Admit it – you’ve thought about dropping out of school/college/university/work, forming a band, becoming rich and famous, touring the world playing gigs, and basically living the dream life of hanging out with Hollywood A-listers, looking perfect 24/7, and pretending to be having fun so other people stalking your social media can have fun guessing if you’re actually having fun. But for many of us, it remains just that: a thought. Not for our Crunch of the Month, Daniel Yoong, though. The talented musician’s love for music got him a place in Berklee College of Music, a successful career, appearances with other reknowned artists, and of course, a newly released album, First Love.
That said, it’s only mandatory for me to put the album on repeat, start dissecting the songs, and write a few paragraphs while attempting to sound like a pro. If you haven’t already heard any of the songs on First Love, I can tell you from here that you should most definitely, absolutely do so, like, right now! Wait, did I just give you a reason to stop reading? Damn. Read on anyway, to see if you agree or disagree with my professional reviews.
Bury the Deceased
I know Daniel is very much influenced by Paramore (he didn’t fail to mention it 483 times during our interview), but this song gave me a very Boys Like Girls vibe. There’s no exact BLG song I can pinpoint, but there’s just something familiar about Bury the Deceased.
I really love the accompanying melody and drums of this song – there’s some really powerful drumming, perfect for those air-drumming sessions in the shower. But I have to say that contrary to the strong accompaniment, Daniel’s vocal prowess isn’t showcased here. At times, the melody and drums overpowers the vocal line, which is a pity because the lyrics are very deep and meaningful.
But overall, the song’s catchy beats and familiar-ish vibe makes it easy to love and sing along to after just a few replays. Even if you don’t instantly love it on first play, it’s one of those songs that becomes addictive and you can’t help but love after a while!
You’ve probably seen, or at least heard about, the official music video of Dreaming, which was released before the album was launched. If you never bothered clicking the “Play” button, thinking it was one of those annoying videos that are viral for stupid dance moves and/or featuring cute dogs/cats/rabbits/tortoises/hippos, well you thought wrong, because the video didn’t gather 50k+ views in a mere two days for no reason.
To speak volumes without saying much, Dreaming is definitely my favourite off First Love. Unlike Bury the Deceased, Daniel’s vocal range is shone through the song, and this time, his vocal strength isn’t overpowered by the heavy chords and beats.
I especially like the rests in the first verse that keeps me anticipating when the beat drops back in. The song kind of goes through a whole range of volumes, tempos, keys, and rhythms, highlighting the versatility of Daniel’s voice and musicality.
Running Back to You
In this slower-paced ballad, Daniel proves that his voice is not only for the rock genre. Well, yes, this song is still rock for the most parts (from the second verse onwards), but strip it of the drums and basses and you could easily imagine Daniel serenading you in an acoustic session.
As a musician with strong faith, it’s not surprising to find a track inclining towards the religious side on Daniel’s album. Even so, the lyrics are not so in-the-face to make others want to stop the album right there. The somewhat neutral and relatable lyrics can be interpreted on many levels – perhaps I got it all wrong myself. But whatever it is, it is a casual track that can be easily enjoyed by anyone looking for a lighter, soulful song to bop your heads along to.
You can have a listen to Daniel’s First Love on Bandcamp or Spotify for your share of eargasm. If you like what you hear, be sure to purchase the digital album on Bandcamp to show your support. While you’re at that, don’t forget to also check out Daniel’s social media profiles!