Music

2010s Biggest Trends in the OPM Scene

Mabuhay! Kumusta? It’s been a while since I have created my last blog post. I bet everybody’s enjoying the holidays. 🙂

We’re a few days away to 2020, which meant that this decade is about to end. In the OPM scene, a lot of trends have been set by the industry. Allow me to cite some of these trends.

ARTISTA-SLASH-RECORDING ARTISTS

This trend has been existent in the Philippine film and music industry since the advent of the studio system in the 1950s-1960s. Due to these artistas‘ monumental popularity, TV stations, film production companies, and recording companies have been seeing this still as a lucrative industrial practice. Such practice is not only a good offering to their fans, but also one of the effective marketing tools for every celebrity. Some of the actors who fall in this category are Anne Curtis, Alden Richards, Kim Chiu, James Reid, Nadine Lustre, and Ken Chan.

EX-KONTESERAS

Sarah Geronimo is undeniably one of the biggest superstars who had her roots from winning Star for A Night. While Geronimo has been reaching the “Tala” as a dance-pop singer, more and more singing competition alumni have been making waves in the industry.

Angeline Quinto started the 2010s generation of singing competition alumni when she won Star Power in 2011. Since the start of the decade, Quinto has been consistently commissioned to perform some of the theme songs for ABS-CBN’s drama series and Star Cinema’s movies.

Angeline Quinto’s winning song, “Patuloy Ang Pangarap”

KZ Tandingan broke the biritera mold when she won X-Factor Philippines in 2012. While most of her kontesera contemporaries showed their vocal prowess through stratospheric vocal ranges, Tandingan did another way. She showed her vocal prowess through improvisations, such as scats. Not to mention, she was shown such skill when she joined a Chinese singing competition called “Singer” in 2018.

The singing competition scene in the Philippine music scene looked bigger when a Filipinized franchise of The Voice went on-air. The Voice of the Philippines, as well as its counterpoints for younger singers (The Voice Kids and The Voice Teens), have produced some of the now-bigger names in the Philippine music industry, such as Daryl Ong, Morissette Amon, and Elha Nympha.

With the return of the Idol franchise in the Philippines, it gave names in the industry, such as Zephanie Dimaranan, as well as the iDolls Lucas Garcia, Enzo Almario, and Matty Juniosa.

Zephanie Dimaranan’s winning song, “Pangarap Kong Pangarap Mo,” written by Jonathan Manalo

iDolls Matty Juniosa, Lucas Garcia,and Enzo Almario with their cover of “Dalaga.”

Upon the return of Tawag ng Tanghalan on air in 2016 as one of the major segments of It’s Showtime, this homegrown brand has raked millions of views of its contenders’ performances and brought the TNT Boys (Francis Concepcion, Mackie Empuerto, and Keifer Sanchez) to stardom, here and abroad. It has also launched TNT Records, a subsidiary of Star Music for Tawag ng Tanghalan sa Showtime alumni. Season 1 Runners-up Sam Mangubat and Froilan Canlas have also topped the MOR Dyis Is It charts this year. While it has produced three regular seasons, one kids’ edition, one celebrity edition, and an All-Star Grand Resbak, it is about to launch its fourth season this January 2020.

The TNT Boys’ first original song, “Together We Fly,” written by Chochay Magno.
Tawag ng Tanghalan sa Showtime Season 2 Grand Champion Janine Berdin’s “Nasa Puso,” Kadenang Ginto’s theme song.
Tawag ng Tanghalan sa Showtime Season 1 Grand Champion Noven Belleza’s winning medley of Air Supply’s songs.
Tawag ng Tanghalan sa Showtime Season 3 Grand Champion Elaine Duran’s winning version of Shanti Dope’s “Nadarang.”

SOFT FEMALE VOCALS

Powerful voices have prevailed in the Philippine music industry for such a long time. However, it also paved way to the industry’s softest yet heartfelt vocals. In connection to hugot culture, ex-commercial jingle singer and The Voice of the Philippines alumna Moira dela Torre made her biggest break when she performed “Malaya” as the official soundtrack of 2016 film “Camp Sawi.”

Other singers followed suit, such as Janine Teñoso.

THE BURGEONING RAP SCENE

While the late Francis Magalona and Gloc 9 have been the most celebrated rappers in the Philippine rap scene, a lot of rappers followed suit. One of the biggest solo rap acts of the decade is Shanti Dope, who released the following songs: “Nadarang,” “MAU,” “Shantidope,” “Amatz,” and many more.

