Entertainment, Music

(Not Only) Birit To Win It: The Various Types of Today’s Singing Contest Participants

Tawag ng Tanghalan, Birit Baby, Birit Queen, Star Quest, Star for A Night, Star in A Million, Search for A Star, Pinoy Pop Superstar, Pinoy Dream Academy, The Voice, The Clash, name them! Singing competitions have always been part of the Filipino culture, not only on television, but also in various communities (especially in the provinces’ festivities), school programs, and even in corporate Christmas parties.

Back then, a contestant can only win if she can belt the highest possible notes a la Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and other contemporaries. For the case of male participants, they can only win if they can croon either a la Basil Valdez or Martin Nievera. However, the singing contest culture in the Philippines is quite different nowadays. More and more genres are becoming more acceptable in the mainstream and singers of non-birit genres are now having wider fan bases.

Wait a second, what are the different types of singing contest participants?

The Bigtime Biriteras. Their vocal power and range are sky-is-the-limit, which usually impress the panel of judges, as well as the audiences. Bonus points for being able to sing in their whistle registers a la Mariah Carey.

THE SETLIST (commonly performed songs):
Mariah Carey’s songs: Hero, Vision of Love, Love Takes Time, Emotions (heavy on whistle registers), Through the Rain

Celine Dion’s songs: To Love You More (popularized by Star For A Night Grand Champion Sarah Geronimo during her stint in the said competition), All By Myself (originally by Eric Carmen; Everybody slays on the long “anymore” change key.), It’s All Coming Back To Me Now (originally by Pandora’s Box), My Heart Will Go On

Whitney Houston’s songs: Saving All My Love for You, One Moment In Time, I Will Always Love You (especially the long “I” in the last refrain), I Have Nothing, Run To You, Queen of the Night

Regine Velasquez’s songs: Narito Ako, On the Wings of Love (originally by Jeffrey Osbourne; became a big hit in Velasquez’s best-selling album R2K), You’ll Never Walk Alone (originally from the musical “Carousel”), What Kind of Fool Am I (originally from the musical “Stop the World – I Want to Get Off), I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing (originally by Aerosmith; also became a big hit in Velasquez’s best-selling album R2K), Pangako (composed by now-husband Ogie Alcasid for 2001 film “Pangako, Ikaw Lang”), Dadalhin, Pangarap Ko Ang Ibigin Ka (from 2003 film of the same title; also composed by Alcasid), Shine (originally sung by Ima Castro)

Aegis’s songs: Halik, Luha, Basang-Basa Sa Ulan

Songs from the musical “Dreamgirls”: One Night Only, And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going), Listen, I Am Changing

Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire”
Little Mix’s “Secret Love Song”
Loren Allred’s “Never Enough”
Wendy Moten’s “Come In Out of the Rain” (popularized by Star In A Million First Runner-Up Sheryn Regis during her stint in the said competition)

Lani Misalucha’s “Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin”
Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”
Dianne Reeves’s “Better Days”

The Balladeers. Being the male counterpart of belters, their winning formula is their crooning style and vocal power.

THE SETLIST (commonly performed songs):
Josh Groban’s songs: You Raise Me Up, To Where You Are

Basil Valdez’s songs: Ngayon at Kailanman, Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo, Hanggang Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, Kastilyong Buhangin, Say That You Love Me (popularized by Martin Nievera)

Martin Nievera’s songs: Kahit Isang Saglit (originally by Vernie Varga), Ikaw Ang Pangarap (from 2007 teleserye “Lobo”), Be My Lady, You Are My Song (The last part of the bridge, “With you in my heart in my soul, you’re my love you’re my song” is peppered with triplets, which makes the song more challenging to perform.)

Gary Valenciano’s songs: Wag Ka Nang Umiyak (originally by Sugarfree; used for primetime series “Ang Probinsyano”), Tayong Dalawa (originally by Rey Valera), Natutulog Ba Ang Diyos, Narito, Gaya Ng Dati, Take Me Out of the Dark, Ikaw Lamang (from 2005 film “Dubai”)

Leo Valdez’s “Magsimula Ka”
“This Is the Moment” from Jekyll and Hyde (popularized by Star In A Million Grand Champion Erik Santos during his stint in the said competition)

The Rock Balladeers. Mostly male singers, their weapons are their vocal range and angst. For the case of female singers, huskiness is more of their singing style, rather than a flaw.

