Music Favourites: Stranger in the North (飘向北方)

Stranger of the North Renee.jpg

Amidst the rising popularity of Mandarin-pop songs in our school, many have been mesmerised by JJ Lin’s voice and Jay Chou’s raps. I, on the other hand, have been obsessed with Stranger in the North, a poignant song written and performed by a newcomer to the musical scene – Malaysian rapper and songwriter Namewee. He also collaborated with famous singer-songwriter Wang Lee-hom. This sensational duo has created a music video which garnered a strong support of 1.3 million views within a day of its release.

The lyrics were penned with the purpose of voicing up about the plight of migrant workers, particularly in the scene of Beijing. This song was also speculated as a story about Namewee, being a Malaysian who went on to studied abroad in Taiwan. To me, the music tells the story of migrant workers in general, and is in fact very relatable to us. Someday in the future we might also have to leave the comfort of living in Singapore and travel abroad for extended periods of time to further our studies or for other reasons. It would be difficult to adapt and many of us will certainly miss home. However, this song serves as a timely reminder that we have to stay strong. Furthermore, it forces us to reflect on how we have been treating our migrant workers in Singapore.

One characteristic of Stranger in the North that I find very admirable is the fact that it manages to be both harsh and uplifting at the same time. The skilfully chosen choice of words directly highlights the harsh conditions that many workers face having to leave home for someplace alien as a means of survival. However, at the same time, the tune has a hip-hop rhythm to it that manages to bring my spirits up. Furthermore, its strong beats and the singers’ strong vocals amplify the emotions channelled into it. This creates a song that has the power to successfully emanate positive energy and remind many migrant workers that they are not alone. It is one of the many ways this masterpiece in the music industry stands out among the rest of the top hits.

I was never a fan of mandarin pop songs, but this song has found its way into my heart and left a deep impression on me ever since I first heard it over the radio. While there are still many of us who are not fans of mandarin-pop, I hope you will still give it a go. It is a song that will definitely tug on your heartstrings and I guarantee you that you will not regret listening to it!



Image from Google Images

Renee Ong (3 Unity)

Music Favourites: Borders

Borders Article

[verse one]

All these people here

Staring and looking at me

Shaking their heads eyes

Down strong on me

What’s wrong with me?

Can you tell me now?

What’s wrong with me?

Can you tell me, now?

There’s a high chance you had never seen these lyrics let alone know who composed and sang them, that comes as no surprise as this song is neither an album song nor a single. “Borders”, composed and written by Amber, is a synth English hip hop song. The song is “a raw and real story about reality”, according to Amber, with no glamorous concepts or attempts to make it a hit.

She delivers her hopeful message that if you continuously pursue your goals, not giving in to limitations and hardships, someday you will achieve them. This song is something extremely personal and deep for Amber as she have been struggling with her tomboy image since her debut days and very few people have been supportive of her choices through the years. However, Amber never stopped or throw in the towel during her years in a girl group, although she had cleared up the misconception about her sexuality, she continuously emphasise that “love knows no limits” and that she was able to empathise with those facing prejudice as she was once mistaken and placed in their shoes.

This song was written and uploaded on SMTOWN’s Youtube channel for Amber to share her story and experiences through the beautiful lyrics, the amazing thing about this song is that it can be analysed and interpreted differently as all of us have our individual perspectives of her choice of vocabulary. It is definitely a song that everyone should check out. Personally, I enjoy this song very much as I interpret this as the challenges girls face as they go through puberty. The fear of the unknown and those who might judge and how we should stay strong to grow and get through this phase.

[verse two]

Oh fear not ‘cause

I know I’m in his hands

Though I can’t see

I know there’s a plan

So thick the fog but

I know I can trust

The feelings that

I feel when the roads rough


I gotta be tough with my eyes down

Eyes down, eyes down

Strong in my stance with my eyes down

Eyes down, eyes down

Ang Yen Chi

2 Unity

Going Against The Current


Have you heard of the American pop-rock band Against The Current? They are a music group consisting of 22-year-old lead vocalist Chrissy Costanza, 22-year-old lead guitarist Daniel Gow, 21-year-old drummer Will Ferri and two rhythm guitarists, Jordan Eckes and Roo Buxton. They are based in Poughkeepsie, New York, and have been active since 2011.

Currently, they are on their Europe tour for their first studio album, In Our Bones. Last year on September 8, Against The Current, also abbreviated as ATC, performed at *SCAPE. To my disappointment, I was unable to go as it was a school day and rather close to our school’s End-of-Year examination season. Their next performance will be on April 7 in Cleveland, Ohio.

