From Nicky Astria with love – Semua Dari Cinta (an opinion on 1984 debut album)

Nicky Astria is yet another lady rocker to mention in my quest to get familiar with the music of the great era of 1980s and 1990s. Moreover, she’s had a comeback in 2019 and she’s still active, so that’s also another reason not to overlook her.

So far I’ve covered albums from Inka Christie, Yosie Lucky and Conny Dio, and it’s time to get a look at (or listen to) this famous Indonesian singer.

Nicky Astria

“Semua Dari Cinta” is her debut album, which, according to sources, has flopped. Quite surprising start for one of the most famous Indonesian rock singers. I suspect the responsibility for it lies with the designer who has designed the tape cover( the tape image above). Like, really…what the hell were people thinking?

Anyway, this album contains 12 tracks and little over 50 minutes of music, so that’s definitely one worth the money.

Starting with “Tinggal Legenda”, this pop song boasts of the help of the Indonesian rock legend, the guitarist Ian Antono (the guitarist from God Bless). It’s a lightweight song, exactly in the vein of 80s pop. It might sound silly now, but hey, no laughing! 80s were fantastic!

As expected, a ballad cannot be missing, and here it comes in the form of track number 2, “Damai Di Hati”. Nicky certainly can say she has the best song creators helping her, behind this song is a drumming legend of Indonesia, Jelly Tobing. You can already hear the power in Nicky’s voice here and although I’d prefer little more rock (and little less bells) here, the song is certainly not a bad one. Just grab your significant one, play the song…and ask them if they object to it. See? Lakmus test of the ballad!

“Semua Dari Cinta” is not only the title of the album, but also the third track, from the creative mind of Tarida Hutahuruk. I haven’t been able to find much information about this person, but the song is interesting – it’s partly a slow rock, partly a curiously sounding pop. It’s certainly weird (although not in a bad sense), and probably the more memorable song here. At least for me, I like it a lot.

Playing “Remang-remang Dirimu”, this is another ballad, this one comes from Hermes Sihombing…and it’s no less unexpecting than the previous one. I am thinking of “female crooner” to describe this one (although there’s no big band), but the vocal style reminds me of the big band singers very strongly. I’ starting to feel really old now, but I’m not bothered. It’s OK with me.

…back in the day

Almost in the middle of the album (just one song short), “Bencana” is this nice romantic song from Diana Imam for the summer nights on the beach. The keyboards and the main piano are great companions to Nicky’s performance and the instrumental part could easily fit into any 1980s movie. This is another hit for me, especially for the nostalgia it carries.

Six is a half dozen, and here it means to listen to “Jangan Sedih” (from a composer Harry Sabar). Now, if you are old enough to remember 1980s, you will recall the great joy composers and musicians have been using (and sometimes overusing) the various sound effects which were becoming more and more available. This song reminds me of that trend, it’s synthetized sound is interesting, although I have to, sadly, admit, it didn’t grab me as much as previous song.

With the first half behind, what to say about the song opening the second half? “Hari Yang Indah” (from a composer Richard Kyoto) is, again, the pure 1980 spirit embodied in a music track. Synthetisers, background vocals and somewhat funny melody…it reminds me of old songs from that era from my country. They were terrible (let’s face the facts), but still, somewhat very funny and enjoyable. And that’s what can be said about this song too, I guess.

“Rinduku Diatas Dipan Usang” …because there are never ballads. This, surprisingly, is a duet (but I don’t know who with, maybe the composer Bucky Wikagoe?). Again, not bad track, and I am pretty sure that’s how duets should sound. You can’t really say anything bad about it, however, it’s quite generic, so I am pretty sure you won’t remember it (unless you’ll play the album for quite a few repeats). But play it while I am dancing…and you can play it all night long, I won’t care.

You’re falling asleep? “Jangan Sok Aksi” comes to rescue. Composed by Maxie Mamiri (or Mamirie), the Indonesian pop artist from 1980s, the song tries hard, but I couldn’t somewhat get my head around it. That guitar solo in the end was nice though.

“Langkah Kemenangan” is a synthetiser-driven ballad and while it’s not the best song of the album, it’s definitely among the best here. Composed by a famous James F. Sundah, from the gentle start the song fully develops into a catchy tune with a great guitar solo and Nicky’s voice sounding really, really great, the song gives her the possibility to utilize her voice.

If you haven’t known that “Ya, Aku Disini” had been composed by Titiek Hamzah, the former bass player and vocalist from a legendary female rock group Dara Puspita, now you know. What a song! It’s really hard to describe it, but it’s quite touching. I don’t know, maybe it’s that female songwriting which makes it so extraordinary, but that’s definitely a highlight of the album. Indeed it is!

Nicky Astria nowadays
Nicky Astria nowadays

And because everything has to end sometimes, this album ends too, with the “Selamat Malam Kasih” (composed by another famous Indonesian musician, Drakhma drummer Dani Mamesah), the easy slowrock song, some arrangements remind me of the 1970 soundtrack, which you might find objectable, but I find pleasant and interesting.

And that’s the debut album from Nicky Astria. It’s quite all around the place, but it has the vibe. And a few great songs to enjoy.

Check for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhvWbrgskfc&pp=sAQA

Follow Nicky Astria on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nikki_nick04/

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I am the founder/owner and editor-in-chief of the Rubber Axe webzine, the underground/overground cultural publication, publishing also this website dedicated to all things Indonesian. I'm a happily married guy with 2 kids and a fantastic wife, and I'm a relentless discoverer of all things cultural and culinary. An everlasting dreamer and idealist.

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