THE SETLIST (commonly performed songs):

Journey’s songs: Open Arms, Faithfully, Don’t Stop Believing

Queen’s songs: We Are the Champions, Bohemian Rhapsody (“I see a little silhouette-o of a man, scaramouche, scaramouche…”), Too Much Love Will Kill You (popularized by Pilipinas Got Talent Season 1 Grand Champion Jovit Baldivino during his stint in the said competition)

Air Supply’s songs: Goodbye, All Out of Love, Here I Am, Even the Nights Are Better, Just As I Am; A medley of their songs, which included The One That You Love, Now and Forever, and Without You, made Noven Belleza win the first season of Tawag ng Tanghalan.

Bad English’s “When I See You Smile”

The Improvisers. They are the new “dark horses” in televised singing competitions. They slay the stage by “owning” (more of experimenting with) the songs they perform. Experimentations may include runs, falsettos, scats, and dynamic variations. For them, every song may be reconstructed into a contest piece, as long as they are able to perform it excellently in their own genre. More freedom is given to the resident music arranger/s as well. X-Factor Philippines Grand Champion KZ Tandingan (Check out her version of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly.”), Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 1’s Songsmith Froilan Canlas (Check out his heavily jazzed up version of Pilita Corrales’s “Dahil Sa’yo”.), and Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 3 10-time Defending Champion now Grand Finalist Elaine Duran (Check out her R&B blues aria version of Up Dharma Down’s “Oo”.) fall into this category.

These are just some of the commonly encountered types of singing contest participants. However, delivering a heartfelt performance is the most important, regardless of the singing style being performed.

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Entertainment, Music

Remembering Rico J. Puno

“Macho gwapito raw ako, kinagigiliwan dahil may pangalan.”

Whenever I hear the name Rico J. Puno, the first thing that comes into my mind is the song “Macho Gwapito.” Since the peak of his career in the 1970s until a few months ago, this song has always been part of his repertoire in every show he became part of, whether on television (Remember when he blurted out, “Are you happy?” during his performances in Pilipinas Win na Win?) or during concerts in the country or abroad.

Aside from “Macho Gwapito,” Puno’s other major hit songs were “May Bukas Pa,” “Kapalaran,” “Lupa,” and many more. He has also released his own version of Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were,” with additional lyrics in Tagalog.

This morning, a news has been circulated on Facebook which saddened the Filipino music industry.

The Macho Gwapito legend has passed away, due to cardiac arrest. He may have already passed away, but his music will always be remembered.

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Entertainment, Music

PHILPOP 2018 Top 10 Finalists (A Review)

During the Pinoy Playlist concert held at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater on October 18, the Top 10 finalists for the Philpop Festival were announced. From the Top 30, the Top 10 finalists were selected, based on the following criteria:

                            50% – judges
                            25% – online streaming
                            25% SMART People’s Choice (through SMS and Twitter’s
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With a total of 100%.

The Finals Night will be held on December 2 at the Capitol Commons in Pasig City.

Here are the Top 10 entries for Philpop. In this post, I will describe some of the song’s details, in terms of lyrics and musical content, as well as my verdict.

  1. Ako Ako 

Ako Ako” is a pop-rock song composed by Jeriko Buenafe and interpreted by alternative rock band Feel Day and theater actor Hans Dimayuga. It talks about two men fighting over a woman who is struggling to choose between the two. The “Sabi niya ako” counterpoint was seamless that it actually represented how the two men argued over the woman they like.

2. Di Ko Man

Di Ko Man” is a fresh take on OPM. Since the Filipino music industry is dominated by the Tagalogs, BisPop has become alive once again, after the eras of Max Surban and Yoyoy Villame. Composed and interpreted by Ferdinand Aragon, it is a Cebuano song with an indie-ish acoustic feel. It talks about the traditional concept of love: untainted and innocent.