My favourite ATC songs are Running With The Wild Things and Chasing Ghosts, both from the album In Our Bones. In Running With The Wild Things, Chrissy sings about how the government’s systems manipulate us into thinking that we can only be defined by a grade on a test paper or something just as trivial, when we are much more than that. The lyrics give a fresh perspective on the issue, which is a far cry from the opinions that we have been spoon-fed since day one. Chasing Ghosts is a haunting piece about lost love and false hopes, and Chrissy’s low and regret-choked voice only adds to the heartbreaking tone of the song.

I really love ATC for Chrissy’s brilliant vocals and their beautiful lyrics and it’s a shame that they are relatively unknown to many people. On your way home from school today, perhaps you can stream some of their songs on Spotify or iTunes – they won’t disappoint!




Wei Ting (3 Purity)

The “Old” Hits

The music scene has come so far and transcended the path of time to be what it is today. What we mostly appreciate in this day and age would be the pop songs that get us moving along or tapping our fingers to its heart-thumping beats. Sadly, this has also meant that the classics of the 1900s and 2000s are slowly fading away into the past and many of us have lost our appreciation of these old hits. Many think the old hits are black and white, thus they assume it is boring, but I beg to differ – it might surprise you to know that the oldies actually have a beautiful musical quality unique to their genre, so here are some suggestions that I hope you will try listening to, and hopefully, you will change your perception towards old hits!

The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel


Simon and Garfunkel is a duet comprising members Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. They made their debut of The Sounds of Silence in 1964. It is a soft lilting acoustic song with a very folk-like style. The meaning of this song is definitely not to be overlooked as it was written back in the 60s when many problems in society such as treason were starting to surface. This song is very much like a poem to me with its strong use of metaphors and its carefully selected word choices that encompasses so much meaning, embedded within the lyrics. Overall, it is a very strong reflection of society and the prevalent problems at that point in time. Even though Simon and Garfunkel had not made other major breakthroughs after this, they have already created a masterpiece that is timeless, and even until today, thought-provoking to many. Even until now, it so accurately describes what our society is becoming and how it is really time for us to speak up, even though this silence continues to overpower us.

There are many versions of this song, but I would strongly advise you to just listen to the vocals with just the guitar as the accompaniment, instead of the electrified version which might have overdone the music a little. After all, a simplistic melody with lesser melodic decorations can sometimes bring out a better effect. Although it may sound depressing due to the sad meaning behind the song and tune, I would still strongly recommend you to expose yourself to this music style as it will be sure to trigger you to reflect upon its meaning.

500 Miles by Bobby Bare


500 Miles is another one of the oldest hits dating back to the 1960s, the very first and original version written and performed by Bobby Bare. It was also featured in the 2013 movie Inside Llewyn Davis. It is a country-style music that was popular in the European region back then and this style of music brings about a very strong sense of longing and nostalgia as it depicts a traveler who is very far away from home. In some sense, this music is also very relatable to the journeys we all have to go through and how far we will venture out of home like the traveler in some point in our lives to face challenges on our own. This country music is particularly touching to me as it has this note of optimism that keeps me going whenever I feel tired. Furthermore, it is a song shared by many as it has a simple tune and a repetitive structure, thus it is also considered a folk song, except that compared to The Sounds of Silence, it holds a cheerier note in its tune. However, both tunes are equally meaningful in their own way as they depict different voices of the people at certain points in history, and up until now represent the voices of every person.

Seasons in the Sun by Westlife


Westlife was the first boy band I listened to ever since I was as young as 6 and I personally feel that it is their debut album, Westlife, that comprises a collection of their best songs. Sadly, they disbanded in 2012 but the songs they have made together never disappeared from my playlist. Among these songs, Seasons in the Sun is my favourite which I have been listening to for 10 years now, and it sure does not get old. Seasons in the Sun speaks very personally to me as it traces a childhood long gone by and the amazing times I had together with my friends and family. The deeper significance in lyrics are further enhanced and brought out with the emotion from the vocals and the tune. Therefore, what truly sets Westlife apart from most boy bands are their vocals and the chemistry the group of five shared. Their harmonisation produces this clean and clear tune that soars with emotion thus their tunes never disappoint. It never fails to soothe and calm me when I am feeling despaired and there is always a note of hope in their music and their voice that causes me to replay the music over and over again. Apart from Seasons in the Sun, another song that is really very representative of their amazing vocals would be their version of You Raise Me Up which will definitely trigger your tears to flow right out!

So put on your earphones and start listening to these amazing tunes now!


Other background information from Google


Google Images

Renee (3U)

Kim Jong Dae

Kim Jongdae is an unheard name in the music industry. Who is Kim Jongdae? More commonly known as Chen, main vocalist of EXO, he is a soulful singer with a powerful voice that shatters hearts and bring tears through simple lyrics. Initially, he was recognised for his variety skills and charming looks but was later discovered to be a singer with immense talent.

