It makes me
sick to read reviews that try to be clever about describing the
music on this album, and then go on to say that: "Follywood
should be seen as an invaluable entry to the nation's ongoing efforts
to loosen up."
And the reviews
say so little about what Zircon Gov. Pawn Starz, (made up of X'Ho,
Yeow and Sue-Sue) is saying. Something is obviously wrong here because
no album in the last decade has made such a clear effort to define
$ingapore. This is the most fucking punk rock album we have ever
had even if it's electro-clash that the songs are couched in.
the opening track, are us, the ones who can "barely breathe," who
are gripped, squeezed and arm-locked but without a voice. Drop The
Attitude, Fucker is an attack on stardom in Singapore, that it's
a shallow joke because you're nothing more than an establishment
celebrity. The attitude is fake because you can't be a star outside
the mainstream. As X'Ho notes: "There's nothing better than being
a Durian star/Just remember, be proud of the Durian/They might even
give you a public service award."
parodies the mainstream media: "Just look pretty/Stay mum/But
most of all, obedient." Nightmare On 8 & 5 continues the
band's gaze at the media, this time, it's the brain jelly they serve
up on TV: "Little soaps to set you free/You turn the knobs, they
turn the tide." Digit Nation is a litany of happy government
PR: "Hip & funky/No corruption/Wonderful free speech
of separating content from the image has never left us. Which is
why in an odd way, we will look at this album as a fashion statement.
We will ignore it for its glam, for its famous guests from Chicks
On Speed, Coil to Futon. We will discuss the merit of the music
and the remixes by Case, Kiat and Ashidiq and Jason Tan's production.
Like so many
other things, we will choose to see the fun but not the anger. X'Ho's
work has always been a combination of both and what you choose to
see reflects yourself and what you care or don't care about. For
the album to feature a parody of the national crest, for its insistence
on believing in an opposition (the establishment line is that there's
no credible opposition), if you think Follywood is all fun, then
you're living in it.
Long after the album is over, your brain rings with these two true
phrases: "Nu-school fucker, Singapore fucker!"