AKU SUDIRMAN — Best Of The Best
Warner Music Malaysia
WARNER Music Malaysia has released four albums to mark the 20th anniversary of Datuk Sudirman Arshad’s death at 37. One of them is Aku Sudirman — Best Of The Best album.
This two CD offering has 30 of the Temerloh-born singer’s popular songs which bear his musical style.
Most are remastered recordings and the result is a clear rendition of Sudirman’s distinctive and melodious tenor. The late artiste of television, film and music had brought Malaysia to the world stage many times, ever since winning the 1976 Bintang RTM contest.
The songs by the “Singing Ambassador” include Hoore Hoore, Balik Kampung, Merisik Khabar, Jauh Di Sudut Hati, Teratai Menjelma, Salam Terakhir, Pelangi Petang and Kasih. The composers read like a who’s who in Malaysian music and include Manan Ngah and Ahmad Nawab.
This compilation is a must-have for Sudirman’s fans. If you’ve never heard of the late lawyer-singer, then start with Aku Sudirman.
AKU SUDIRMAN — SUATU
Warner Music Malaysia
RELEASED on June 5, this is one of two albums that integrate co-operation between Warner Music Malaysia and Astro. It’s a compilation featuring young artistes, who offer fresh treatments and new interpretations to eight songs made popular by the late Sudirman.
The opening track, Punch Card, is a rap/hip-hop take on the original 8 Ke 4 ¼ now done by Altimet, featuring DJ Fuzz. It is vastly upbeat from the original traditional beat.
The second song, Salam Terakhir, by Awan Band, has orchestral pieces to this Manan Ngah original. But the ballad remains fresh, as too the closer, Antara Hujan & Airmata. The latter is sung by Saleem, and given a light rock sound.
The other rock takes include Toyol by Hujan and Warisan by Taxi.
While some, like me, may prefer the originals, these artistes help keep Sudirman’s songs contemporary.
The Music Of
THIS is the soundtrack from the television musical show, Smash, currently being aired on Diva Universal (Astro channel 702) with new episodes on Mondays. The album features the cast performing popular songs with new arrangements and also, original material.
The tracks include the Jessie J hit Who You Are, sung by Megan Hilty (who plays Ivy on the show)and a good, if desultory, rendition of Michael Buble’s Haven’t Met You Yet, by Nick Jonas.
I don’t think former American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee needs autotune, a pitch corrector at best. But here’s a good singer getting the synthesised sound on Florence and the Machine’s Shake It Out.
McPhee does the Christina Aguilera song Beautiful credit, also Colbie Caillat’s Brighter Than The Sun, although the reggae flavour has been taken out leaving the beat a little flat.
The last five songs are written for the show by Hairspray composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
They sound like stage songs, the Broadway kind, more than radio-friendly ditties.
Check out Let Me Be Your Star, featuring McPhee and Megan Hilty, 20th Century Fox Mambo (McPhee), Let’s Be Bad (Hilty) and History Is Made At Night (Hilty and Will Chase).
So where’s the one I like the best on the show so far — I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn’t Love to Whistle? With that left out, methinks this album is a litmus test on the show’s popularity as a music money machine more than an album meant to appreciate good songs and vocals.
That’s a tough break for McPhee and Hilty as singers.
PINK FRIDAY ROMAN RELOADED
SINGER-SONGWRITER Nicki Minaj (born Onika Tanya Maraj) has come up with a high-octane offering, starting with the opener Roman Holiday to the last track, Stupid Hoe, in this second studio album. It’s different from her 2010 debut, Pink Friday, where she was a street rapper on par with Eminem.
On Roman Reloaded, the beats are not standard rap, hip-hop, dance or pop. Roman Holiday is a good example of what this album is about musically — strangely, it features the chorus from Christmas carol O Come All Ye Faithful. It sounds jangly at first but does grow on you with repeated play. Just like the other 18 songs.
The album is a mesh of styles, with synthesisers. The first half are rap with hip-hop, the second seems to be more dance-pop.
Hov Lane, Beez In The Trap and Starships are irresistible rap beat-driven songs. Roman Reloaded is bound to keep you awake if you are driving late at night.