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This article was written by a Baybeats Budding Writer under the guidance of mentor Eddino Abdul Hadi, music correspondent for The Straits Times.
We live in a music era where retro trends and tributes to the past are well-received among music listeners. You can't scroll through your social media feed without seeing an album celebrating its 20th anniversary, 1990s disco pop culture influences and what seems to be a rising trend today—musicians doing catchy remixes of dated music and turning them into fresh pop-charting hits.
Music remixes have been done for decades but there definitely seems to be an increase sparked by social media platforms like TikTok. Some examples would be the 1956 Paul Anka classic Put Your Head On My Shoulders and the 1990s go-to Halloween party track by Andrew Gold in Spooky Scary Skeletons, both of which have become some teenagers’ go-to songs to listen to today. These teenagers have also created dance routines to songs that had become obscure, often long before they were born.
Some may debate that these remixes are just a cynical afterthought or a result of repurposing one’s creativity. But there seems to be a bigger positive impact through these remixes; they bring back classic tunes that the public would otherwise have remained oblivious to.
Local singer-songwriter-producer YAØ, who has done a fair amount of both originals and pop cover remixes, shared with us his sentiments on this burning topic.
He says: “I feel that this is a pretty amazing thing that is happening. It is great that the younger generation now are able to appreciate the old school culture back then, even managing to bring more light to it through reinventing or remixing. It really shows how accepting our society is steadily becoming.”
Still, YAØ acknowledged that there might be an issue of the original artists not getting their due. “Although I am sure a lot of people might feel that this kind of culture is actually taking away the credit where it's due, I would say as long as younger artists are responsible for their actions and clearly state the original song they are covering, the problem is not that serious at all.”
YAØ also stated a really interesting point about how he feels that remixes can “help bridge the gap between the old and the new.”
As a producer heavily involved in remixes in his covers, YAØ’s work has always been well received by the public. His recent covers like Come Thru by Jeremy Zucker and Sunflower by Post Malone, have a noticeable unique, relaxing and good-vibes twist to them. What makes a good hit in these remixes and covers are the raw authenticity of the artists who re-make them.
YAØ shared that his process has a lot to do with how he portrays his usual personality to the audience through his remixes and covers.
“I tend to approach doing music covers or remixes more lightheartedly but still with a strong sense of conveying the original artist’s intentions of their song. I would say that when I first start doing a certain cover, I will always keep the original melodies that I really vibe with and try to add some of my own melodies or sound in just to spice things up,” he shared.
Essentially, it all boils down to show difference and authenticity in a remix can be turned into something relatable for the new generation to enjoy. Old songs that can be worth their weight in gold should not be wasted, and the generation of creators today are on the right path to that goal.
Remixing is not a bad idea at all. Creators are constantly coming up with innovative and creative processes for the sake of entertainment. As YAØ notes, we should always be thankful and welcome new ideas to the scene. After all, remixing is nothing but an old product in a new package.
The Baybeats Budding Writers mentorship programme has been running since 2014, building a community of writers to cover the growing Singapore music scene. Under the guidance and mentorship of Eddino Abdul Hadi, our budding writers learn more about music journalism and how to be a voice for the local music community.