, and loss that ensued suffocated her. She was trapped, unable to reopen the doors to her future that were slammed shut. TUYU is convinced that her life is worthless, describing it as something ‘vague’, lacking anything memorable and could ‘just pass away’ like it was insignificant. Thus, she sounds defeated when she submits to her fate of simply ‘[rotting] away like this at the very bottom of society’. Even as she waited and clung onto hope for so long that her initial sorrow had faded away, as seen in line 55, there was no light at the end of the tunnel, for she was only met with the fact that her ‘future is nothing but dark’.

Stupid for you – Waterparks

  1. Hey, tell me what you want me to say
  2. You know I’m stupid for you
  3. Hey, can you come and come out and play
  4. You know I’m stupid for you
  5. I’m colour coding my moods
  6. You’re yellow, I’m natural blue
  7. Let’s get together and be green like my insides
  8. At least I’ll match your eyes
  9. Jealous and hypnotized
  10. Let’s match our faces and be equally in love
  11. Hey, tell me what you want me to say
  12. You know I’m stupid for you
  13. Hey, can you come and come out and play
  14. You know I’m stupid for you
  15. Let’s trash our whole afternoon
  16. Reciting recycled news
  17. Until we meld and go back to your hotel room
  18. I’ll be your new favourite tune
  19. I’ll be your black cloud by june
  20. But only when you miss the rain like I miss you
  21. Just double dare me
  22. And I promise now that I’ll stay
  23. It’s not like you’re married but I still got carried away
  24. Hey, tell me what you want me to say
  25. You know I’m stupid for you
  26. Hey, can you come and come out and play
  27. You know I’m stupid for you
  28. You’re playin’ ring round my head
  29. I’ll wear you like a halo
  30. You’re a symphony, I’m just a sour note
  31. I’ll take what I can get
  32. The best is hard to grip when everybody wants you
  33. And everybody wants you
  34. You’re playin’ ring round my head
  35. I’ll wear you like a halo
  36. You’re a symphony, I’m just a sour note
  37. I’ll take what I can get
  38. The best is hard to grip when everybody wants you
  39. Hey, tell me that you want me to stay
  40. You know I’m stupid for you
  41. Hey, can you come and come out and play
  42. You know I’m stupid for you
  43. You’re playin’ ring round my head
  44. I’ll wear you like a halo
  45. You’re a symphony, I’m just a sour note
  46. I’ll take what I can get
  47. The best is hard to grip when everybody wants you
  48. And everybody wants you
  49. And everybody wants you
  50. And everybody wants you
  51. And everybody wants you
  52. And everybody wants you

In general, this song presents a person who yearns to be together with his distant lover who does not reciprocate his love. He dwells on his imperfections, and the fact that they are complete opposites. This message is most strongly surfaced in the title “I’m stupid for you”, with “stupid” showing how much the person was unable to match up to his lover, and emphasised by its repetition throughout the song. This idea is also seen in the contrast between the atmosphere and the connotations which surround the lyric “I” and the lyric “you” – the former is always surrounded by self-degrading ideas on how the person is always lacking, while the latter is seen as a figure of perfection worthy of admiration. 

While reading the song lyrics, various patterns also convey how much the person felt like he did not deserve his lover. The first pattern is the use of colour imagery in the phrases “you’re yellow, I’m natural blue”, “let’s get together and be green like my insides” and “I’ll be your black cloud by June” as the person “colour codes [his] moods”. The shift from “yellow” to “blue”, and the colours “green” and “black” convey an intensification in the negative connotation should the person get together with his lover, with the former symbolising positivity and hope, and the latter symbolising  sadness, disgust and the eventual end of their relationship. The person also takes ownership of the burden he’s bringing into the relationship, as seen in the lyrics “natural[ly] blue” and (green like) “my insides”, therefore showing the fact that he’s the source of failure in the relationship. Moreover, the addition of the detail “by June” in being a black cloud in the relationship also shows the person’s lack of confidence and how directly he insults himself. 

Interestingly, the persona also compared himself with his lover via musical jargon in the phrase “you’re a symphony, I’m just a sour note”, with “just” showing how being a sour note is nothing compared to the contrast in the harmony and order brought about by his lover. Lastly, the person exaggerates the unattainable perfection in his lover through the lyrics “I’ll wear you like a halo”, with halos being circles of light above the angel’s head. The allusion to a holy image suggests the person’s massive lack in his attributes, while displaying his worship, frenzy, love and respect towards his lover. Overall, it’s so tellinghow the persona is head over heels and really “stupid for [his lover]”. 

