Hear: Vintage Alleycats

5 Sep


ULANGTAHUN KE-40 (1968-2008)
(Universal Music)


THIS four-disc collector’s item is a gem. Celebrating the glory of Alleycats’ music over the last four decades, it features songs that were previously heard on records and cassettes.

Also a tribute to Loga, it is powerfully nostalgic and serves as a reminder of what music was all about in those days – something hardly done today.

David and Loga’s vocal prowess is incomparable and the tunes are faultless.

There are three new tracks here, one for each of the three discs (the fourth one features a VCD of four music videos and the Rockumentari: Kerana Kau, Ku Masih Di Sini.
The new Senandung Semalam 2008 (a duet with Kristal) is a mess. David would be better off alone in this mismatch of vocal styles. Nevertheless, the updated sound of Hanya Kita Yang Tahu (the duet with Jay Jay) is quite pleasant.

David’s seasoned vocals in the new recording of Suara Kekasih seems to be the only good thing about this group recording, featuring Ezad Exist, Zamani Slam and Saleem – some of whom, at times, are trying too hard to make the song their own. Bad decision.

Selected tracks: Seribu Bintang, Setahun Sudah Berlalu.

Rating: HHHH

(Sony BMG)

THE CD packs 16 love songs that have been playing a lot on radio, so it could easily be a compilation fans would sing along to while driving to work.

From Fauziah Latiff’s Teratai Layu Di Tasik Madu to Jamal Abdillah’s Kekasih Awal Dan Akhir, the songs are perhaps the artistes’ greatest hits. Where else would you find a CD with Kian (Mawi) and Kasih Berubah (Ferhad) in an album?

Of course, one could argue that there are other great love songs in the ’90s – which seems to be the era from which the tunes were picked – that should be in here as well, like Siti Nurhaliza’s Jerat Percintaan, or many others.

Nevertheless, this is perhaps one of the good compilations of love songs out there, simply because you don’t feel like pressing the forward button.

Other tracks include Langit Ke 7 (Sharifah Zarina), Teringin (Shima), Puncak Kasih (Ziana Zain), Tragedi Oktober (Awie), Di Persimpangan Dilema (Nora), Layar Impian (Ella) and Relaku Pujuk (Spider).

Selected tracks: Teratai Layu Di Tasik Madu, Keabadian Cinta.

Rating: HHH ´

(Warner Music/Sony BMG)

While the above compilation on Malaysian pop songs reminds us of our music industry’s past, this album featuring popular Indonesian love tunes represents the industry’s present. They receive more airplay and are more popular with our listeners these days.

We can’t really fault the tunes though. They’re not just good, they’re excellent. We’re not just talking about the melodies and poetic lyrics, but also the music arrangements that, sorry to say, are far more advanced than our local soppy ballads that don’t seem to change much since the ’80s.

With this compilation, it’s easy to see why they are more fancied than current Malay hits (go to karaoke hangouts and you’ll see that Indo hits are the order of the day). We can argue until the cows come home, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the songs.

Dealova (Once) is a heart-wrenching winner that opens with a soaring violin before giving in to soft guitar strums in the first verse. In the second verse, a rippling piano introduces the vocals before an orchestra of instruments come in. The vocalist glides from his masculine natural voice to falsetto and wins us over.

Even the silly-sounding Lelaki Buaya Darat (Ratu), with its simplistic approach, is catchy. They are what pop music is all about – powerful melodies. Pencinta Wanita (Irwanshah), Ada Cinta and Berdua Lebih Baik (Acha Saptriasa) are some examples of fine compositions, despite the so-so vocals.

Selected tracks: Dealova, Tentang Bintang.

Rating: HHHH

(Monkey Bone/EMI Music)

Featuring alternative pop/rock tracks from the upcoming movie Kami, this album is about our indie bands (and we have many) and their brand of music.

Songs from Meet Uncle Hussain (Pari Pari Di Bawah Angin), Laila’s Lounge (Mawar Khayalan) and Love Me Butch (This is Our Year) are not really the radio-friendly tunes we’d like to hear again and again, but they do take our industry to a different level.

Still, the rap-rock tune K.a.m.i (Kerana Aku Masih Ingat) by Dragon Red is nothing new other than it’s scream-out-loud Linkin Park-esque sound. Butterfinger’s 1000 Tahun (Kami Mahu Hidup) suggest that it has a problem writing Malay lyrics.

Interestingly, Aggrobeats’ funk/soul approach in We Got Soul really got my interest. The James Brown-inspired vocal stylings and retro music is really something. Then it’s back to bland and boring tracks.

Some of the songs tend to get repetitive with the production quality just so-so, as if you’re listening to a recording of the bands jamming in the studio. There’s only so much guitar you can handle in one album listening.

Selected tracks: Pari Pari Di Bawah Angin, We Got Soul.

Rating: H ´

New Straits Times

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