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Photo credit: YOUTUBE/THE CAIFAN SONG VIA ANNETTE LEE

What makes ‘The Caifan Song’ so good?

The tongue-in-cheek song has accumulated over 555,000 views on YouTube.

Matthaeus Choo
Matthaeus Choo

Published: 28 September 2021, 2:16 PM

Annette Lee and Benjamin Kheng have captured the hearts and ears of Singaporeans again this past week with their tongue-in-cheek celebration of all things caifan. 

Its catchy chorus has probably been stuck in your head since you first heard it — but you probably won’t be alone. Since its release on Sep 17, the music video has already accumulated over 555,000 views on YouTube with a seemingly endless stream of comments showering the song with praises. 

Parodies and comedy songs have long been staple hits amongst Singaporeans. Those from Don and Drew, mrbrown and The Muttons still hold a special place in our hearts. Similarly, relatability has almost always been a necessary ingredient in comedy. Couple that with Singaporeans’ understated pride and love for their culture and it’s not difficult to decipher the building blocks for The Caifan Song’s success.

 

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A snapshot of the comments section of “The Caifan Song”. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM YOUTUBE/THE CAIFAN SONG

 

But could there be more to the song than being #relatable? Definitely!

Previously on The Ann & Ben Show, the multitalented duo similarly tackled lighthearted issues and familiar trends. What makes the duo stand out is their musical talents and how they are able to craft songs based on genres, instead of straight-up parodies of Western pop songs.

Their songs thrive on being unexpected pairings between genre and theme.

K-DRAMADDICTION sees them take on the locally distant genre of country music and yet, somehow, manages to craft a love letter to the popularity of Korean dramas and all their familiar quirks. The Caning Song jumps into hip hop to bring levity to another familiar yet possibly traumatic experience for many Singaporeans. 

The Caifan Song is the duo’s biggest hit so far possibly because of how it’s the closest to home genre and thematic-wise. The song is essentially a dramatic, singable love ballad in the style of Mandarin pop stars such as JJ Lin and Stefanie Sun – the comment about wanting to sing The Caifan Song at the KTVs isn’t coincidental. 

 

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Who can resist a plate of cai fan? PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTUBE/THE CAIFAN SONG VIA ANNETTE LEE

 

The music videos also do a lot of the heavy lifting. There is always tongue-of-cheek humour at work. In The Caifan Song, the duo elevates a dish, known for being the go-to economic meal option, to grandiose culinary heights. 

There is also the playful naivety of quirks while ordering caifan, such as believing wholeheartedly that the store uncle or auntie really mean it when they call you handsome or pretty. 

Benjamin Kheng and Annette Lee’s comedic chops are what makes these videos stand out too, committing wholeheartedly to their roles while being unafraid to err towards making fun of themselves or hamming it up for the camera. 

Yet, arguably, the duo’s most impressive talent by far is their vocals. They excel even while genre-hopping and with The Caifan Song, their powerful and entrancing vocals are on full display.

And besides, the song is just really catchy.

It will be exciting to see what the duo has in store for everyone next. A song about TikTok trends done in the style of Elvis? An emo pop punk ballad about being young parents? If there’s anyone that can make them work, it’s Ann & Ben. 


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