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New Recording 47

What It Used To Be - Single (None)


September 15, 2023

Ordering Information

What It Used To Be streams on Spotify

Kimberly Raschka Sailor

What It Used To Be is the debut single from five-member Singaporean a cappella group New Recording 47. The ensemble was new to me. They've had a respectable run since forming in 2018 with jingle and TikTok success. Their distinctive individual voices can stand alone convincingly or glide together cohesively. It's a charming, very likable sound.

Group member and solo songwriter Amanda Ong composed What It Used To Be. Overall, I find the lyrics and overall message rather cliché and also confusing. The first refrain of the chorus is "Everything is moving at the speed of light", which is a concept well-covered in pop music and life in general. Interestingly, we also get rather specific in some of the lyrics:

From orange juices to screwdrivers

Lego bricks to Minecraft blocks

Graduation to job promotion

Trading cards to bonds and stocks

The obvious problem here, is that it's harder for a slow jam to be musical with this content: it's all delivered so earnestly and seriously, but the content certainly doesn't pull at the heartstrings. It all sits a little strange: am I supposed to be happy I had those times or sad that I no longer do? Maybe both? It's also not universally relatable; it wasn't Lego bricks and Minecraft blocks for all of us, and I don't know if that cohort is dealing with investments yet anyway.

With these warm and elegant voices, I'd just really love some big open chords and lush harmonies.

Also, we get a uniquely sultry bass voice that pops in to co-lead. Hearing themed we're growing up / I'm an adult now lyrics delivered by a sexy bedroom voice is certainly puzzling. Lastly, the mix could use a little work, particularly the percussion that feels quite disjointed from the rest of the sound vs integrated in smoothly. 

Man, it's tough to pen a fresh smash hit. Credit to New Recording 47 for giving it a go; genuinely excited to hear where the genre takes you.


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