 

3. Isang Gabing Pag-ibig

Isang Gabing Pag-ibig” is a ballad composed by Carlo Angelo David and interpreted by Tawag ng Tanghalan’s “Balladeer Extraordinaire” Jex de Castro. It talks about experiencing love at first sight. De Castro’s voice was full of emotions in the chorus and bridge parts and his dynamic levels were varied. Not to mention, de Castro’s voice was reminiscent of Lee Ryan, lead singer of British boy band Blue.

4. Kariton

In a sea of love songs, “Kariton” is a song that rather focuses on a social issue.  Composed by Philip Arvin Jarilla and interpreted by Acapellago, it talks about the daily struggles of every Filipino who makes a living with his kariton (cart). Countertenor Almond Bolante’s solo parts in the first stanza were powerful, as well as his ad-lib parts towards the latter part of the song. The harmony, arranged by JC Jose, was also performed seamlessly. The keyboard and guitar progressions added strength to the song.

5. Laon Ako

Laon Ako” is written by Elmar Bolaño and Donel Trasporto and interpreted by singer-comedian Kakai Bautista (Remember Rak of Aegis?). While “laon” means that something is not that fresh anymore like rice, it has a feminist theme, which tells that having a significant other is not that important to make a woman become fulfilled. Apart from her birit routine performed on television, Bautista’s vocals were rather light, which matched with the song’s theme.

6. Loco de Amor

“Loco de Amor” is a humorous song composed by Edgardo Miraflor Jr. and interpreted by the BennyBunnyBand. With the song’s Afro-Latin musical theme, it talks about a man who has an affinity with an allegedly Spanish girl. Hence, the heavily corrupted Spanish lyrics. Since “Loco de Amor” is loosely translated as “crazy in love,” some words and names associated with sex were even included, such as the association of “sabor” (taste) to a girl and “Mang Kanor,” an infamous person associated with sex scandals.

7. Nanay Tatay

Nanay Tatay” is another song that tackled a social issue. Composed and interpreted by Chud Festejo, it talks about the different types of street children: beggar, Sampaguita vendor, and even a drug pusher. It also talks about child trafficking. The usage of the “Nanay, tatay” game song was witty, which added impact to the song’s overall narration. The “Isa, isa dalawa,” hook added impact to the song’s overall theme.

8. Pilipit

Pilipit” is a song written by Sean Gabriel Cedro and John Ray Reodique. Interpreted by Julian Trono, it talks about a man who is struggling to confess his feelings to the girl he likes.

9. Tama Na

Tama Na” is a ballad composed by Michael Rodriguez and Jeanne Columbine Rodriguez. Interpreted by “Suklay Diva” Katrina Velarde, the song talks about closure of a failed relationship and starting over a new one. The song’s instrumentation needed more variations to allow Velarde to variate her vocal ability as well. Velarde’s voice was undeniably powerful, however.

10. Yun Tayo

Yun Tayo” is a pop-rock song composed by Donnalyn Onilongo and interpreted by the Gracenote band. It talks about frequent cancellations of plans (lakad, in Tagalog) by making various excuses. The song’s feel is suitable for driving.

 

Those are the Top 10 entries for this year’s Philpop. Given the comments I have stated, my top entries for this year are the following: Aragon’s “Di Ko Man,” de Castro’s “Isang Gabing Pag-ibig,” Acapellago’s “Kariton, Bautista’s “Laon Ako,” Festejo’s “Nanay Tatay,” and BennyBunnyBand’s “Loco de Amor.” 

 

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Music, Television

Himig Handog 2018: Love Songs and Love Stories Top 10 (REVIEW)

This Sunday, October 21, Himig Handog will feature “Dalawang Pag-ibig Niya” (a collaboration between Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids Season 2’s “Precious Darling” Krystal Brimner, Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids “Inday Wonder” Sheenna Belarmino, and MNL 48) and “Mas Mabuti Pa” (by Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 2 Grand Champion Janine Berdin). “Kababata” and “Sugarol” will also be featured. The grand finals will be held on November 25, 2018, also aired in ASAP.

This article will give you guys a sneak peek of each entry, as well as my reviews.

Here are the top 10 entries for this year’s Himig Handog Love Songs and Love Stories.

