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The best National Day songs of all time

Love it or hate it – we share our top NDP songs from the past 20 years

Written by
Time Out Singapore editors
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Another year, another National Day song. Rate it or hate it – it’s the one thing that defines the National Day Parade other than the exuberant displays, large-scale performances, and over-the-top fireworks. Cheesy, cringe-worthy but somewhat catchy, these guilty pleasures hit big on the nostalgia factor. We tap into our sensitive side and talk about some of our favourite National Day songs which make us feel all warm and fuzzy. After all, it's not a National Day song if it doesn't tap on nostalgia. 

RECOMMENDED: The guide to National Day and the best places to catch fireworks for free on National Day

The Road Ahead by various artists (2021)

"There's always a sense of apprehension every time a new national song is introduced each year but I have to say, I honestly do like the song for this year. In terms of diversity, you have it with the different singers in the song. As a designer, the video was a delight to watch with the cute illustrations. Being in the TikTok generation, I thought it was very savvy for them to introduce a dance along with the song – but of course, in a weird way, the song also spawned a meme of people dancing to it... violently. So ultimately, the song is a success to me. It has the feels, the aesthetics and also the LOLs."

– Kashmira Kasmuri, Designer

Everything I Am by Nathan Hartono (2020)

"With all the events that have happened in 2020 and 2021 (yes Covid-19, we mean you mostly), the song entitled Everything I Am is mellower and more emotional than the clap-along anthems that have rolled out in the previous years. In it, Hartono sings "Show me how I should be strong / Teach me that I can be weak" – perhaps some of the more tender lyrics we've seen in a National Day song, which usually focus on success, victories and being the very best. Still, what's an NDP song without the corny bits like referring to Singapore as a "precious jewel in my hand" – but we'll take it."

- Delfina Utomo, Editor

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Room at the Table by Charlie Lim (2020)

"Following his part in the 2018 update of We Are Singapore, singer-songwriter Charlie Lim has extended his own prelude into a full-fledged song that opened the NDP celebrations last year. This stripped-down version is laced with a sense of vulnerability that mirrors the feeling when you have a soft spot for someone. Together with nothing but a guitar and the rawness of Charlie's intimate vocals and lyrics, you can say this song doubles as a love letter to Singapore. Plus, proceeds earned was donated to Migrant Workers’ Charities."

- Cam Khalid, former City Life Writer

Our Singapore by various artists (2019)

“Not gonna lie, I had chills the first time I listened to 2019’s NDP song, Our Singapore. The nostalgia of Stefanie Sun’s We Will Get There performed by legends like Rahimah Rahim and Jacintha Abisheganaden combined with the vocals of new-kids-on-the-block – and actual children – never fail to pull at the heartstrings. Seeing everyone come together to pull this off reminds me that we are indeed one people, one nation and one Singapore.”

– Nicole-Marie Ng, former Editor

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We Are Singapore by various artists (2018)

“Cover songs are either a hit or miss, and this modern take on the 1987 classic by Charlie Lim fares better than the original. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still quite forgettable compared to previous NDP songs but the diversity in both song and video makes up for it. Plus, extra brownie points for the cats. Oh, and rapping the Singapore pledge? What a time to be alive."

– Cam Khalid, former City Life Writer

Reach Out For The Skies by Taufik Batisah and Rui En (2005)

“Fresh from winning the first Singapore Idol, the charismatic Taufik Batisah was the talk of the town and every Singaporean teen was gushing over him – making this song a popular one. I remember doing the simple choreography with my friends and pretending that we were Taufik, Rui En and the dancers. If you ask me to show you the dance steps, I’ll gladly perform it for you!”

– Kashmira Kasmuri, Designer

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Where I Belong by Tanya Chua (2001)

“Every year, like a routine, we get a new shopping mall, a Jack Neo movie and a National Day theme song – that we never asked for. None of them has drawn any strong reactions from except maybe 2001's NDP theme song Where I Belong. Yes, I agree there can be nothing as great, wholesome and mainstream as Home but this is a close second. Besides, as a history enthusiast, I appreciate vintage footage of the Singapore skyline."

– Delfina Utomo, Editor

Moments of Magic by Tanya Chua, Fann Wong and Elsa (1999)

“This song is truly a ~magical~ bop. It’s also our official millennium song that brought together an epic trio of Fann Wong (homegirl can sing!), Tanya Chua and Elsa Lin. And since we probably won’t live to hear the next millennium NDP song, this one’s all we’ve got.”

– Fabian Loo, Food & Drink Writer

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Home by Kit Chan (1998)

“Dick Lee’s surprisingly relatable song has probably hit home (pun absolutely intended) at some point in our lives, especially for those who are away from Singapore for an extended period of time. Whether we’re homesick for the efficient transport system, fuss-free kopitiam culture, mouthwatering local cuisine, or the weather, this song reminds us that sometimes we do take our sunny island for granted.”

– Dewi Nurjuwita, Art & Culture Editor

Celebrate National Day the Singaporean way

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