Music Picks: Virtual festival Light The Future, multilingual cover of NDP theme, Billie Eilish's new album

Billie Eilish's second album, Happier Than Ever, is the young pop star's paean to reflection and growth. PHOTO: BILLIE EILISH/FACEBOOK

Take Back The Nights - Light The Future

Here is an online music festival featuring home-grown acts where you are not just a passive viewer.

You take on an avatar, like in video games, and walk or even fly around a virtual festival ground to catch different acts perform on different stages.

If the environment looks familiar, that is because it is based on the Somerset Belt in the Orchard Road area.

The line-up is quite meaty too, with 16 acts across different genres. There are four events in the series, each to be launched on the first Friday of the month.

The first, which starts in August 2021, features DJs Inquisitive, Intriguant and Farah Farz, as well as singer Haneri.

Like in real-world festivals, there are also other attractions. You can expect interactive games, chats with industry insiders and rides on virtual animal characters Chomp Chomp The Stingray and Sambal The Whale.

Where: Online

Admission: Free for performances, booths and games. Prices for rides, upgrades and VIP perks start at $14.90

When: The first instalment takes place on Friday (Aug 6), 5pm

Info: Visit the Take Back The Nights - Light The Future website


The Road Ahead In 4 Official Languages

Remote video URL

There has been no lack of covers of this year's National Day Parade (NDP) anthem, The Road Ahead, on YouTube.

What makes this one by music streaming studio and school Wusic stand out is that it features four singers belting out the tune in the four official languages.

Wusic artistes Faisal, Izzy, Atikah and Thiva sing in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil respectively, backed by keyboardist and music arranger Austin. Listen closely and you can also hear a brief interpolation of the Dick Lee-composed NDP classic, Home, on the keyboard.

In a social media post, Wusic says the song is dedicated to "all musicians, artistes, F&B owners and personnel and everyone fighting for survival during this pandemic".

The YouTube video page has the lyrics for those who wish to sing along.

Where: On Wusic's YouTube page


Alternative Pop

Happier Than Ever

PHOTO: DARKROOM/INTERSCOPE

Billie Eilish

Four stars

Moody, often times dark and occasionally hopeful, Billie Eilish's second album, Happier Than Ever, is the young pop star's paean to reflection and growth.

The songs explore how success has impacted the singer, who is now 19 and still dealing with the vagaries of growing up.

Album opener Getting Older; NDA, with its industrial rock-lite rhythm; and early single Therefore I Am grapple with the downsides of fame. Not My Responsibility and OverHeated address how she feels about being constantly judged and objectified.

And while she reflects on toxic relationships in Lost Cause and Your Power, tracks such as the club-friendly Oxytocin and Billie Bossa Nova, inspired by late Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, celebrate the bliss of being in love.

Eilish ruminates on mortality on Everybody Dies, but balances out the bleakness with the optimistic tone of My Future and Goldwing.

Like her previous works, the songs were recorded with her brother, producer and fellow Grammy winner Finneas. The pair have lost none of their penchant for fetching hooks carried by Eilish's intimate, ASMR-like crooning.

The abrasive elements that marked her first album have been toned down, but are effectively used in the distorted second half of the title track.

An exercise in artistic growth, Happier Than Ever entrenches Eilish's position as one of the most singular voices in pop today.

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