情深往事 – 费玉清

Those Were the Days When My Heart Was – Fei Yu-Ching

  1. 其实我不想离开 只是有太多无奈

Actually I do not want to leave, but I have too many worries.

  1. 几时才问的明白 这结局谁在安排

When will I understand what caused such an ending?

  1. 忍不住再走回来 回头路一片沧海

I cannot help but to think back in time.

  1. 轻轻把窗门推开 往事又涌进胸怀

Slowly, the memories came flooding back.

  1. 曾经是个不到最后关头绝不走的人

(He was) once a person who never gave up on the journey

  1. 曾经是盏不到蜡炬成灰绝不熄的灯

(He was) once a candle flame that never extinguished until the wax completely melted

  1. 如今残梦已早晨 清醒有几人 还不是为了情深太难舍

Now, we have awoken from a dream we cannot remember, yet how many are actually aware? It’s all because of love that is too deep to let go of.

  1. 情不自禁 重新撬开心中这把锁

Can’t help but to try unlocking the lock to my heart.

  1. 想起当初决定离开的时候

Recalling the moment when the decision to leave was made,

  1. 也是心痛难忍 深情难舍 路难走

It was very heart-breaking and hard to give up the deep love.

  1. 情不自禁 多年以后还是走回来

Can’t help but to return after many years elsewhere

  1. 想起当初决定留下的时候

Recalling the moment when the decision to stay was made,

  1. 也是为了无怨 为了无悔 为了爱

For the sake of having no resentment, no regrets and for love.

  1. 曾经是个不到最后关头绝不走的人

(He was) once a person who never gave up on the journey

  1. 曾经是盏不到蜡炬成灰绝不熄的灯

(He was) once a candle flame that never extinguished until the wax completely melted

  1. 如今残梦已早晨 清醒有几人 还不是为了情深太难舍

Now, we have awoken from a dream we cannot remember, yet how many are actually aware? It’s all because of love that is too deep to let go of.

  1. 情不自禁 重新撬开心中这把锁

Can’t help but to try unlocking the lock to my heart.

  1. 想起当初决定离开的时候

Recalling the moment when the decision to leave was made,

  1. 也是心痛难忍 深情难舍 路难走

It was very heart-breaking and hard to give up the deep love.

  1. 情不自禁 多年以后还是走回来

Can’t help but to return after many years elsewhere

  1. 想起当初决定留下的时候

Recalling the moment when the decision to stay was made,

  1. 也是为了无怨 为了无悔 为了爱

For the sake of having no resentment, no regrets and for love.

  1. 忍不住再走回来 回头路一片沧海

I cannot help but to think back in time.

  1. 轻轻把窗门推开 往事又涌进胸怀

Slowly, the memories came flooding back.

  1. 轻轻把窗门推开 往事又涌进胸怀

Slowly, the memories came flooding back.

Released in 1992, this song is about love, relationship, and the subsequent unfortunate break up. It dictates the dilemma faced by the singer in his relationship (about ten years before the release of this song) – while he loves his partner very deeply, he is faced with an impossible circumstance that forced him to break up with his girlfriend. Now, he just cannot resist thinking back about her and whatever that they had enjoyed then, showing just how much he loves her both then and now.

Interestingly, this song was written in a Major (E flat major) key, even though the feelings that he was trying to convey was that of sadness and nostalgia (most composers do so using a minor key). This probably has something to do with what he is trying to convey as well – even though it was indeed very painful for him to break up with his girlfriend, every cloud has  a silver lining. This is especially so given that he had no other choice and that breaking up was the best possible decision that would cause the least harm to all the parties involved, as can be seen in the metaphors of the lyrics of lines 5 to 6.

Ten years later, he still thinks about her, willingly or otherwise. In a way, this proves a few points. Firstly, love is timeless, in the sense that even after so many years and after whatever has happened, it is still there. Secondly, it also goes to show that a myriad of factors are involved in enabling relationships to transition to marriages – love alone is simply not enough. Other external factors are at play as well.

Nonetheless, he still cannot  fully come to terms with the break-up. The second line in the first verse illustrates his sentiments of still being unable to  fully understand the reason behind the break up, even though subsequent lines indicate that he is probably aware that doing so is the best option,  given the situation. Such a depiction also shows that while love can be exciting and enjoyable, it can also be complicated.