“Dalawang Pag-ibig Niya” is a collaboration between Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids’ “Inday Wonder” Sheenna Belarmino, Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids Season 2’s “Precious Darling” Krystal Brimner, and all-girl group MNL 48. The song was written by Bernard Reforsado of Albay. It is an EDM (Electronic Dance Music) fit for pre-teens, almost similar to K-Pop (think of Momoland) and J-Pop. The song speaks of a girl having a crush on someone who rather chose the girl who is more “pabebe” (acting cute) than her. It also talks about social media romances, such as stalking and existence of posers.

“Hati na Lang Tayo Sa Kanya” is interpreted by Tawag ng Tanghalan’s “Powerhouse Performer” Eumee and actor JC Santos. Written by Joseph Santiago of Quezon City, it talks about a woman’s willingness to share the love of her life with another woman. In fact, looking at the song’s lyrics, it is fit to become a soundtrack of a mistress-themed drama (e.g., The Legal Wife). It is a power ballad where Eumee’s voice was a mix of Jessie J and Lara Fabian (Remember Broken Vow?). While Eumee’s vocals characterized the “wife,” Santos’s speech signified the man being fought for. However, the song’s interpretation could have been more effective if another female singer would have a contrapuntal part with Eumee’s parts. The most I could idealize with this song is that the second female part would act as the “third wheel” or the “mistress.”

“Kababata,” written by John Micheal Edixon of Parañaque was an R&B ballad interpreted by Kyla and Kritiko. Reminiscent of Gloc 9’s themes, Kritiko’s parts narrated how his childhood with his girl friend went, until the girl underwent a major tragedy in her life. Kyla’s ad-libs in the part, “Bakit nila sa’yo ‘to nagawa?” signified the girl’s suffering, screaming for help.

“Mas Mabuti Pa,” is a collaborative work between Mhonver Lopez and Joanna Concepcion, both from Laguna, and sung by Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 2’s Grand Champion and “New Gem of OPM,” Janine Berdin. It is a pop-rock ballad, which spoke of a girl who gave up giving all her love as her efforts were rather snubbed. Despite her young age, Berdin was able to interpret the song to the extent that I got teary-eyed in most parts. She was also able to variate her dynamics as she maintained her husky pop-rock voice.

Robert William Pereña (of Dubai)’s “Para Sa Tabi,” is a light R&B song by BoybandPH. It talks about a man’s struggles being the “third wheel,” and reminds men not to rush things, especially love. The “Mama, para” hook was LSS-inducing that it would potentially become a radio hit soon. Their vocal blend was stellar, especially in the last line, “Diyan sa tabi,” that I would seriously recommend everyone to watch their ASAP performance video of the said song on YouTube. Attached is the link.

Kyle Raphael Borbon (of Davao)’s “Sa Mga Bituin Na Lang Ibubulong,” performed by actor JM de Guzman, is an indie ballad, synonymous to Sud’s. Unlike the rest of the entries, it is rather toned down.

“Sugarol,” written by Jan Sabili of Muntinlupa, is sung by actress Maris Racal. It is a waltz-like ballad, which talked about taking risks, despite experiencing false hopes in the past. The song could have progressed better if variations will be done in every stanza.

Sarah Jane Gandia (of USA)’s “Tinatapos Ko Na,” interpreted by Jona, talks about the closure of a romantic relationship. The song started quietly, which channeled Jona’s pure vocals as the instruments slowly entered. This song proved that Jona was more than just a belter. She was able to variate her dynamics, which enhanced the song’s heartbreaking theme.

Philip Arvin Janilla (of Antipolo)’s “Wakasan” is sung by Agsunta. The title may actually fool you because the song does not talk about closure. It talks about how society did not want the persona to become someone’s boyfriend. However, despite all odds, the persona does not give up until he is able to be with his loved one.

Last of the ten is “Wala Kang Alam,” sung by Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 1 First Runner-Up and “YouTube Idol” Sam Mangubat. It talks about how a man got left out of the blue in the middle of his struggles. It may pass as the male counterpart of Lopez and Concepcion’s “Mas Mabuti Pa.” It is a heavy ballad, synonymous to the ones sung by Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano. The instrumentation, which was heavy on timpani and strings, were reminiscent of Homer Flores’s arrangements for most of the teleserye soundtracks.

