Is 2013’s ‘One Singapore’ the worst ever national day song in history? (Photo: Screen grab from YouTube)
National Day songs done well make you swell up with pride, but there are some that are so horrendous they make you scratch your head in puzzlement and wonder who the heck approved such a tune.
We chose five of the worst, but with this disclaimer:
Most people love their National Day songs. Except for 2013's song, other tunes have gotten people’s resounding approval. Less than 5-10 per cent of viewers ‘disliked’ past songs on YouTube, for instance. So maybe — just maybe – there are no bad National Day songs.
We, of course, type this with as straight a face as possible.
We present you our five worst National Day songs.
‘One Singapore’ (2013)
A National Day song has never been more disliked. For the first time in YouTube history, the number of ‘dislikes’ for a National Day song far outnumbered the ‘likes’ (9,374 ‘dislikes’ and 3,145 ‘likes’ at the last count). What happened? How did national pride suddenly swing in the opposite direction? Maybe the rap was just lame. Maybe having an upbeat song after five straight years of National Day ballads (2008-2012) was just too much of a shock. Maybe it was the cheesy “Wooh ho-oh oh!” refrain in the chorus. Maybe the whole song was just bad.
Sung by the 68-member Sing A Nation Choir, put together specially to perform this unfortunate tune, it was a big thumbs down all round.
‘What Do You See’ (2009)
A rock song by local band Electrico, this song drew both fans and detractors and we also included it in the best five National Day songs. People who disliked it were taken aback by the rock format and said the song should have been catchier or more accessible. Fans of the band were also appalled at how commercial the song was compared to their usual material. Nevertheless, we have to say kudos to the National Day Parade Executive Committee for daring to be different by allowing this song and not just sticking with a safe ballad. We liken this song to the taste of durian: you either love it or you hate it. No in-betweens.
‘Shine for Singapore’ (2008)
Singapore Idol winner Hady Mirza stood out in the competition for his rendering of ballads, and brought that voice to this National Day tune. But in the face of so many other National Ballads, this one fell flat. Mirza did well to treat this song with a subtle approach, but perhaps he was too subtle. As a result, the song has no highs, no lows, just a flat, flat middle emotion.
‘Will You’ (2007)
One of the few fast and upbeat National Day songs, this was at least an interesting change of pace from slow ballads. Unfortunately the disco beat of the song was painfully tacky. The businessman making hand gestures in the video didn’t help either. This song might have worked at a community centre function, but it didn’t leave a patriotic feeling in our hearts. Perhaps we’re too cynical. After all, National Day songs are supposed to be cheesy; it is just one of those basic laws of life.
‘There’s No Place I’d Rather Be’ (2007)
Local singer Kit Chan is best remembered for the popular 1998 National Day song ‘Home’, but did you know that she also performed this other track in 2007? We wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. Unlike ‘Home’ and other better National Day songs, this was quite forgettable. The fact that it doesn’t even mention the word ‘Singapore’, while going on about other cities like Cairo, Bombay, Los Angeles and London, might have something to do with it. Not only does this give this song the dubious honour of being the only National Day song in history to not mention Singapore, it also alienates the average person here (so, half the population) who hasn’t had the chance to travel much beyond his HDB estate. The music video with scenes of Singapore in soft lighting did help broaden its appeal a bit, but other than that, this is definitely an upper middle-class song targeted at overseas Singaporeans.
Read also: 5 best National Day songs