Today, EXO’s Chen wishes the public to view him as Kim Jongdae, a singer, not an idol. Below are some of my favourite songs by him:


  1. “Breath 呼吸” ft. Zhang Li Yin. This song is definitely a very significant piece in Chen’s journey to becoming Kim Jongdae. It was his first official ballad without his members and without auto-tuning.


  1. “Everytime에브리타임 ” ft. Punch. This song is not only Jongdae’s first ever million seller single, it is also the official sound track for the drama, Descendants of the Sun. This song officially marked his spot in the music industry worldwide.


  1. “Beautiful Accident 美好的意外” ft. Suho. This song is Jongdae’s first ever Chinese OST for the movie Beautiful Accident, recorded with fellow EXO member, Suho. There is little significance in his career, but an amazing song that have to be shared.

The above songs are just some of Kim Jongdae’s best songs, try listening to other tracks featuring only him alone such as “Years” or with his sub-unit EXO-CBX “For You” and you will forget about other singers in no time! Also, do check out “I’m Not Okay”, Jongdae’s first official single under the name of “Kim Jongdae”, which will be released at 12 a.m. KST (11p.m. Singapore time) on the 15th of February. We have much to anticipate from this rising singer who has found his identity in music.


Ang Yen Chi (2U)


Music Favourites – Car Radio

Twenty One Pilots has been creating incredible one of a kind music that explain their ever growing popularity. With the gargantuan following rolling in, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, the duo, realise the potential they have to change lives and make an impact on society. With this in mind, they constructed an album in 2013 called “Vessel”. Tyler removes his mask in this album and shows that, he too, is human. He touches on issues like loneliness, anxiety and depression which are common problems teens in today’s society face. He wants to convey a message to people who are struggling, that being vulnerable is okay and that everything will be okay in the end. When the going gets tough, we keep our masks on – the purpose of this album is to allow us to see past the masks.

The song “Car Radio” is featured in this album. With simple lyrics, the song actually intensifies loneliness and overthinking. The persona in the song has a mind running at a high speed and mostly thinks about the negative aspects of his life. His car radio is his only distraction from all the buzz in his life, listening to music supposedly gives his mind a break to prevent him from going berserk. He then realises that the unstoppable silence will be his downfall because he cannot stop perusing everything. He finds dissatisfaction in the ugly truths of his life and lacks dignity when he learns that he will only succeed with the price of hurting others and himself. Unable to hide behind music anymore, he feels that he should kill himself so that he no longer has to deal with the stress in his life. He is suddenly enlightened that the reason people kill themselves is that they do not understand the purpose of the fight in life and are fearful of facing the unknown future. This sudden enlightenment scares him and makes him want to stop over analysing situations.

The persona realises how to end the pain, which is to have faith that he will be able to succeed and that life will get better, or to kill himself. The obvious option is to think through his problems and not allow them to overwhelm himself. He ends the song with what he started off with which is that he “ponder[s] of something great” and then he continues to “sit in silence” again. But instead of continuing with the lyrics, the song gets hyped up, suggesting that he stopped over thinking. This is the part of the song where you feel most alive, telling us that he found peace with his over analytical thoughts and allowed himself to live a more enjoyable life.

Tyler once said, “I don’t want to be listened to, I want to be heard”. Allow your mask to fall and hear the things of importance being said.


Giselle Cho



Music Favourites


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, It’s Goose House!

“What is Goose House?” you may be wondering. You may be curious as to why the top part of the picture has Japanese words too. Well fret not, for your questions will be answered.

Goose House is a Japanese music group. They were once named “PlayYou.House” but have changed it to what is now today! Goose House has gone through several changes in their members since they were formed in 2011, but currently they comprise of 7 members: Shuhei, Kei, Migiwa, Manami, Sayaka, Watanabe and Johnny. They play covers of songs of many different genres, from J-pop to E-pop, Anime soundtracks to soulful ballads and the music they produce come from anywhere and everywhere. One of the most popular songs they have created would have to be 光るなら(Hikaru Nara), the opening for the anime Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso). Your Lie in April is a widely known and well received anime full of heart and passion. Thus, I find that the song is extremely suitable. Goose House has a YouTube channel with both their original and cover songs: (Goose House) and I totally recommend you to check it out!

I love Goose House for their originality and talent. All of them can play various instruments and sing well, especially Kei. When you put all their skills together, you get a bomb of amazement and wonder! How their voices and instruments match so excellently will blow your mind and leave your heart constantly feeling like it’s going to jump out of your chest. One of my all-time favourites would be their cover for the song “Sun” by 星野 源 (Hoshino Gen). The liveliness and joy in the video will never fail to cheer me up when I’m tired or sad. It sneaks into the crevices of my heart and lights it up like fireflies in the dark.

