Sometimes all a song needs is a beautiful voice, simple lyrics, & an easy arrangement on acoustic guitar. In fact: if songwriters and singers are the gardeners of the musical land, I’d say sometimes we get over-involved in the way we nurture the seed of a melody – we talk to each other about what new, exotic plants we’re importing to infuse our sound, the newest fertilizers meant to “boost” the production, hang trellises and buy books on the best way to design the space and place the sound in the ear.

And all of that is fun, and exciting, and wonderful in a lot of ways.

But it’s always a little funny when we remember nature already has this all down – from growing to singing – seeds sprouting wildflowers beautiful because they’re unkempt, birdsong melodious and bright without our accompaniment.

So, sometimes simple lyrics, simple arrangements, simple voices blossom so easily without add-ins. 

“Tik Tik Tik” is a single from a young, Indonesian artist named Airin Daniella. At only sixteen, Airin has so much of life to live and learn, and “Tik Tik Tik” is one such experimentation, a divergence from her current roster of chill-pop songs inspired by sweet, upbeat acts like K-Pop’s NewJeans.

“Tik Tik Tik” isn’t an addictively danceable pop beat – it’s more like the staging of a contemporary ballerina in an all-black set. It’s serious, gentle, brief. The “subject” itself – the tik tik tik sound of rain as it patters down – is mundane yet magical. I’m reminded of William Carlos Williams’ imagist poem, “The Red Wheelbarrow”:

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

With music composed by Roedyanto Wasito, the song is itself in Indonesian, lyrics providing its own imagist poetry of a rainy day, the roof shaking with the scattered sound, and the fleeting feelings of longing for one not present.

tik tik tik
the sound of the raindrops
get wet
precarious my house

The song evokes similar lyrics of a classic Indonesian lullaby, “Tik Tik Bunyi Hujan“, making its sense of nostalgia and innocence particularly evocative. This sound – particularly gentle, magical, and cathartic – is reminiscent of the soft fairy-tale mysticism of Ruth B.’s “Lost Boy“, or dodie’s lullaby-adjacent music.

tell a sweet story
time I see
with you
our story has just begun

As the song peters out, Airin relishes in the awareness that this moment of gloomy weather is only a pause, that when it ends people will all go back as normal and the day will begin again. 

I think of when I was her age – how I felt this constant future-mindedness, a need to push forward and “grow up”, to achieve as much as possible and start my life. But as adults, we naturally come to appreciate those pauses – the moments in between – much more, and harangue to little avail on its necessity to the younger generation.

I have no doubts Airin will succeed in music as she continues to make a name for herself, and I’ll be there to see where her talent takes her.

But for now, I’m happy to relish at the rest point.

We all have gardens we’re tending to, but some days the rain takes care of it for us. Stuck inside, were forced to admire what we’ve done so far. Nothing more – no plans. Just a pause, and the sound of rain.

Tik tik tik.