Singapore’s National Day is right around the corner and one of my favourite National Day traditions is definitely the NDP song. Even at its worst (2013), NDP songs become a discussion point of how we view our lives here; though we may disagree with the direction taken. At its best, we get a melody we all can rally around and enjoy for years to come. That is an absolutely wonderful thing, and this post is a celebration of the collective fondness we all have for NDP songs and the power music has in bringing us together.
10. One Singapore (wooaah-woooaahh)
Of course not, you silly goose. 10th place goes to One People, One Nation, One Singapore; a certified classic. This is one of the more mellow 80’s/90’s NDP songs, but I think it really represents the heart the older generation had in building our country and making it work despite the challenges. It has very simple lyrics in its hook that even the non-english speaking generation can follow along to.
9. The Road Ahead
At number 9 is our latest NDP song, The Road Ahead! I’m so glad a more recent song has managed to match up to our finest NDP theme songs. The lyrics “Come whatever, in this road ahead; we did it before, and we’ll do it again” are really comforting to hear in these tough times. Kudos to the team for coming up with a song so simple yet resonating. It also gets extra points for having THE BEST music video in NDP history. Ever.
8. What Do You See
I remember What Do You See getting very mixed reactions when it first came out, but I think it has aged pretty well. This song reminds me of early Coldplay/Killers, in a good way. It has a very nostalgic sound that captures the spirit of the late 2000s. Personally, it reminds me of the feeling of being at crossroads and moving forward.
7. Stand Up for Singapore
Stand up for Singapore is that retro 80’s banger that everyone can’t help but look fondly back at (even if you weren’t actually born before the 80’s). Cheesy in the best way, this song gets both the kindergarteners and your nosey neighborhood aunties on their feet; prepared to give a little more enthusiasm towards NDP. The sunny trumpets and cheerful beat makes it a great opener to pump up the crowd.
6. My Island Home
My Island Home is an ode to the global Singaporean, wondering around but never truly forgetting the unique warmth of home. This song’s lyrics has Don’t Cry for Me Argentina vibes, but doesn’t quite reach there (still waiting for the day someone writes a love song to a personified Singapore). Either way, it’s a good song with my fave key change.
5. One United People
This song is a wonderful, jubilant declaration that our strength lies in our ability to cohesively weave our differences and build on one another to create the Singapore experience. Of all the NDP songs, this one sounds the happiest and always puts me in a good mood. Just like My Island Home, it also has a key change for the last chorus, which I’m an absolute sucker for. It’s a simple, yet charming tune.
4. Reach Out for the Skies
This song is the definition of primary school memories for me. For those of y’all who are too young to remember Singapore Idol, let me tell you that having Taufik Batisah singing with MediaCorp princess Rui En on this song was absolutely ICONIC. Reach Out for the Skies was incredibly well received at the time and definitely remains a favourite. I miss the days when NDP songs used to be fun.
3. We will Get there
UNDERRATED timeless classic. This is a personal favourite of mine & I’ve always felt that We will Get There is such a great song on all fronts. Stephanie Sun’s NDP songs feel like a celebration of life here. Not only is it very pleasant to listen to, it also has some of my favourite lyrics in any NDP song. It’s also one of the only songs that I can enjoy outside of the NDP context. I can never get over what a good song this is?? It’s just full of hope that one day, in the end, we will get there.
I know, how dare I not put Home as number one. If you have never paid attention to the music in this song, grab a pair of quality headphones & be prepared to be blown away. Many years’ worth of NDP songs have tried and failed to replicate the heart that this song has, and it’s strangely really hard to explain why. There’s something really powerful about the imagery of a never ending river, and instinctively sentimental about the words ‘This is home’. There is a sense of comfort in the definitive assurance this song provides. There is a calling, or perhaps longing in Home that can make even the most cynical Singaporean melt. The emotional connection we have with this song is special.
1. We are Singapore
We are Singapore is the freaking Bohemian Rhapsody of NDP songs; there I said it. This overly dramatic 3-part masterpiece demands that you think about what makes us Singaporeans, so much so that it has the audacity to include the entire pledge within its lyrics, and in a really high register. It starts on a theatrically serious note, lulls you into making honestly embarrassing declarations, makes you say the pledge for the first time in years, then goes into a full head banging moment when the ‘We are Singapore’ part starts. I cannot understate that this is truly the pinnacle of patriotic songs. If you don’t agree, and I say this with the utmost respect, I don’t care.
I hope this didn’t reveal too much of my absurd enthusiasm for NDP songs. What’s your favourite NDP song?