Overall, I’m in awe at the way music can transcend languages. Even though I don’t understand Japanese fully, I can still appreciate the melodies and harmonies I listen to, especially from Goose House. I enjoy listening to their tunes as I can feel their heart and soul in every note and lyric. I suggest that you listen to them as well because you’ll never know if you like it until you try it. Maybe it’ll be the definition of ‘good music’ to you. And good music will forever make me happy, so I hope it will make you happy too?

Jaime Ng



Music Favourites: One OK Rock


ONE OK ROCK is a Japanese band that originated in Tokyo but has been a big hit in Japan and even America, consisting of members Takahiro Moriuchi, Toru Yamashita, Ryota Kohama, and Tomoya Kanki.

Featuring album 5xxxV.

The seventh full-length album that was released on February 11

The band started recording the album 5xxxV in January 2014 in Los Angeles, US. The album was recorded during their premiere tour in Los Angeles and New York, being their first album recorded abroad, primarily in the US. The album features 13 songs, including  “Mighty Long Fall” that was the theme song of the 2014 sequel film Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, and  “Heartache” which was used for the third film, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. The album was then rereleased as a full english album by the name of 5xxxV : Deluxe after the band signed a contract with warner brothers records. The album debuted #20 on Billboards heartseeker albums. This is a song from album 5xxxV: Heartache

The band has also released many other amazing albums along the way featuring different music styles, intriguing and original songs. An example is their newest album, titled Amibitions. Here is a song from Ambitions : I was King.


-Stephanie Guan (4F)


Music Favourites

Cause I’m hopeful, yes I am

Hopeful for todayhpe.png

Take this music and use it

Let it take you away

And be hopeful, hopeful

And He’ll make a way

I know it ain’t easy but that’s okay

Just be hopeful

These lyrics may sound familiar to you as they are from the song Hopeful. Bars and Melody first performed the song when they auditioned for the eighth series of Britain’s Got Talent in February 2014. They received judge Simon Cowell’s golden buzzer and went straight through to the live shows.On 7 June, the duo finished in third place during the live final. On 15 June, it was announced that Bars and Melody had signed to Cowell’s record label Synco Music. It was later revealed that they would release their version of “Hope” (retitled “Hopeful”) as their debut single on 27 July.

13-year-old Leondre has told how the lyrics were inspired by a difficult past, which saw him tormented by bullies for two years.“I used to get jumped on by a group of boys who would wait for me, then trip me up and punch and kick me,” he told The Sun.Leondre says he explained his bruises away as being from football, but eventually had to speak out when it got too much to take.“In the end I had to tell someone because I got really depressed. When I told my dad I just broke down in tears and cried and cried.” The lyrics to this song are filled with sadness when we hear how he was bullied, the lyrics also told us how depressed, and hopeless he felt, also asking the bully what he did to get this treatment. So if you are feeling down, I highly suggest you listen this to liften up your spirits. Just be hopeful and don’t give up!

Ashley Tung




Music Favourites: World is Mine


“What is vocaloid?” I hear you ask. Well, it is a piece of software that is used to model a human singing voice. Before you stop reading this article because you dislike computer generated songs, please hear me out. Vocaloid songs are not that bad, some even sound pretty good! My favourite vocaloid song is ‘World Is Mine’. It is an original vocaloid song by  Supercell, sung by Hatsune Miku.

It is one of the most popular vocaloid songs, with over 20 million views on the popular video sharing site Youtube. This song is about a spoilt girl who considers herself as a princess and that the world revolves around her. However, she falls in love with a boy and resolves to change for the better for him.

Why is ‘World is Mine’ is popular? I find that its popularity is due to the interesting twist in Hatsune Miku’s character when she sings this song. After all, she is often portrayed as a meek and sweet-tempered girl, in contrast to the selfish and fickle girl we hear in this song. This song has a catchy tune, and had me hitting the ‘replay’ button for days upon hearing it. This is also the vocaloid song that got me into vocaloid music in the first place. This is also the vocaloid song that is said to have begun vocaloid music’s popularity!

Overall, this is a catchy and interesting song. Even if you have never heard of any vocaloid music before, why not give this song a go? After all, you will never know if you never try! For those of you who have already heard this song and like it, there is an official sequel to ‘World is Mine’ called ‘I’ll teach you’, which sounds equally nice or better. Here are the music video links in case you are interested:

‘World is Mine’ music video:

‘I’ll teach you’ music video:


Rachel Goh