Album review - Amanda Tee's - Amnesiac


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A review of Amanda Tee’s EP Amnesiacs by Farid FGL Long

I love being the host of soft TV’s “The Singer Songwriter Series”. Being an exponent of music styles, this journey has allowed me to meet, interview, promote and sometimes collaborate with some of the best up and coming musicians in Singapore and beyond. In these sessions I can chat with the artistes and I can get a better understanding of them. Recently I had the pleasure of hosting Amanda Tee.

I recall first knowing Amanda Tee in – the music forum which is the “big brother” of Soft TV around ten years ago. Meeting her the studios for the very first time, somehow felt like meeting an old friend. It’s hard to describe. I had never met her before but 5 minutes after I did, we were chatting like old school chums. Her laid back, easy going nature and willingness to discuss her music in depth made it easy for me. We “host” appreciate that more than the audience knows.

Amnesiac is Amanda’s 2nd EP release. She revealed that she was pleased with the production of the album and I cannot disagree with her. The songs are finely crafted. Her lyrics are “emo without being emo”- that’s the best way I can best describe them. None more so than on the title track “I can see you there” and “Hold that Thought”.

Although the album has a country / folksy feel to it, it also offers so much more. Amanda played most of the instruments on the album. Her acoustic and electric guitar work is just simply tasty. So good that her guitar solos breaks speaks to the listener as if they were old storytellers preaching the gospel of Amanda. The rhythm guitar work fit the songs as they should and when they should. Chunky in parts, delicate and warm in others. In addition, we are also treated to some excellent slide guitar work courtesy of local musician Clement Yang who sessions on Hold that thought.


Pardon the pun but the album opener feels like a “good morning wakeup call” and is far from being about the inability to sleep. arrival. The refrain “I been wondering all of my life” (I found it) leaves no doubt of the positive vibe the tune seems to pollinate.

Hold that thought
I am unabashed to say that this is my favorite song in the album. It speaks of the underdog going after the impossible dreams. Amanda put it best describing it in somewhat cinema graphic terms: A young commoner goes all out to win the princess. “I’m standing here daring you to love me but I know what you would say” – the penultimate line of the song pretty much royally trumpets what she is talking about. The hero doesn’t know he is one until he becomes on.

The only captain of the ship
One of the more reflective or “emo” songs of the album, the tune begins with the sonic reminders of fog horns and a creaking sea faring vessel from another age. The lyrics may be ambiguous when first hearing them but hints at being introspective. The line “You are not getting a younger so leave me be” could be directed at lost love or herself. Hard one to call.

I can feel you there
The album’s first single is probably the most up tempo and infectious number of the album. It features an absolutely wonderful harmony vocal from Nelson Tan. It is so good that it makes you wish you were the one who was one singing with Amanda instead. Amanda’s choice of notes in her guitar is concise and precise and reminds me of the later Dire Straits records. Hit single material indeed.

The cat
Musically and lyrically the Cat is the most whimsical track. The vocal arrangement is the likeness of a combination of Queen and The Bare Naked Ladies. Quirky chord changes and playful words brings out the feline qualities in this little ditty.

The song comprises a travis picked acoustic guitar, shaker and some well-placed harmony vocals in the first verse. Muted keys adorn the second verse and an overdubbed acoustic solo. A song pretty much stripped bare and once again, exactly as it should be.

Jackie’s lament
I had the privilege to enjoy Amanda’s performance of this Jackie’s lament live and up close on soft TV. She plays a 12 string guitar masterfully on this track and sings with such feeling that the listener is convinced that “Jacky doesn’t feel a thing”. The album cut features some delightful harmony vocals and somber cello fills that enhances the track’s moodiness. A song that could make a strong man weep.

You can watch Amanda Tee’s appearance on soft TV at:

To learn more about Amanda Tee check out her website at

Amanda admits to having, among others, a strong country music and folk influence, stating Taylor Swift and Allison Krausse as some of her influences. This is reflected in her unpretentious and strong vocals. Her voice is easy on the ear, from her breathless whispers- like lines in the ballads like Jackie’s Lament to the stronger vocal styling in “The Cat Sleeps”. Clever use of harmony vocals punctuates the album periodically. That would probably be Amanda’s “Back Street Boys” vocal influence. Quite honestly if the listener didn’t know who they were hearing, the would have assumed it was some Middle American cross over artiste. Listen carefully and you will hear Amanda’s Singaporean roots in vocal delivery in the most subtle of ways.

Overall the orchestration of the songs are minimalistic and rightly so. The arrangements are as fitting as a velvet glove. Everything suits and matches the feel of the album, even Amanda’s “no frills, good ole girl look -checked shirt and a moody unsmiling face on the cover perfectly mirrors her true personality, which I having met and hosted can attest to.

A gem of a record. Get it and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.