This just in: A new wave of Pop music has hit Singapore, and it seems to have been led by Universal Music Singapore’s latest debutante, YAØ! Beware, as neighbours of the artist, have reported sightings and hearings of late-night jam sessions, along with bedroom and shower concerts!
YAØ’s newest single, I Can’t Sleep, has also stirred a storm in the local pop scene. Its music video has also become a hit in people’s hearts. The song is a soulful ode to those sleepless nights filled with anxious thoughts that engulf our minds as soon as our head hits the pillow. This is known to be a common side-effect to living in a fast-paced society: a society that will leave you in the dust if you don’t run fast enough.
YAØ’s newest track is the teaser of an album coming out soon, called Broke Pop Kids!
The track itself is self-written and self-produced and is a shoutout to all the broke pop kids that spend their anxiety-filled nights contemplating about things that we’ve never been given a chance to think about. This song spotlights our people’s struggles to keep up with the system that has designed our lives to chase worldly things like good grades, good education, good jobs, good salaries. But in this speedy world, our mind demands peace – the peace we only seem to get in the deep hours of the night.
This song is a message to the world about the stress of being expected to constantly move forward, which is, in turn, weighing us down and slowing us. It may even be a cry for help, for a solution to this terrifying problem.
This song indeed deserves to be called an anthem to the sleepless souls, as its lyrics and the vocals hit in a way like no other. He has also released an incredible music video that veils a message vital to our world. YAØ’s talents, ranging from songwriting to singing to producing, have indeed shined in this powerful song! I loved it, and can’t wait to tell you why!
Starting with the music, the tempo of this song gets you so hyped up! The echoing heartbeat of the drum and bass fuel you for your jam session. Don’t even get me started on the vocals! The lyrics are empowering and bring forward an important message that the rest of us don’t dare to do.
YAØ shared that he had written this song on a sleepless night himself. He had an idea pop in his head, and he took it and got straight to work! He saw writing this song as a form of self-care. “I think, sometimes, it’s important to take that frustration and put it into something more positive, like taking care of oneself and appreciating the simple things in life.” he shared
YAØ is truly an inspiration to one and all. He started as an independent artist and attained the ‘Best New Kid On The Block’ award from the first-ever *SCAPE Youth Music Awards in 2019. He had made his arrival known, he had given us the signs, and today, here he is! His past experiences connecting with and performing for different Singapore audiences, gives him an edge over all the other artists looking to dominate Singapore’s newest generation of pop artists.
The song itself is fantastic and totally up my alley, but the music video is of a different breed! It has a storyline that I had so much fun getting sucked into. In this entire music video, we follow YAØ on a journey through his sleepless night. He is dressed in anything but pyjamas, and his bedroom is fully adorned with colourful LED lights. Vibes, huh?
He seems to be doing everything but sleeping – pretending to be a tree, fighting his imaginary MMA opponent on his double-size bed. He goes nuts in his room until he decides to hit the streets. And we see him doing the silliest things under the delirium of his insomnia. He bothers unsuspecting strangers, plays frisbee alone, among many other bizarre acts.
But underneath the bizarreness, he just seems to be trying to find an honest, genuine connection with someone. He also hits the nightclubs and tries to make friends, but even a friendly fist bump is smacked away in refusal. The music video is an amazing representation of the hopeless social dilemma that we all face – to form a genuine connection outside the almost regimental routines we’re faced with, or to give in to sleep and lose this golden opportunity?
My favourite scene was when YAØ was standing stationary among a swarm of people who were moving so fast. It is a visual symbolisation of the speed of our society drowning out those who fail to keep up, and this scene was so impactful to me.
Finally, the night ends, and the day comes. YAØ is overwhelmed with sleep, and we see him tired out and slowing down. The sun rises, and while most people would wake up bright and early for work or whatever their day demands of them, YAØ passes out on his bed, reluctant to face the world on another day.
In this final part, as the tempo slows down, YAØ also slows, and the lyrics ease their way to your attention:
“All these dreams, but no peace.
What are we supposed to be?
Broke pop kids need to sleep.”
These lyrics punch you with this ice-cold, devastating fact about the fate of our country’s younger generations. But YAØ’s honey-like voice caresses the wound the lyrics have opened. And your medicine becomes the replay button.
The lyrics, the vocals, the music video – everything about this song rings good vibes. It’s a song that we can all resonate with. Listen to it, indulge in the mood, live the life of a sleepless adolescent in a fast-paced society that flies by, and we are forced to grow out our wings and do the same – even if they’re broken – in a dizzy music video.
You can hear it on all streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. You can also watch the music video which has been released on YouTube.
I think the youth of Singapore has found their new anthem.
And I shall end off here, wishing that your nights are full of sleep.
Visuals courtesy of Universal Music Singapore and Hans Goh.