What It Used To Be - Single (None)
Review By Kimberly Raschka Sailor
September 15, 2023
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.