Five Best Alay Tracks of All Time

December 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Posted in iseng, katarsis, kebudayaan | 4 Comments
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Is alay dead? I’m afraid—it is. The demise of alay is a necessity. There is no escaping history. It has to die to make ways for the emergence of a new culture—a new zeitgeist. Say what you will, but we are now seeing what can only be described as the ascent of post-alay movements. Yes, I’m referring to Kufaku and all indie alay bands who try so hard to make the cut on Youtube. Kufaku, like Kangen Band, is brazenly provincial, but it lacks the kampungan mentality and miskin image that make all the lyrics of its alay predecessor so painfully corny but easy to relate. Kangen Band was born in the age of pirated CDs and cheap MP3s. They were popular not because they were on Youtube. They made it to the top because they honestly speak for the people who love and hate them. It was like, when they emerged, somewhere a music writer was praising the lord: Indonesia has finally created its own punk. Kangen is our Nirvana. I know that many would beg to differ (or want to kill me with a fork). But all great cultural icons are divisive. You either love them or loathe them. And like any cultural movements, alay has its life cycle. Alay was born in the mid 2000s, and now it’s dead. If anything, it is now lying on its deathbed, with its soul silently slipping away from its debilitated body. As we enter 2015, we will remember 2014 as the year when we didn’t realize that alay was no longer with us (Oh, fuck you, hipsters! I hope you’re happy now!). So, here are the five best alay tracks of all time:  

Wali —  Cari Jodoh

The cultural pendulum shifted from Bandung to Ciputat when five lads from Universitas Islam Negeri Syarif Hidayatullah rocked the local musical scene with their thinly veiled sarcasm. Wali has no qualms about making fun of you people who are just too unattractive to get a girlfriend, or, you know, a wife. It’s deeper than Radiohead’s ‘Creep.’ And funnier than Blur’s ‘Charmless Man.’ It’s a sad parody of The Smiths’ ‘I Know It’s Over.’

D’Bagindas — C.I.N.T.A

I don’t know much about these guys. But they are arguably the only Indonesian band who can write love songs like John Lennon did. This song is alay at its sweetest. We often sing about ‘cinta’, but we never spell it to realize how foreign the word is. D’Bagindas were not as big as Kangen or Wali. They’re like the Pearl Jam of alay. If D’Bagindas were grunge, they would be placed somewhere between Nirvana and Alice in Chains. 

ST12 — Cari Pacar Lagi

Don Juan is Charly the frontman of this great band? And this is how he shows it to the world? And he’s proud of it? Haha. You listen to the song the wrong way. This is a clever song about moving on from a bad breakup. You people who are still obsessed with their exes should have this track on your playlist. You don’t need Belle and Sebastians!

Payung Teduh — Berdua Saja

Alay never tries to be poetic. When it does, it fails. Like this song. But this is what defines them. They never aspire to become Kanton Bagaskara or Leonard Cohen. It is safe to say that Payung Teduh has brought the alay-ness of writing corny lyrics to a whole new level. This is why they stand up from the other alay bands like Kangen or ST12, who fiercely reject the idea that a good song must have good lyrics. As Andika says, ‘We are musicians. We make music. We are not poets. We’re not writing a fucking poetry. Deal with it.”

Kangen Band — Yolanda

Kangen is still the best alay of all time. Heck, they created the alay genre from scratch! And this song cemented its reputation as one of the most influentiual Indonesian bands since perhaps Guruh Gypsy. Lyrically, ‘Yolanda’ is our very own ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night.’ Sonically, it’s our ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ A classic indeed.

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