Year Summary in Music

Some people would argue that your Spotify playlist can reveal more about your personality and experiences than Facebook can since in the latter, everything you post is mostly edited. But just like numbers, music preferences don’t lie, and so it could be in Spotify where you can truly get to know someone. I can’t imagine anyone, even the biggest of posers, listening to music they don’t like just to keep a facade. I mean, sure, you may listen to a new artist every now and then to see if you like them or not, but surely not enough times for their songs to make it to your top 100. Or at least, not your top 10.

So here are my Top 2016 Songs according to Spotify. Or, in other words, here’s what happened to me this year:

The first three songs, You, Everything, Diaries from Tomorrow, and A Step to Oblivion are all by sleepersecond, a musician I met in late January. I turned up to a friend’s gig, at which he (and many others) also happened to be. I liked most of the music I heard that night, though I have to say that as soon as sleepersecond started his set by playing the intro to You, Everything, the atmosphere began to change. Everyone got quiet, started to pay more attention to the music, and then consequently, their feelings. I suppose any kind of music can do this to people, but there is something about sleepersecond’s compositions that reaches into your guts. “It demands to be heard,” my friend M described. And upon hearing it, the feelings you thought you’d buried deep would surface and demand to be felt. sleepersecond’s music, and You, Everything in particular, made an extraordinary impact to me, and since I found out about it in the beginning of the year, it’s no surprise that it got the top spot (actually the top 3!) in my 2016 playlist.

#4 is Lose It by Oh Wonder, which I consider to be my favorite discovery of 2016. I listened to a lot of new artists this year, and Oh Wonder quickly became my favorite once I heard this song. There’s no particular reason, although when I asked my friend to listen to it, she said, “It sounds so you.”

The next songs, Reflections by Misterwives, Roses by The Chainsmokers, Celeste by Ezra Vine and Drive, also by Oh Wonder are the songs I like to listen to when I’m commuting to and from work. And since I did this literally every weekday for the first six months of the year, it’s also no wonder that they placed #5 to #8.

#9 is Tala, which I have no doubt placed so high in this playlist because when I found out that it was Sarah Geronimo’s song, I was so happy about her evolution I listened to this on repeat for at least two consecutive weeks. In those two weeks, I also deluded myself into thinking I could sing like her and so tried to memorize its words so that the next time I went to karaoke with my friends, I would blow them away. No such event ever happened, but I did learn to appreciate how realistic the lyrics of this song is.

(One more detail about Tala–As you can imagine, I’m not in the habit of looking up the producers of songs, so when I first heard the music of Alisson Shore by the magic of SoundCloud suggestion, though I thought it sounded familiar, I didn’t think anything of it. And then I met him at a gig and found out he was actually one of this song’s producers! Suddenly, it all made sense. It’s really interesting how things like these can happen, isn’t it?)

Speaking of realistic lyrics, the last song on my top 10 is Song About a Song by Alana Henderson, which I believe, has the most accurate and easiest to understand description of how one feels after a heart-wrenching break-up. I actually have a lot of difficulty understanding poetry (and therefore, also poetic song lyrics) so I’m really happy when songwriters are able to convey their messages directly, and without having to sacrifice the artistry of words.

If you don’t know the song and would like to find out what I mean, just check out the lyrics here. I was thinking of quoting an excerpt from its lyrics, but I couldn’t choose which excerpt to take, all the lines in the song are way more meaningful when you see them all together, or in fact, when you hear them sung in the context of the song, so just listen to it as you read the lyrics online.

Special mention must be made to #21, Paincake Patrol’s Reactor (plus Why I Can’t Write You a Love Poem by Carla Nicoyco). I’ve been claiming all year that I’m Paincake Patrol’s #1 fan and I do think this is the reason why he asked me to do the write-ups for his LP Consonance / Dissonance (Available for purchase here!), which was launched last August 6. If you’re wondering though, why none of Paincake Patrol’s tracks are in the top 10, my excuse/actual reason is that I have the mp3s of Paincake Patrol’s songs so I normally listen to his music offline.