ALLMO$T’s “Dalaga” became widely popular when social media influencer Mimiyuuh’s video of her doing a wacky facial expression went viral on social media.

Social media influencer Mimiyuuuh’s humorous interpretation of the Dalagang Filipina.

Ex Battalion became one of the biggest groups in the Filipino music scene in 2017 when they released a heartbreak anthem, “Hayaan Mo Sila.”

Other rap artists that made their name in the 2010s Filipino rap scene were Panty Droppaz League, Ron Henley, Nik Makino, and Arvey.

NEWER SOUNDS

The indie scene is never left behind, as a lot of bands have introduced newer styles in the 2010s. Some of the biggest players from the indie scene that broke into mainstream are Ben&Ben, IV of Spades, and December Avenue.

The juan karlos band led by The Voice Kids alumnus Juan Karlos Labajo also made it big in the Filipino music industry with the monster hit, “Buwan.” It has the art song-like feel and lyricism with rock instrumentations.

These trends have proven that the OPM scene remains alive. In this digital age, the next big thing may be either one of the indie acts that would go viral or one of the singing competition finalists. Basically ANYONE.

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Music

Awit at Laro: A Dose of Child’s Play and Folklore

During the last week of October, Mr. Pure Energy himself, Gary Valenciano, together with Bambi Mañosa Tanjutco, launched Awit at Laro, a project that celebrates the spirit of play (Awit at Laro, 2018). It presents modernized versions of traditional Filipino folk songs, as well as new compositions inspired by the well-loved Filipino games, such as Piko, Jack ‘En Poy, etc. Accompanied by Awit at Laro’s music is a coffee table book which contains the songs’ lyrics and artworks created by artists of Ang INK (Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan), which may be purchased either online or in one of Awit at Laro’s mall tours. Proceeds from the coffee table book sales will be for the benefit of Unicef and Tukod Foundation while the door art sales will be for the benefit of Museo Pambata. This project was also made in partnership with Shining Light Foundation.

The Awit at Laro album is produced by Star Music, Manila Genesis Entertainment & Management Inc., and GV Productions. It contains two parts, namely Awit and Laro. The Awit album contains nine recordings of traditional Filipino folk songs with modern twists, as well as “Bawat Isa Sa Atin,” an original song written and sung by Gary Valenciano. On the other hand, the Laro album contains ten recordings of originally written songs inspired by the most-loved Filipino games.

This article will feature the songs included in the album, as well as detailed descriptions of each song.

AWIT

Bahay Kubo” is one of the most popular Tagalog folksongs we have learned in our childhood years. Apart from the vegetables planted in the backyard, immaterial things, such as love, happiness, peace, and other intangible yet positive things make the “bahay kubo” not only a house filled with vegetation, but also a home that instills positive values. With the song’s recurring instrumentation (flute, djembe, humming, and kulintang), Jona’s vocals were light yet sincere, which complete the song’s positive feel.

“Sitsiritsit Alibangbang” may have had the innocent melody but its song’s last two stanzas talked about human trafficking.

Mama, mama, namamangka

Pasakayin yaring bata

Pagdating sa Maynila,

Ipagpalit ng manika.

Ale, aleng namamayong

Pasukubin yaring sanggol

Pagdating sa Malabon,

Ipagpalit ng bagoong.

These verses were even raised by comedian Vice Ganda during one of the episodes of It’s Showtime while the hosts were discussing the issue on the possible change of our National Anthem’s lyrics. Going back to the track itself, the bridge part served as a commentary to the aforementioned verses:

Pasensya na kung di maintindihan

Huwag ipagpapalit ang tao sa kabagayan

Pagsabihan lang pag sila’y nangungulit

Pagtiyagaan na lang, di na nauulit muli

P

Musically speaking, the TNT Boys’ version of this folksong has a dance-like feel, which had a fusion of 1990s Eurodance feels and milennial whoop. While the boys have a consistently seamless harmony, Mackie’s rap is clearly done and Keifer’s whistle register is consistently on-point. Francis’s belting lines are also powerful.

Katrina Velarde’s version of “Leron Leron Sinta” had a reggae and R&B feel. While the song’s lyrics were written as they are, Velarde’s voice was powerful yet soulful. Not to mention, her melismas were on point.

Paru-Parong Bukid” is another Filipino folksong with a fusion of rock and rondalla, interpreted by Yeng Constantino. The interesting part about the song’s arrangement was that the rondalla trills blended well with the pop-rock arrangement.

