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NDP2020 Theme Song + The Best "National" Songs You've Never Heard Of

This year's official NDP theme has finally dropped. Performed by Nathan Hartono, “Everything I Am” is an ode to the Singapore spirit of togetherness. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, it encourages Singaporeans to be appreciative and kind to each other, even as we reflect on how far we have come as a nation. 

It's certainly a departure from the usual rah-rah energy that typifies classic NDP songs. With its poignant tone powered by Nathan's melancholic crooning, it's certainly more "Home" than "Stand Up For Singapore".

Here's a list of local songs that also capture the Singapore spirit while remaining unabashedly different and unique:

"River Song" by Plainsunset

Why we like it: Plainsunset were 20-year veterans in the local music scene, building a hardcore following with their rock anthems and energetic live performances. Their seminal work "River Song" is a love letter to Singapore.

The song pays tribute to the majesty of our city skyline and the people who have built it to what it is today. The soaring lyrics will speak to you. "If you listen you can hear the city call / In the nightlights you will find her / Tall steel towers standing watching over you / In the darkness they cast their eyes"

Reminds us of: Our teenage days watching gigs at the Esplanade and moshing to that one cool local band during Baybeats. Mid-2000s alternative rock goodness!

"Stay Home" by Various Artistes

Why we like it: The song was recorded earlier this year by artistes under the Universal Music Singapore banner as a plea to stay home during the initial stages of CB. But this superhero team-up of the very best Singapore artistes in the scene is such a banger that you can't help but be proud of the talent we have right now. Check out the fire verses from Alif, Charlie Lim, Aisyah Aziz, ABANGSAPAU especially.

Reminds us of: "We Are The World" SG version if it was a trap pop song in the vein of Justin Bieber and Halsey.

"The Singaporean Life" by The Smart Local

Why we like it: "Lehhh Laaa Lorrr" This ditty concocted by the staff of popular entertainment website The Smart Local is irreverent and catchy. Filled with hilarious observations about everday Singaporisms such as not getting a seat on the MRT and our affinity for queueing, lead man Lee Wei Lun manages to get his colleagues in on the fun, asking them to come up with their own lyrics and recording their parts around the office to entertaining results.

Reminds us of: That one time you kena forced to perform at your company's D&D and your team turns out to be surprisingly good. Just kidding! Very Jason Mraz "I'm Yours"-like.

"Singapore Town" by Music and Drama Company

Why we like it: Singapore Town is one of those evergreen songs that is instantly recognisable, especially if you're on Sentosa (they play this track ad nauseam for the tourists there we suppose).

But this updated version from the artistes at MDC from a couple of years ago is even more lighthearted and breezier than the original. The vocal harmonies on display are like caramel to our ears, so to the bright-coloured music video that complements it.

Reminds us of: Beach vibes and sunny days.

"Red Dot" by Inch Chua

Why we like it: Because Inch Chua, duh! Our very own indie-pop goddess brings her quirky indie charm to this ukelele-tinged number where she wrestles with her identity and what it means to be truly Singaporean. "But it would be nice to see some change / This little red dot of mine / Maybe small to many eyes but i really don't mind"

Reminds us of: An amalgamation of Regina Spektor, Kate Nash, Feist and all of our favourite indie female darlings.

"What Do You See (2014 Version)" by Fauzie Laily, Jack Ho, Kartik Kunasegaran, Sivadorai Sellakannu and Shaun Jansen

Why we like it: The original version by Electrico has it's appeal for sure but we really like this uplifting remake from 2014. With hints of country, folk and rock, it also has an addictive whistling tune which totally makes this song. Helmed by singers such as Jack & Rai, and Shaun Jansen (the runner-up of local reality singing competion "The Final 1"), it has a down-to-earth quality that makes you think of home.

Reminds us of: A commercial for Singapore Tourism Board, or those local songs that play on Singapore Airlines when the planes touch down at Changi Airport, welcoming visitors to our sunny island. If that hasn't happened yet, well, it should!

"Sixty Five" by Gentle Bones

Why we like it: Gentle Bones is one of our favourite local male singers to come out in the last decade. There is something not only magnetic but hauntingly vulnerable about his voice. Coupled with the epic drums and symphonic arrangement on this OST to the "1965" movie which was released in conjunction with SG 50, it perfectly encapsulates the struggles our earlier generations faced on the road to independence.

Reminds us of: An epic movie soundtrack. Wait, it already is. Okay, nevermind.

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