Come February 14, some of us may be disappointed with a sad sight in town: it’s the time of the year where couples try the hardest to impress their partners on this special day with insta-worthy outfits, bouquets of roses, and trendy LED-lit helium balloons… the inexhaustible list goes on.
Interestingly enough, romance happens to be quite an abstract concept – so much so, that we express or find these heart-wrenching emotions in music.
This year, we have compiled our favourite love songs from our local musicians in a Spotify playlist. So gather your single ladies and men, and scream at the top of your lungs to groovy hits like M1LDL1FE‘s “Distraction” or Cosmic Armchair’s “Valentine”.
We have also chatted up with some of them to find out what their most memorable Valentines’ Days are – I’m sure you’re as curious as we are to find out what’s responsible for breaking (or mending) our local musicians’ hearts enough to create these lovely tunes!
Nathan Hartono: “I was so nervous about the preparation”
The charismatic crooner elaborated, “Probably my first one, when I was 14. Because I was so nervous about the preparation. It was the first time I had bought flowers for a girl, first time going out with a girl within the context of an actual ‘date’. It was terrifying.”
“As for this year, most probably nothing – maybe watch a movie with some friends,” he said.
On his latest Mandarin single, “爱超给电”:
“It’s about love that doesn’t always make sense, love that’s unpredictable, that comes in many shapes and sizes, and almost always takes you by surprise. Much like getting an electric shock.”
Joie Tan: “I don’t really like the idea of doing something nice for your partner only for a special day.”
She continued, “I actually don’t really have a very memorable Valentines’ Day – while I am a sucker for romance, I’ve never done anything special just on that day because I don’t really like the idea of doing something nice for your partner only for a special day.”
“My boyfriend will be flying over from the US to spend Chinese New Year & my birthday with me, so I’m really looking forward to receiving him at the airport. I’ll be working and then we’ll probably be strolling along Chinatown to soak in the festivities haha. Nothing too special!”
On her hit single, “Stay”:
“I wrote the song Stay in the very early stages of a relationship, being overwhelmed by love and the want to be with someone for a long time. It was my first stable relationship and I felt the need to get all my emotions out in a song to express how I felt. It’s a song that is very true to how I feel about love. Like I said previously, I am an extreme sucker for love so I get these waves of intense emotions and Stay translates a part of that.”
Cosmic Armchair: “We ended up having a Valentine’s Day baby!”
“Our most memorable Valentine’s Day was in 2015 when our son was born! We didn’t expect him so early but we ended up having a Valentine’s Day baby! He’s also the reason why the band took a hiatus of 2 years and only just released our full-length album CONTACT in November last year. So we’ll be celebrating his birthday this Valentine’s Day as well.”
On their latest single, “Valentine”:
“Valentine initially started when I was experimenting with a particular ‘patch’ (sound) on our synth that led me to write the opening motif. We’ve kept this sound in the final version as well. As I wrote the song, it kind of took on a life of its own and fleshed itself into a story about the ups and downs of love. We worked with the dynamic dance duo MarLin to produce a music video that tells a story based on the song – love isn’t all about sweetness and roses; but also about mutual sacrifice and intentionally making choices to make a relationship work, even when it hurts.”
Disco Hue: “No one should need an excuse or designated day to spend quality time”
“No Valentine’s Day has stood out or been particularly memorable because I think no one should need an excuse or designated day to spend quality time with their significant other!”
On their latest synthpop hit “Plastic Hearts”:
Explaining that the track explores “the limits of superficial, materialistic love”, the band explains that its music video aptly supports that with its “subdued version of the band’s trademark vibrant colour palette”.
They continued, “This stylistic homage to Aqua’s Barbie Girl reveals the band member’s multi-dimensional chase of the unattainable girl, and the struggles of discerning genuine relationships in a virtual world inhabited by those who profit off falsely advertising themselves.”
Follow and listen to our Spotify playlist ‘Paktor Tunes’ below!
Cover photo: Lovely couple, Dat and Wern, by Arthur Keng.