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Sean Tobin: Buro 24/7 Singapore Playlist #149

Melodic melancholic

Text: Sean Tobin

SOTA's head of theatre Sean Tobin shares a playlist that gives him hope through challenging times

I tend to be drawn to music that's both melodic and melancholic, and I like sounds that are both experimental and classic. Vocals are important to me too, as well as solid lyrics. No predictable, shallow fluff for me — although I like some playfulness and whimsy too. Life gets pretty rough, and it's not always easy to find music that both acknowledges just how rough it is, but also channels some hope and maybe even stir up some courage. I've pulled together songs that I tend to listen to when I need to process the toughness and darkness but also find some genuine light. If I ever get to share a playlist with you again, I promise to give you something a bit brighter and wilder.

Sufjan Stevens is a bit of a master when it comes to writing songs of this ilk, so I had to include 'Casimir Pulaski Day', the first song of his that got me hooked onto him and through one of my roughest patches in life. Radiohead is another leader when it comes to music that's also pretty cynical and brooding. But 'The Numbers' is probably one of their most utterly positive tracks.

'Mantra' is my son's favourite song to listen to when we are winding down to sleep next to each other on the weekends. I love Susanne Sundfør's music. It's such a rich blend of sweet tragedy and abandon, and with some of the most exquisite vocals and melodies. I discovered her through her collaborations with Royksopp. If you haven't heard Fever Ray's latest offering, 'Plunge', you should check it out. I've included one of Karin Dreijer's best tracks, 'Mustn't Hurry' from the album. She sings a lot about her middle aged family life as a mother and about her own personal and sexual liberation.

I've included a track from local electronic duo .gif. 'Song Six' is a gorgeously sweet song that expresses a rich and wonderful swirl of hope and doom, love and fear — delicious poetic ruminations, with a nice bite.

Sean Tobin is the artistic director of M1 Singapore Fringe Festival and head of theatre at SOTA.

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