Of all the ten entries, here is my top 5: Hati Na Lang Tayo Sa Kanya, Kababata, Mas Mabuti Pa, Tinatapos Ko Na, and Para Sa Tabi. While Para Sa Tabi may become a potential radio hit, the most heartfelt interpretations were Hati Na Lang Tayo Sa Kanya and Tinatapos Ko Na.

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THE BIG THREE SONGWRITING COMPETITIONS: Philpop, Himig Handog, and ASOP

The season for songwriting competitions has come once again! Weeks ago, Himig Handog has already released its top ten song entries while Philpop has released its top 30 songs. As for ASOP, weekly eliminations are being held since December 2018.

With all of these updates, how does each songwriting competition differ from the other?

1. PHILPOP

The Philippine Popular Music Festival, more known as PHILPOP, is a project of the Philpop Music Fest Foundation established in 2012. It is a songwriting competition inspired by the defunct Metro Manila Popular Music Festival, more known as Metropop, where Philpop executive director Ryan Cayabyab became one of the winners with his entry, Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika. In 2012, the songs used to be released under Ivory Music and Video but 2013 and 2014 entries were under Universal Records. It was in 2015 up to the present when the songs were released under Viva Records.

Some of the songs from this competition that became major hits were the following: “Dati” (written by Thyro Alfaro and Yumi Lacsamana; interpreted by Sam Concepcion and Tippy Dos Santos), “Triangulo” (also by Alfaro and Lacsamana), and “Di Na Muli” (written by Jazz Nicolas and Wally Acolola; interpreted by Itchyworms and remade by Janine Teñoso).

Here are the top 30 songs for PHILPOP 2018:

2. Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs

Himig Handog is a songwriting competition operated by media conglomerate ABS-CBN and its affiliate record label, Star Music (formerly known as Star Records). It was first held in the year 2000 as “Himig Handog Para Sa Bayaning Pilipino” where the song entries were pertinent to heroism, such as Arnel De Pano’s “Lipad ng Pangarap” (interpreted by Dessa), Trina Belamide’s “Para Sa’yo” (interpreted by Dianne dela Fuente and the Bataoke Kids). In the year 2001, the competition’s theme was geared towards the youth, where it was known as “JAM: Himig Handog Sa Makabagong Kabataan.”

It was only in the year 2002 when the said songwriting competition fully focused on love songs. Some of the songs that rose to fame from this competition were the following: Angelo Villegas and Allan Feliciano’s “This Guy’s In Love With You, Pare” (interpreted by Parokya ni Edgar frontman Chito Miranda), Gigi and Ronaldo Cordero’s “Hanggang” (interpreted by Wency Cornejo), Soc Vilanueva’s “Kung Ako Na Lang Sana” (interpreted by Bituin Escalante, Jungee Marcelo’s “Nasa Iyo Na Ang Lahat” (interpreted by singer-actor Daniel Padilla), Jovinor Tan’s “Anong Nangyari Sa Ating Dalawa?” (interpreted by Ice Seguerra), Francis Louis Salazar’s “Akin Ka Na Lang” (interpreted by Morissette Amon), Edwin Marollano’s “Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako” (interpreted by KZ Tandingan), Jovinor Tan’s “Pare, Mahal Mo Raw Ako” (interpreted by Michael Pangilinan), Meljohn Magno’s “Simpleng Tulad Mo” (also interpreted by Padilla), and Libertine Amistoso’s “Titibo-Tibo” (interpreted by Moira dela Torre).

For this year, here are the top 10 finalists.

3. A Song of Praise (ASOP)

A Song of Praise, more known as ASOP, is a songwriting competition conceptualized by Eliserio Soriano (of Ang Dating Daan) and Daniel Razon. While PHILPOP and Himig Handog focused on showcasing newer materials for the popular music scene, ASOP is geared towards religious and inspirational songs. (Think of Hillsongs and 2000s Jamie Rivera.)