Magtanim ay Di Biro,” a Filipino folksong that talks about a farmer’s life, was interpreted by Bamboo and the Band (composed of Junjun Regalado, Simon Tan, Ardie de Guzman, Kakoy Legaspi, Abe Billano, and Ria Villena-Osorio).  The sound has the usual rock feel, reminiscent of 1990s Rivermaya (led by Bamboo). The song’s melody departed from the original during the first time it was sung.

Lea Salonga’s “Pakitong-Kitong”  is rather a commentary on bashing in general.

Bakit ba may ibang nambabangga at nananadya?

While the song’s original version talks about the struggle of catching crabs in the sea, Jungee Marcelo, the song’s composer has a different take on the “crabs” in the society. The so-called “crabs” are the ones who would do everything out of envy to pull successful people down, in favor of themselves. Musically, the song’s character is dark, which matched Salonga’s theatrical vocals.

Sam Concepcion’s version of the Bikol folksong, “Sarung Banggi” was a mix of Bikol and Tagalog lyrics. However, the Tagalog lyrics were not direct translations of the original Bikol text. Musically speaking, the song’s melody has a slight departure from the original and it has an EDM feel.

“Ati Cu Pung Singsing” is also in EDM, sung by Janella Salvador. The song commences with the Kapampangan folksong’s Tagalog translation, followed by some English lyrical content. It is sung in its original Kapampangan text during the middle part.

“Nanay, Tatay,” is a children’s game song which is reflective in the claps in the song’s beginning. Interpreted by Darren Espanto, Anne Curtis, and Gloc 9, it talks about patience, giving, and perseverance.

Tulungan mo ang sarili mo. Subukan mo at ang mararating mo ay malayo

Ending the Awit segment is Gary Valenciano’s and Mandaluyong Children’s Choir’s “Bawat Isa Sa Atin.” It is a ballad which talks about giving hope to the children, despite them being born out of struggles.

Bawat isa sa atin ay tulad nila.

Naghahanap ng pagmamahal at pag-aaruga

Kung ituloy ang laban,

Karapatan ng bawat batang nilalang

Balang araw nating masasaksihan

Buhay ng bawat batang

Matupad ang pangarap nila.

LARO

Patintero,” performed by Lara Maigue and Mel Villena’s AMP Band, clearly shows how the game patintero is played. It also encourages children to play patintero to promote physical and mental alertness. Musically, it is set in big band jazz.

Similar to “Patintero,” KZ Tandingan’s “Tagu-Taguan” is a clear demonstration of the game. It is set in EDM.

Piko,” performed by Morissette Amon, has the distinct sound of the Indonesian saron, especially in the beginning, which later transitions into EDM. Lyrically, it shows how popular the piko is, being a budget-friendly and environment-friendly game.

Joey Ayala’s “Luksong Tinik” is musically interesting. It does not only show how the game luksong tinik is played. It is a fusion of EDM and folk elements (guitar, kulintang, and kudyapi), reminiscent of what the UP TUGMA (an organization in the UP College of Music that focuses on Asian Music performance) is currently doing. The “Takbo, takbo, takbo, lukso” part is also playfully done.

Gary Valenciano and Ogie Alcasid’s “Sipa,” is a dance pop song which shows how the game sipa is played. It also describes how the ball used in such game looks like.

Tumbang Preso,” performed by Kiana Valenciano and Billy Crawford, is basically a creative presentation of the tumbang preso scene. Musically, tinges of the pateteg and the takik are fused with EDM.

Bullet Dumas’s “Jak en Poy” does not only describe how the game is played.  Dumas’s lyricism is creative, especially in the part, “Bato, talo sa papel, talo sa gunting.”This part reminds me of the choral arrangements of Filipino folksongs used in high school choral competitions, in terms of rhythmic structure.

“Pitik-Bulag,” performed by Julie Anne San Jose is an R&B love song. It likens the pitik bulag game to romance in general which is full of surprises.

“Touch and Move” talks about the touch and move game by itself. This song molds AC Bonifacio, not only as the dancer who won in ABS-CBN’s Dance Kids, but also as a total performer who can actually sing!

The Laro portion ends with Gary Valenciano’s “Saranggola.” Written by Ebe Dancel, the song talks about letting our dreams (represented by the kite) fly higher and holding onto them with our supporters’ guidance (represented by the kite’s string). The song itself is anthemic and powerful.

The album itself is kid-friendly because those listening to the tracks will not only enjoy the songs’ modern feel. The songs also impart important lessons through the lyrics added. The coffee table book is also a great gift this Christmas season.

To have a sneak peak of the album, here is the Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.

Awit at Laro in a nutshell

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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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Music

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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