Vanessa’s attempt at introducing Nu-disco to Dhaka, Nightfall, is a perfect addition to your playlist for Monday blues.
This is not coming from a music connoisseur, by the way. To each their own, and there’s a very real possibility of the song or its genre not passing your vibe check, but I skip over a good deal of songs in my recommended Spotify playlists every day, and Nightfall was NOT one of them.
Gotta give it up for the band for coming back for its sophomore track with a genre relatively new to the local audience. A 21-century version of the EDM genre, Nu-Disco finds its own niche in the core funk grooves and modern synths that interlaces elements from its parent genres of the Us Disco, Italo Disco, and House. Staying true to its creators’ dream of presenting a blend of electronic elements and pop music to the world, Nightfall totally does justice to the genre.
Speaking of its creators, the band Vanessa is a passion project formed during the 2020 pandemic shutdown by 3 Bangladeshi friends- Abeer Nafis Al, Sanyat Rahman, and Ouichitto Olokosundor- living in Malaysia at the time. With some prior experience in the scene already, they took their shared love and enthusiasm for music and fused their own words, voice, and style to create something enjoyable for listeners by combining elements of retro-funk, synth-pop and electro-pop, nu-disco, and chillwave music.
Their debut single, Fraud Romeo, was well received by the audience in Kuala Lumpur as well as back at home, boosting their confidence to turn this experimental initiative into something serious and long-lasting. Thus followed the inclusion of their 4th member Nahian Rahman into the band and then the birth of Nightfall, a co-production of Abeer Nafis Al and A.K Ratul.
Coming back to the song, it captivates you from the get-go, with its super relatable lyrics and groovy music. Loved how the makers managed to complement the upbeat, fast-ish tempo with deep post-breakup emotions. Also, the harmonisation of local and electronic sounds graces the vocals- the outcome a real beauty.
I’d say the song does achieve its goal of giving us listeners an escape from reality for about three and a half minutes. I even found myself dancing to the beats unconsciously, completely lost in the music blasting through my earphones. Of course, there are far better songs of the same genre and a similar theme, but for me, trying out the first local nu-disco track was a win.
Luckily, even after playing it a umptillion times in the past couple of weeks, I haven’t yet reached the point of growing sick of it. But if I do, I think I’ve developed enough attachment to the song to come back to it in a few months for the sake of nostalgia.
When talking about the song, you can’t forget the music video it comes with- the first video on the band’s official youtube channel. The first thing I noticed here was how the visuals in the video had the same colour theme as that in other areas of the band’s branding efforts. The concept of the video also centres on distraction from reality.
We see the protagonist indulging in alcohol and drugs and slipping away into the world of a music video she’d been watching on the TV, where she is not lonely, the opposite of her reality.
Now the explicit display of cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol made many viewers take the MV in a negative light and completely ignore the actual, underlying message in the video. Perhaps the direction should’ve focused less on the substance abuse bits and more on clarifying their intended lesson to accommodate the sentiments and preferences of the majority of their target audience.
The band members did talk about this on a Facebook live, explaining the MV’s concept. The message they tried to deliver was directed at the youngsters who resort to drinking and smoking to temporarily escape their painful reality, only to drop back to it once the high is gone. They chase this escape and repeat the whole thing and end up getting trapped in a loop until the escape loses its meaning too. That’s exactly what we see happen to the protagonist in the MV.
If you pay close attention to the story instead of fixating on the vodka bottles and cigarette packets there, you may understand the unspoken message.
Apparently, the band is releasing an EP on 15 May, of which the song Nightfall is a part. The songs won’t disappoint, I hope, but I’m more excited to see where the story of the woman from Nightfall’s MV goes.
On a personal note, I enjoyed both the audio and the MV. Looks like the disciples of Vanessa have got the potential to win hearts in the local music scene. With only two of their songs out as of now, both pretty good, I think the band is worth giving a shot.
Listen to Vanessa’s Nightfall here:
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