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Music

The “-Ber Months” Playlist in the Philippines

The Yuletide Season in the Philippines (unofficially but somehow) begins today! During the so-called “-ber” months, television networks, especially during morning shows (ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda and GMA Network’s Unang HIrit) and news programs (ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol and Bandila; GMA Network’s 24 Oras and Saksi; GMA News TV’s State of the Nation) start counting the remaining days to Christmas Day, December 25. Also, radio stations in the Philippines start playing recordings of Christmas carols on-air.
Before everything else, let me show you something.
Jose Mari Chan

My photo op with THE Jose Mari Chan during the 75th Anniversary of Quezon City concert at the Araneta Coliseum. (circa 2014)

According to a meme posted on Facebook, singer-songwriter Jose Mari Chan is “in control of the malls’ and radio stations’ playlists” during the -ber months. Chan’s songs, especially “Christmas In Our Hearts” and “A Perfect Christmas” have been two of the most frequently played songs on the radio during the -ber months. According to an FHM article written in 2017, the late Bella Tan, then-head of Universal Records initially thought that “A Perfect Christmas” was more fitting for radio airplay than “Christmas In Our Hearts.” However, “Christmas In Our Hearts” became a monster hit in the early 1990s and the album bearing the same title has gained the Double Diamond Record Award, one of the few best-selling albums in the Philippines of all-time.
“Let’s sing Merry Christmas and a happy holiday.
This season may we never forget the love we have for Jesus.
Let Him be the one to guide us as another New Year starts.
And may the spirit of Christmas be always in our hearts.”

 

Trio APO Hiking Society’s biggest Christmas hit was “Twelve Days of Pinoy Krismas,” which bears the same melody as “Twelve Days of Christmas,” but with a Filipino twist.
“Ika-labing dalawang araw ng Pasko, binigay sa’kin ng nobya ko,
Labindalawang parol, labing-isang tuta
Sampung inaanak, siyam na case ng beer
Walong litsong baboy, pitong berdeng unan,
Limang pulang lobo!
Apat na payong, tatlong sakong bigas, dalawang payong,
At isang basketball na bago!
May pirma pa ni Jawo. Naks!”
APO has also released “Himig Pasko.”
Vehnee Saturno’s “Sa Araw ng Pasko,” sung by some of the pioneer recording artists of Star Music (formerly Star Records; which included Carol Banawa, Jolina Magdangal, Roselle Nava, Jamie Rivera, Ladine Roxas, among others), is also one of the most frequently aired Christmas songs. It speaks of how Filipinos wished their relatives would come home during Christmas. It also speaks of how wonderful Christmas is in the Philippines.
‘Di ba’t kay ganda sa atin ng Pasko?
Naiiba ang pagdiriwang dito.
Pasko sa ati’y hahanap-hanapin mo.
Walang katulad dito ang Pasko.
Lagi mo nang maiisip na sila’y nandito sana.
At sa Noche Buena ay magkakasama.”
“Ang Pasko ay kay saya kung ngayo’y kapiling na.
Sana pagsapit ng Pasko, kayo’y naririto.
Kahit pa malayo ka, kahit nasaan ka pa,
Maligayang bati para sa inyo sa araw ng Pasko.”

Christmas-themed love songs are also recurrent in the -ber months playlist. Apart from Chan’s “Perfect Christmas,” Gary Valenciano’s “Pasko Na Sinta Ko” and Ariel Rivera’s “Sana Ngayong Pasko” have also become standards. Both songs spoke of loneliness during Christmas. However, Valenciano’s “Pasko Na Sinta Ko” focused on regret.
Foreign singers have also made it in the Filipino airwaves during the -ber months. In fact, Jackson 5’s “Give Love On Christmas Day” is one of the most frequently played songs since it talked about the true value of Christmas, which is love, not necessarily materialism.
Moving on to musiconomics (music and economics), both GMA and ABS-CBN annually release Christmas station IDs accompanied by a song. Of all ABS-CBN’s Christmas station IDs, most of the people remember 2009’s “Star ng Pasko” and 2017’s “Just Love Ngayong Christmas.” During the Kapamilya network’s “Star ng Pasko” campaign, the so-called Parol Ni Bro (Santino’s endearment for Jesus Christ, in reference to TV series May Bukas Pa) were sold while during the “Just Love” campaign, “Just Love” shirts sold fast like pancakes.
Star ng Pasko talks about how God never left our side, despite whatever storm has come. In fact, the song was released on the same year when typhoon Ondoy hit the country and left some of the areas heavily flooded.

