PhilPop 2018 Top 10 comes with a range of available choices. Though mainly comprised of love sick compositions, there are three entries that curiously made it to the cut that veer away from the usual romantic pop, we’re so much used to.
Here are my take:
composed by Jeriko Buenafe and interpreted by Feel Day feat. Hans Dimayuga
Jeriko Buenafe’s AKO AKO feels like a great entry, at first that is. Most of the first half of the song is this battle duet between two men fighting for the love and attention of a girl. This entry’s slow rock seems to be centered on how one wants to win over the other. It’s a man’s struggle, actually, where one aims to get the targeted price (in this case, the woman), and with Feel Day’s hefty take on its poetry, one cannot deny the intended friction between these two opposing players.
Though considerably engaging at first, AKO AKO ends up with a consequential twist; one that is arguably quite reckless. This entry climaxes into something rather patriarchal, oppressive and cruel. Thus, the initial man vs. man turns into man vs. woman; or in this case, man vs. obligations. I’m not sure if the intent is to ridicule the circumstance, or depict something common and real, but having something like this in our line up this year makes one wonder how far we can tolerate such judgements – however careless, politically incorrect and irresponsible.
AKO AKO may have been such a great entry in Philpop this year, but how it twists its end makes it an unlikely entry that will teach and make its listeners transform.
DI KO MAN
composed and interpreted by Ferdinand Aragon
Ferdinand Aragon’s DI KO MAN sounds like a familiar serenade, consequently making it feel like your run-of-the-mill love song with nothing new to say. Fine, this one’s in Bisaya, which somehow makes it a bit unique and wonderfully pleasant to listen to. Also, I have to give it to Aragon’s hummable melody and poignant poetry. In DI KO MAN, one humbly distinguishes lack, yet romantically compensates metaphorical allusions. Though utterly poetic and lyrical, one can’t help but wonder how these can still make sense nowadays. In a generation of utilitarian practicality and sensible rationalities in relationships, DI KO MAN thrives on that familiar pull of romantic lyricism and poetic freedom, making one wonder if it still works these days.
Or, am I just too old for this?
ISANG GABING PAG IBIG
composed by Carlo Angelo David and interpreted by Jex de Castro
Jex de Castro’s ISANG GABING PAG IBIG is yet another entry that feels too staple and familiar. But if you’ll listen closely, its music, with its rendition, offers quite an engaging pull. What makes this entry unique is how its premise of passion hangs in the balance; that being returned or unrequited, and it does matter. Along its chords, we grapple on the “what ifs,” as well as the “what could have beens”
ISANG GABI makes you want to ask for more. Deep inside, you’d want the story to continue to offer answers, you too, once wished. Its refrain is something altogether hummable, you end up singing along going back to the time you had your bitter share of something that “might have been.”
composed by Philip Arvin Jarilla and interpreted by Acapellago
Philip Arvin Jarilla’s KARITON is a risk, yet this one pulls off by standing out in a repertoire mainly comprised of romantic songs. What this entry offers is an unlikely social commentary on poverty, hope and our unending pursuit of happiness. This one comes with careful use of rhythm, tone and pace; each fitting quite well in its chosen subject and spirited narrative. It eases its way into considerable poetry that strums a chord or two, asking you to listen and bring home a realized takeaway.
This makes KARITON a brave entry this year. It unmasks a subject, though familiar, we choose to willingly ignore. Jarilla proves worthy of the risk as it braves to offer a commentary discourse through a song about a social issue, and putting in its core just the right amount of heart.
composed by Elmar Bolaño and Donel Trasporto Tigbauan and interpreted by Kakai Bautista
Kakai Bautista’s gorgeous voice makes LAON AKO an enjoyable entry. This, too, stands out quite surprisingly. It presents a unique offering for those outside the romance market. Forget the music video – the song alone explodes with self-empowerment and one’s eventual acceptance. This one shows the power of self-awareness and how one deals wholeheartedly with one’s own fate, embracing it and owning it.
Yes, LAON AKO may be something you might consider a passable entry this year, but in its core is a message crucial to how one can move forward and empower along the way. Though this one seems to avoid taking itself too seriously – LAON AKO takes a step further by offering something quite an empowering stance on womanhood and its undying self-reliance.
LOCO DE AMOR
composed by Ed Miraflor Jr and interpreted by BennyBunnyBand
LOCO DE AMOR seems weird when you first take a glance at its music video, and I can’t blame you. It feels like a stupidly rushed entry that doesn’t even want to say anything. But listen again and you’ll see how genius can disguise itself in such a seemingly ridiculous song.
See, Ed Miraflor Jr’s LOCO DE AMOR is, at its core, a love song, though utterly pathetic and absurdly ridiculous. It talks about one’s crazy ventures through a multi-lingual discourse formed in an almost impeccable modern poetry. This unique entry includes shameless name dropping and a mischievous play of Spanish, Filipino and even English words, without dismissing the intention of telling a story. As it builds up, you surprise yourself by realizing that you, too, get the point.
And that’s when you see yourself smile.
Taking inspiration from Latin music, LOCO DE AMOR punches at the gut. While it doesn’t take itself too seriously it is good to listen while you’re at it. This entry is crazy, crazy, and it is genius, genius, too.
Like the persona, I, too, sing: “Chaka ang kara, but I was gayuma!”
composed and interpreted by Chud Festejo
This entry makes use of a familiar childhood rhyme from our early street games. Yet, Chud Festejo’s song goes beyond those early years as it explores abuse and cruelty towards the young. Festejo’s builds his narrative carefully, depicting a gradual monologue through a spirited rap, yet in its core is a sad tale we’re all so familiar with.
NANAY TATAY stands out in a unique way. By combining familiar elements of child’s play, common tunes, undeniable simplicity and unrestrained lyricism Festejo manages to offer a metaphoric discourse of how we create our own monsters. Like Freddie Aguilar’s ANAK, this song reaches out quite vividly, even through its metaphors, and drives home a painful point.
To say that this is my most favorite entry this year is an understatement.
composed by Sean Gabriel Cedro and John Ray Reodique and interpreted by Julian Trono
Cedro and Reodique’s PILIPIT sounds like your run-of-the-mill pop song. It doesn’t offer something new. It actually feels like another Daniel Padilla aria, with Julian Trono, this time, at its helm.
Though one can’t deny how its refrain pulls you to like the song. Trono’s charm adds to its flavor. But that just it.
composed by Michael Rodriguez and Jeanne Columbine Rodriguez and interpreted by Katrina Velarde
Interestingly, Michael and Jeanne Columbine Rodriguez’ TAMA NA plays with the word “tama” so wonderfully. While it takes on a introspective discourse on internal battles, this entry offers a considerable range of meanings to formulate a theme. And it works. Katrina Velarde’s heartfelt rendition makes TAMA NA ultimately hummable and appealing.
composed by Donnalyn Onilongo and interpreted by Gracenote
YUN TAYO can pass as a movie theme song, if the narrative allows, that is. Donnalyn Onilongo’s music fits so wonderfully in this generation’s chosen language, and stretches it further to detail personal frustrations through pop. Gracenote gives considerable character to Onilongo’s lyrics, making it so connecting and unconstrained. What makes this entry quite satisfying is how its refrain feels so familiar.