I was over the moon to hear that two of my favourite diaspora artists, Melbourne’s Yeo and Singapore’s Charlie Lim had teamed up on Yeo’s third single from his upcoming album, ‘By Myself’.
As longtime friends and collaborators, the pair have worked together extensively before, notably on Charlie’s sophomore album CHECK HOOK where Yeo co-produced several of the tracks. So for hardcore fans, it seemed inevitable that the two singer-songwriters would bring their indomitable chemistry to the front of the scene.
But in any case, given the duo’s abilities to always go above and beyond expectations in their respective musical offerings, I had high expectations for what they would create together. And not only did they fail to disappoint, they surpassed my expectations with impeccable songwriting and musicianship on such a meaningful topic.
“‘By Myself’ is about striving to be a better person. I’ve made big mistakes and learnt some big lessons. Now I’m doing my best to stop judging people so quickly and show them empathy instead.” – Yeo
The first thing that stood out to me when listening to the single was the fact that it was a hard-grooving R&B track – with both male collaborators dueting in harmony. This in itself set the scene for a song that was inherently unconventional.
It’s not everyday you see male artists singing together on a track (as opposed to rapping or going full boyband), let alone talking about their feelings, two things which these sensitive souls unabashedly brought to the forefront with this collaboration. Not beating around the bush, the song starts with the lyrics ‘Can’t do this by myself/So I’m reaching out for help’ which Yeo and Charlie harmonise on together, full force.
Already, this opening spoke to me on so many different levels. But the most striking thing about the single for me was the song’s outright critique on the topic of toxic masculinity, which often dictates that men shouldn’t talk about their feelings. Yet here we have two guys unabashedly singing about being in a dark place, and reaching out to each other for help. And throughout the landscape of the track, we’re reminded of this at every each turn, in the most creative of ways.
Known for his wry genre-bending explorations, Yeo’s created a stunning sonic architecture of sounds on this track which sidestep the norm but still make you feel something. Kicking off the song with the most insanely addictive bass beats that keep on giving, this solid foundation is punctuated by quirky keyboard riffs when you least expect it.
Given that this song is about striving to be a better person, I guess this is Yeo’s unique take on the theme. The best people to reach out for help from are those who make you feel safe and help you steadily progress in the right direction, but also know how to give you a sharp reality kick when you’ve been wallowing for too long in your self-pity. That’s what it sounds like to me anyway.
Yeo and Charlie’s vocals play off each other like yin and yang on the track; with Yeo bringing sharper, more defined textures to the table whilst Charlie’s soothing sound and higher register fill in the blanks. An absolute match-made in heaven, this track speaks to me emotionally, logically, and feeds my search for meaning and positive change. What’s there not to love?
Review Score: 9 out of 10