“Ang nagsindi nitong ilaw, walang iba kundi Ikaw.
Salamat sa liwanag mo, muling magkakakulay ang Pasko.”
On the other hand, “Just Love Ngayong Christmas,” talks how the different gestures of love are shown, especially during Christmas.

Ngayong Pasko’y pag-ibig ang kailangan ng daigdig.
Kay ganda ng lahat if we will just love.”
Music plays a huge role in setting everyone’s mood for a particular season, especially days or even months before the season. ’Tis the season to not only shop for gifts, but to also give back through other ways.

 

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Entertainment, Music

ALBUM REVIEW: Love, BoybandPH

Two years after winning ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Boyband Superstar, quintet BoybandPH has released its second album under Star Music called Love, BoybandPH. A listening party was also held, weeks prior to its launch.

It is composed of nine tracks, namely, Kaligayahan (Happiness) Interlude which has two parts, “Kung Di Mo Natatanong” (If You Haven’t Asked), “Hanggang Kailan Kaya” (Until When) – the album’s carrier single, “Please Lang Naman” (Please), “D’Tyo” (Not Us), “Drive”, “Tagahanga” (Fan), and “Pa’no Ba” (How). “Tagahanga” was penned by pop-rock singer Yeng Constantino while “Please Lang Naman” was written by Moira dela Torre. “Pa’no Ba” was created by Tawag ng Tanghalan’s Songsmith Froilan Canlas, the group’s vocal coach.

The Kaligayahan Interlude (both parts) channels the best of the group’s vocal harmony, in terms of balance. The voices are even at the start of the song while the melody is clearly heard during the stanza parts. The bass part is also distinct.

Kung Di Mo Natatanong is reminiscent of 1990s Bubblegum Pop Boyband Ballads commonly played during Junior-Senior Prom dances. Counterpoints may have existed in the chorus part but they are seamlessly done, along with the song’s main melody.

Hanggang Kailan Kaya, the album’s carrier single is a mix of boyband harmonies and electronic pop. Some parts may be modified through music technology or “auto-tuned” but the vocal parts remain distinct and not overly artificial. Overall, this song is danceable.

 

Dela Torre’s Please Lang Naman has a sound fit for television commercials. Along with its guitar patterns commonly used in sway-worthy music, the song’s character is light and easy. It focuses more on the BoybandPH’s member’s individual vocal prowess. However, the “woooh” parts could have sounded better if they are sung with a bit of swing feel.

Both “D’Tyo” and “Drive” have a danceable feel. Drive’s recurring instrumental pattern is distinct, as well as its bass lines and sawtooth riffs. However, the boys’ voices are more remarkable in D’Tyo than in “Drive.”

Constantino takes a little break from her usual pop-rock songwriting practice in “Tagahanga.” Compared to her previous works, “Tagahanga” has more of a pop sound, which is peppered with electronic beats yet the boys’ vocals remain unadulterated.

“Pa’no Ba”, penned by Canlas, is an R&B ballad, which is reminiscent of Boyz II Men’s and 98 Degrees’s ballads that existed in the 1990s. The song’s melody is not only remarkable. The background vocal parts are also even, especially in the chorus part. In fact, nobody from the quintet sticks out in the chordal parts. Russell Reyes’s and Niel Murillo’s ad lib parts are distinct yet sung seamlessly.

Of the tracks mentioned, BoybandPH’s vocal harmonies are best channeled in “Kaligayahan Interlude” (both Parts 1 and 2), “Kung Di Mo Natatanong”, and Pa’no Ba. My only suggestion for “Pa’no Ba” is to have an acoustic version released soon to make the song’s meaning come out better.

Overall, this album deserves a rave, not only because the entire album sounds current. With Canlas’s and Kiko Salazar’s guidance, the quintet’s vocal harmony is “eargasmic” because of its balance and seamlessness. Looking forward to more purely a cappella songs from BoybandPH.

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