Music has the ability to unite people.
And in this case, the new National Day Parade (NDP) 2023 theme song Shine Your Light has brought netizens together on grounds of a singular criticism - that the theme song is oddly reminiscent of a "worship song".
Released yesterday evening (May 25), Shine Your Light is composed by award-winning producer, singer, and songwriter Don Richmond, who was also the NDP music director in 2022 and 2016.
Joined by co-writer and performer Shigga Shay, the song also features local acts such as 53A, The Island Voices, Olivia Ong, lewloh, Iman Fandi, and Lineath.
Described as an upbeat and catchy song, the theme song ties into the NDP 2023 theme of Onward As One, which calls for Singaporeans to look forward and move onward in building a shared future as one united people.
It was also made to reflect the emergence of Singapore from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Richmond told The Straits Times that 2022 was the close of a chapter for Singaporeans, and the new song's intention was to start off a new chapter with something more vibrant.
He said: "It's important to have a song that is feel-good, catchy, infectious and puts a smile on all Singaporeans. So the way we do this this year is by having a big group of musicians and the best singers that we can find shine their personal light."
However, netizens were taken aback by the song, commenting that it sounded like a "worship song" performed in churches.
Some netizens also commented that NDP theme songs seemed to be getting worse as the years go by and asked for "songs [that] we can sing along".
Despite the naysayers, others dubbed the song as "not bad" and remarked on its similarity to theatre songs from musicals such as The Greatest Showman and High School Musical.
AsiaOne has reached out to the Ministry of Defence for comment.
Unfortunately, Shine Your Light is not the first NDP theme song to come under scrutiny.
NDP 2013 theme song One Singapore was similarly ridiculed for having "bad lyrics" and sounding like a "singalong pre-school song", even before its official release.
Musicians weighed in on the discussion, saying that the negative comments to the song were expected to an extent, but that the controversy also forced people to pay attention to the song.
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