NDP 2017 Theme Song Is Disliked By Many
Another year, another National Day Parade (NDP). This year’s edition will go back to the Marina Bay platform, reported The Straits Times, after last year’s ultra-expensive edition at the National Stadium was panned as the venue was considered by some to be unsuitable for the NDP — the fireworks couldn’t be seen and the Red Lions’ parachute jump had to be scrapped.
Last year’s NDP theme song, however, was one of the highlights — sung by local band 53A, it was catchy, upbeat and had a cool music video done in the “one take” style. As of Friday (May 26), it had more than 2,100 likes and more than 500,000 views on YouTube, as compared with 324 dislikes.
So since they spent a bomb on a disappointing NDP last year, it seems the organisers have gone back to the cheaper Marina Bay (good choice) — but they have also seemingly gone back to a ballad-like NDP theme song with “old-school” generic visuals that has received unfavourable reviews, and worse, negative comments that seem to have been censored.
Judge the new theme song for yourself here:
As of Friday (May 26), the music video of the new song, “Because It’s Singapore”, has received less than 300 likes out of more than 40,000 views on YouTube.
However, it has also received almost 600 dislikes — making it the rare NDP theme song that has received twice the number of dislikes than likes on YouTube so far.
Why has the song received unfavourable reviews so far? Here are some reasons why we think that’s the case:
1. It’s Difficult To Sing
One of the most important features of a National Day theme song is that it should be easy for young and old to remember and sing.
Remember, it’s for all Singaporeans to sing, not just for professional singers and amateur karaoke enthusiasts. We shouldn’t make some Singaporeans feel alienated when they hear the song and it leaves little to no imprint in their minds.
Unfortunately, some have had this complaint about this year’s song — it’s too difficult to sing.
Music teachers, whose job it is to teach children the NDP theme song, have commented on the difficulty of teaching the song to children.
A secondary school head of music who is underwhelmed with the song asked her fellow music teachers on Facebook what they thought, and they agreed that the song is difficult to teach due to the unsuitable key.
To be fair, the song is a good one — the composer is Lee Wei Song, who is responsible for many memorable TV serial theme songs and hits by mandopop stars like Stefanie Sun.
But as a National Day song, it doesn’t just need to be nice to listen to, but it must be a song that touches the hearts in a patriotic way.
And if people can’t sing it, there’s no way it can do that.
2. The Singer Is Unknown
This year’s theme song is sung by little-known local singer Jay Lim, who is the principal of the Lee Wei Song School Of Music.
He has the unfortunate Chinese name of 林俊杰 (Lin Junjie), which means he shares the exact same name as the more famous award-winning Singaporean singer-songwriter JJ Lin:
Besides sharing a name with another Singaporean singer who is much more famous than him, Jay Lim’s other claims to fame has been producing and writing songs for a host of local and regional singers, including Stefanie Sun, Aaron Kwok and Hacken Lee.
He was also nominated for best local music composition at the 2014 933 Hit Awards, judged a few talent competitions, and performed at various events including the Chingay Parade.
Jay Lim does have a nice voice, and sings the difficult song well.
But unfortunately, he’s not a star, and the average Singaporean probably didn’t know who he was — until now, of course.
While that’s not his fault, it probably contributed to the general disaffection for this year’s NDP theme song — it would have garnered more praise if it had been sung by stars like Stefanie Sun, Kit Chan or the more famous JJ Lin.
3. The Music Video Is Crappy
With the technology and resources available now, people are spoiled. They expect to see videos of a high quality and pristine audio effects.
Unfortunately, the music video for the song seems to be have failed in this respect — perhaps the organisers blew the budget in producing last year’s video, so this year must cut costs?
If not, how do they explain the cheapskate-sounding mixing and mastering?
And let’s not mention the same old tripe shots of community bonding, racial harmony, weddings and cute children that we have been bombarded with in Almost. Every. NDP. Video.
Oh wait, we mentioned it. Well, it deserves to be mentioned.
4. Comments Were Deleted
If there were people who still wanted to patriotically support the video despite the negative feedback, all remaining goodwill evaporated when whoever administers the NDP YouTube channel started deleting negative comments on the video.
As of Friday (May 26), there were zero comments on the video, despite it racking up more than 40,000 views.
Thankfully, it was pointed out that while the administrators can delete comments, they can’t delete dislikes.
5. Nostalgia For The Classics
Sadly, this is a problem that plagues all the songs that have been released in recent years — when compared to the classic NDP theme songs of old, they are just not memorable.
Perhaps as a nation that’s 52 years old soon, we are starting to have citizens that view the past with rose-tinted lens, and nothing we can produce now or in future will be able to match up to those glorious halcyon years of NDP theme songs.
So, as a public service, here are some videos of memorable NDP theme songs to purge the memory of this year’s song:
Singing A Different Tune
Have we have “progressed” so much as a nation that we’re no longer capable of producing NDP songs that speak to the heart?
We hope not. Perhaps we have just missed the point of having an NDP song in the first place, that it’s supposed to touch the masses.
Till then, we will look forward to future editions in hope.