Monday, November 15, 2004
DAZE- Sexy Little Boy/C'mon Allison MCD(Tim Records 1991)
"Rock 'n' roll never looked so good... this is sexy little boy". If these words still endear to you dearly, oh my you're getting old. It meant much more back in '91, than it does in this millenium and any bands caught attempting this line again looked as awkward as Black Eyed Peas doing punk recitals. But back when Daze made such exclamation in "Sexy Little Boy", it sounded like the very last breath of hope from the good old days of Singaporean punk/rock, permeating with enthusiasm and exuberating spirit of youth. Indeed, it gave a whole new meaning to life and music at that time. The bouncy delight of a hit that was "Sexy Little Boy" formed a cheerful brightspot in my hazy memory, reminiscing the days when us angst-ridden punk boys were prancing along to the catchy rhythms and reciting its lyrical prose. It might sound weird but the infectious song became an anthem to our ideals, to our dreams, and to the faith put in Singaporean music. The song rocked our world so much that we almost tore apart the walls of Boys' Town.
To call Daze a punk band is naivety at worst. This is a melodic post-punk outfit stuck with punk ethos, but they are not your typical run-of-the-mill Echo and The Bunnymen progenitors. Two veteran musicians consisted of the lineups, from Mortal Flower (Adrian Ho) and The Twang Bar Kings (Don Bosco Anthony) respectively. The aforementioned bands were big for their times, stirring up much beautiful noises and other mischiefs since the late '80s. This collaboration however did not led to a fare of The Cure vs. Sonic Youth handshake and subsequent masturbations. Daze had whimsical melodic guitar riffs played over a lively synchronized mechanical beat and with Adrian's deadpan vocal, and they could be way cooler than The Smiths, if not for the fact that many of our preconceived notions of Anglo-Saxon cool were already taking form. The best tracks like "Sexy Little Boy" and "C'mon Allison" subscribed well to the ingenuity of such delivery and they are clearly not totally subservient to overseas standards, but could be found breathing the kopitiam Singaporean style. The track "Marilyn" however, is performed with less concerted delivery, having only vocals sung over acoustic guitars and humbly recorded in Fort Canning with Leslie Low (of ex-Twang Bar Kings henchman/Humpback Oak fame) in the backpicture. This only proves that Daze was not all about lumbering around techno age although they could come very close with their "latest rage mix" treatment of their hit single.
Now, more than a decade after, this MCD and its sexy hit single has taken on more meanings, rearing a different kind of perspectives. Perhaps it has got something to do with age, but the joy that revolved the hopeful anthem has died, now sounding sad, futile and regretful. This part of the lyrics, "...I was once a sexy little boy, but now, I'm just an ordinary guy", has become more apparent, a bare boned reflection that once echoed the naive heralding of youth and Singaporean music, and its sad desperation has actually taken a real form. I can't help but now look at the music with a cynical angle, and saw the actual meaning to the message that Don Bosco Anthony and company were trying to bring across. In another word, like a chilling revelation befallen upon me, I know that I'm just an ordinary guy now. But at least I remember the days when we once embraced youth.
--sojourner at 4:35 AM