Archive for Non-English Music

ST-12’s "Saat Terakhir"


Since you probably haven’t heard any Indonesian songs at all, I’ll do my country a favor and talk about a certain Indonesian band. (I know it’s a ridiculously long blog post, even longer than Mr. Weinhold’s, but I can’t seem to write anything shorter than this!)

ST-12 is a very famous band in Indonesia. I believe that they are also pretty well known in Malaysia. Most of their songs are mellow, and the lyrics are mostly sad. Based on my observations, it is very common for Indonesian songs to be slow and depressing, but this particular band is unique because their songs have a Malay twist to them. The way the vocalist slur the notes makes it sound more Malay. It is very hard to find a good comparison between this band and a band/artist that more people might know about, since not a lot of English-language songs have this kind of style. However, if I’m comparing it to another Indonesian band, I would compare it to Hijau Daun, who also uses the Malay style in their songs.

The song “Saat Terakhir”, or, if translated to English, “Last Moment”, is one of my favorite songs by this band, from the album “P.U.S.P.A.”. The intro, with the piano and guitar, sounds cheerful, and you’ll immediately think of happy things. However, when the vocalist started singing, the melody suddenly became a little more sad, so that was unexpected and surprising. When I first listened to this song, I was taken aback by how sad the song actually is. It is said that the song was inspired when one of the band members died because of a brain condition.

I think that they did a good job in using dynamics. The beginning, when the lyrics talked about how he never thought about what had happened, was more mezzo piano, which fits the mood. Then, towards the end, came the more passionate part of the song where they added electric guitar, and they raised the dynamics to mezzo forte. I think it really depicts how passionate he is about this topic, and how it means a lot to him.

In my opinion, they did a great job in writing the melody. I’ve never heard any song that is similar to this one, and so I think that this song is very original. The use of piano and guitar is very effective in setting the mood for this song. Also, the occasional strings in the background blends very nicely with everything else. I also think that they were right to not use any percussion in this song, because I think that percussion would ruin the whole mood of the song.

If you read my comment in Mr. Weinhold’s blog post on Chris Garneau, you probably know that I like unique textures in voices. ST-12’s singer’s voice has a very nice texture to it, and it is very pleasant to listen to. His voice also blends nicely with the smooth sounds of the piano, guitar and strings.

I think that they should have made the song a little bit longer, because the ending is kind of awkward. It sounds as if the singer is going to sing more, but suddenly, the song ends with a chord on the piano. However, one might argue that they wrote that ending for the element of surprise, like what they did in the beginning. Also, they might want to put another verse after the chorus, instead of singing the chorus twice in a row, because it’s a very obvious repetition, and it gets slightly boring because of that.

Overall, I think that this is an excellent piece of music that gets stuck in my head. Give it a listen and tell me what you think!


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Vanessa Da Mata’s "Amado"


A few days ago, I was reading something about the Jonas Brothers (as always) and I came across something called the ‘Jonas Brothers Playlist’. It was a playlist compiled of songs the Jonas Brothers recommended. I read it, and started downloading most of the songs, which included old songs by artists like The Commodores and Elvis Costello but also included more recent works by John Mayer and Brad Paisley. I also discovered new artists, like Vanessa Da Mata, whose song I will be talking about in this post.

The song I’m going to be talking about is “Amado”. I think the song is in Portuguese, so I can’t understand the lyrics. Which doesn’t please me very much, since I’m the kind of person who listens to lyrics. And I love singing along to songs, and I can’t do that with foreign language songs. However, that’s only one part of the song, and I’m going to talk about the music anyways, not the lyrics, so it doesn’t matter. End of ramble.

Anyway, I think that this song has a really addicting main melody. It gets stuck in my head a lot. It’s kind of jazzy, but I still like it. Sometimes, if I listen to songs that are really jazzy, like some songs by Michael Buble, it bores me. I don’t know why, I guess I’m just not a jazzy person. (Which is weird, since my dad loves jazz.) However, I think this song is really nice. I think the melody is interesting.

The texture of her voice is smooth and soft. It really fits the ballad, because the way she sings it, it makes it sound calm and just mellow.

My favorite part of the song is the beginning. It’s very interesting to listen to. The piano in the beginning has a really light sound, almost pixie-like. It kind of reminds me of fairies skipping around and flying. The person singing in the background of the piano sounds mysterious. The combination of the piano and the vocals gives it an eerie sort of feeling. (Which, by the way, I’d like to mention is a polyphonic harmony)

This soft ballad gives off a calm mood. Sometimes, when I’m having a bad day, it can even feel a little sad and heartbreaking. My favorite kind of music, of course, the depressing kind. I don’t know why, but I just love listening to sad songs. I think this would be a nice song to listen to in a lounge or something, while you enjoy your coffee and cheesecake!

So, listen to it and tell me what you think about it!

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