Forgive me, I seem to be in music mode.
This weekend I was able to watch some local music videos in MYX (a local music channel) on the TV at the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at in Naga City. The reason this is a big deal (or maybe it’s not, but it’s a different thing that happens to me) is because our cable operator at home doesn’t carry the channel MYX (or Animax, or Hero channel, or Cinema One. I know, I hate it too sometimes. But it’s not so bad, we get a lot of other channels that not many cable operators have). Hence, I am only able to watch this channel when it’s shown on Studio 23 (and that’s rare), or when I’m out of town staying at a place that has a different cable operator.
Boring details aside, the program I watched in particular was the OPM Top 10 (or was it Top 20?) which featured songs from artists that I know and love, but while watching it, I wondered why I never loved them as much as I love Rico Blanco. (Bazinga! This is a Rico Blanco fangirl entry! Don’t tell me you didn’t see that coming?! ) Anyway, MYX has this feature where they put the lyrics of the songs as subtitles on the video, so you can sing along and it was while I was reading those lyrics that I figured out the reason. I love Rico Blanco’s songs as much as I do, and not as much as other artists’ songs, because Rico Blanco writes impeccable lyrics.
OK, I know, that when you get right down to it, lyrics alone do not make a song great. The best lyrics in the world, accompanied with the worst melody ever will not be a song you like to hear, and vice-versa (e.g. Crash Into Me by The Dave Matthews Band is a brilliant song, with a melody that puts you in a romantic mood, so it’s a great love song, but once, I saw it used in a wedding video, and I just thought that ew, it’s too weird to see a couple inside a church while what you can hear in the background is the line “hike up your skirt a little more”.) but still, I think lyrics are one of the reasons why a song transforms from something you don’t mind hearing while you’re passing time during your morning commute, into something that you want to hear during the special moments of your life. Or, at least that’s how it is for me.
So, apologies to Sandwich fans, I know they have some great songs but one of their recent ones, Lakad, has just some of the most unimaginative lines like:
‘Pag lumakad ka sa init, magdala ng sumbrero, para ‘di mainitan ang iyong bumbunan.
I mean, can’t they maybe think of something more poetic? Something like, “Your face lights up the sky on the highway.” (Balisong, Rivermaya)
I’m not saying you should be poetic all the time. Sometimes, words with literal meaning are good for songs, too. But that really depends on the type of song. Some have lyrics that sound mundane, but because it hits the right spot, it turns out great. Like the old Eraserheads songs, or this one from Parokya ni Edgar’s Pakiusap Lang:
Ngayon lang ako nasaktan nang ganito, kaya pakiusap lang, lasingin n’yo ako!
It goes both ways. Too much poetry makes something hard to understand and will eventually lose its meaning, so you may as well say what you mean. But on the other hand, just saying what you mean can get boring (as is the case with some Parokya ni Edgar songs, I’m sad to say, especially their joke songs, like Picha Pie, which was of course, funny when you first hear it, but after hearing it for several times, becomes boring, as with all jokes. And with lyrics like “As long as I eat picha pie I know I’ll be alive”, it’s just not something that will have a special meaning to you, and that you’ll want to hear even when you get older). I’m one of those people who don’t like poetry too much because it’s hard to understand, but I think that’s where the brilliance of Rico Blanco’s (and the old Rivermaya’s) lyrics lie, because it finds a middle ground to it all. The words give nice imagery but are still easy to understand, like:
Is it too late to stop this pain that I’ve created from eclipsin’ the million precious things we shared? – Start Again (Rico Blanco, Your Universe)
If only you were smiling, if I was your reason, tomorrow, I could die. – Hate (Rivermaya, Rivermaya)
Pangarap kong makita ang liwanag ng umagang naglalaro sa iyong mga mata. – Himala (Rivermaya, Trip)
He’s waiting for the drink in her hand to turn into a kiss. – Neon Lights (Rico Blanco, Your Universe)
And my absolute favorite piece of OPM lyrics ever:
You can thank your stars all you want, but… I’ll always be the lucky one. – Your Universe (Rico Blanco, Your Universe)
Just so hindi n’yo masabing uber biased ako (although uber biased naman talaga ako), I’ll leave you with a quote from a foreign artist (haha!), which I think is another example of what I said earlier, of how there are lyrics that sound poetic but are still easy to understand:
And the piano’s this melancholy soundtrack to her smile. – Sometime Around Midnight (The Airborne Toxic Event, The Airborne Toxic Event)