As we prepare to wind down and say farewell to another year gone by too quickly (or not quickly enough, depending on who you ask), we find ourselves treated to yet another top 10 countdown of popular things from the past year; this one in particular being from unavoidable internet giant YouTube themselves.
Yesterday, YouTube Rewind 2017 was unveiled across the globe, listing the most popular video content internationally as well as for individual countries.
Malaysia—obviously—was also given its own bunch of lists of popular videos watched, with one among them being the list of “Top Trending Music Videos of YouTube Malaysia 2017”.
The list features the top music videos watched by Malaysians throughout 2017, inclusive of both international and local artistes. Looking through the list, we found some peculiarities and noted some interesting things about the entries. Here are a few observations we made:
1. No female artistes or bands were included. Not even Tay Tay.
In an era where feminism, political-correctness, and diversity seat themselves as the flavour of the day, the complete absence of a female entrant on the list proved to be surprising at the very least.
Now, while I aim to forward no agenda (only my observation), the lack of a Taylor Swift or a Rihanna or even a Yuna did raise a few initial questions.
Why so much partial love for male singers and bands?
How did “Look What You Made Me Do” not make it to the list?
Was this just a huge coincidence?
A quick glance through the list unsurprisingly shows pop bangers such as “Despacito” and “Shape of You” (both of which have been air-played ad-nauseam) taking the top spots, followed by a mix of international (Chainsmokers, Bruno Mars) and local (Projector Band, Floor 88) entries. All of which come from male artistes.
Now if pressed to come up with explanation as to how even Charlie Puth managed to unseat Taylor and Selena on Malaysia’s popular music-listening diet, I would probably disregard all narratives and simply chalk it all down to:
- Preference – Music is as diverse as you can get, and everyone has their own jam
- Timing – Taylor Swift’s chart topper did come out late in the year
- Coincidence – People like what they like, simple as
2. The genres of music featured are all pretty same-y.
Long gone are the days of cassettes, CDs, and Walkmans. Even mentions of downloading .mp3s have become rare occurrences. These days, it’s all about streaming.
People now have unhindered access to music, when and wherever they want it. Unthinkable a decade ago.
So then begs the question, why—even with easy access to such a wide variety of music—do Malaysians (and mostly people everywhere in general) still go for the same old Top 40-sounding offerings so heavily?
I blame marketing, overplay, and the general nature of business.
While not all the songs on the list are mainstream anthems and not all are of the same genre, the majority do employ similar techniques in songwriting and chord progressions that follow the convention of successful chart-toppers; and that gives the list a somewhat all-too-familiar feel.
Fans of Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, and Coldplay need not feel offended though; it’s not that their songs are horrible (I actually rather enjoy listening these guys myself), it’s just that they’re not unexpected.
But nature of the music industry is just so; to expect anything other than what’s easy on the ears and what rakes in the dollars is folly.
And while I don’t hold any hope for the status quo shifting in the near future, it would be nice to someday find something out of left field featured on the list; perhaps a “Reign of Kindo” track, “Aphex Twin” track or perhaps a track from whatever talented underrated singer or band that the masses enjoy but don’t get enough of.
But on the bright side…
3. There’s a healthy mix of both local and international artistes featured!
For all the talk of Malaysians not supporting local music enough, it was pleasant to see that half of the entries on the list were local talents.
Rounding up the listed local talents were Armada, the much-storied Namewee, and Ismail Izzani, showing that Malaysians still listen locally. Hopefully down the years we’ll see more local talent filling up the spots and proving that “Malaysia Boleh”.
Now it’s quite clear that these observations only prove that Malaysians are similar in many respects, and vastly different in so many others.
These similarities and dissimilarities hold true especially when it comes to music and art, and hopefully this diversity continues to permeate our own music scene for decades to come.
If you haven’t yet seen the list, check it out here or below.
Top Trending Music Videos of YouTube Malaysia 2017
- Luis Fonsi – Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee
- Ed Sheeran – Shape of You [Official Video]
- Projector Band – Aisyah (Official Lirik Video) (a.k.a Satu Dua Tiga Cinta Kamu)
- The Chainsmokers & Coldplay – Something Just Like This (Lyric)
- Floor 88 – Zalikha [Official Music Video]
- Armada – Asal Kau Bahagia (Official Lyric Video)
- Bruno Mars – That’s What I Like [Official Video]
- 黃明志Namewee feat. 王力宏 Leehom Wang【漂向北方 Stranger In The North 】
- Charlie Puth – Attention [Official Video]
- Ismail Izzani – Sabar (Official Music Video with Lyric)
Feature Image Credit: Collaged from YouTube videos