Anyway, the album Consonance / Dissonance has 15 tracks, each of which I wrote a story for. It wasn’t easy as I had to listen to each track carefully and repeatedly as I recalled the artist’s explanation for them and then incorporate those explanations into the stories I wrote. But it was a real interesting challenge for me and my writing skills, and though I’m sure not everyone will agree that the stories are good, I’m quite proud of what I was able to come up with and consider this one of my greatest accomplishments this year. Sure, it’s not exactly a book published by Bloomsbury or even Adarna House, and the original ideas for the stories aren’t completely mine, but still it’s an anthology that I think adds a lot of value to the entirety of the album, we’ve received many positive reviews about it, and I think collaborative works should be celebrated, don’t you?

Here is a page from the booklet that the LP comes with, featuring one of my stories and corresponding art by Zom Kashwak:

everythingends
Photo taken from Paincake Patrol’s Instagram

And the song on Spotify if you’d like to have a listen:

The whole album is on Spotify, too, if you’d like to check out the other songs. But to get a copy of the album itself, and the booklet that contains my stories, you’ll have to order here. (Please do!)

The rest of the tracks are mostly random songs I heard from the Radio function and because I liked them as soon as I heard them, I saved them. They would play whenever I shuffle played my saved songs and since I do this more often than I choose a ready-made playlist from the Browse option, this is probably the reason why they’re in my top 100. They range from Justin Bieber and Katy Perry to instrumentals and classical music to OPM and J-pop. I do believe that the way to truly appreciate music is to listen to all kinds of it and though I’m still really just listening to Pop basically, I’m happy to see songs/tracks from so many different genres in my playlist. If I ever need to be reminded that my life isn’t some stagnant, boring construct, I have only need to listen to this.

So, my 2016’s been fun, eclectic and emotional, according to my music preferences. How about you?

Related to Colonial Mentality

So Filipino singer Charice was chosen to sing the theme song for Final Fantasy XIII-2. There’s no problem with this, except maybe some fans’ reaction to it, the worst one being:

“Nagtitipid siguro ang Square Enix kaya instead of ‘yung Japanese singer, si Charice na lang kinuha nila.”

😕

Hindi ba nila alam kung gaano ka-big time si Charice? She has concerts with Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli! Nagpeperform siya sa Madison Square Garden! Nag-guest siya sa Glee! Halos ninang na niya si Oprah. Akala ba nila ‘eh mura ang talent fee ni Charice tulad nung mga kumakanta sa barangay?

It’s a case of colonial mentality, I guess. Anything local is cheap. Charice is Filipino, therefore her talent fee must be cheap. Therefore, companies only hire her when they’re looking for a cheaper alternative. 😐 Hay, mga tao talaga.

Life Update

It’s finally Valentine’s Day! I did say that February was my favourite month, but I turned out not to update my blogs too often. Talk about laziness. So, here goes a life update. 🙂

Out and About Virac, Catanduanes

Because Cebu Pacific had a promo with ridiculously cheap prices for roundtrip tickets to Virac (P200/person), my parents and I went to a place I didn’t even know existed. It turned out to be pretty great, though I don’t consider it the kind of place I’d go to over and over, which isn’t to say I’d turn down another trip there. Kaladkarin naman ako ‘eh.

We went last February 6 and stayed for 3 nights at Twin Rock Beach Resort in Igang, which is 20 minutes away from Virac airport & town, because we thought we’d need all 3 days to tour around the area, but it turned out that we just needed one day for the tour. We spent the rest of the time in the resort, which was fine because it had its own beach, swimming pool and restaurant.

 

Sights in Twin Rock Beach Resort (Click on image to enlarge.)

I wanted to go to Nahulugan Falls, but it was a 3-4 hour drive from Virac, so we went instead to Maribina Falls, which was smaller, but I liked anyway. But I think it helped that there weren’t too many people there when we went, so there was a point when I had the falls all to myself. It was that way when we went to Balite and Puraran Beach, too. I guess we should always go to strange places on off-peak dates. 🙂

 

Out and About South Catanduanes (Click on image to enlarge.)

127 Hours

So I went into the cinema thinking I’d just be swooning over James Franco, but then I turned out to be real grossed out. 20 minutes into the movie and I was already thinking, “Why in the world did I decide to watch this?!”

You see, 127 Hours is about a mountain climber Aron, who gets stuck in a crevice in a mostly-deserted canyon for (duh) 127 hours. He gets stuck, because his hand and part of his forearm was pressed into the wall by a rock, which he couldn’t move. He survives to tell the story, but he has to cut off his arm first. Yes, he cut off his own arm. And he did it with a small cheap knife, too. And the details were excruciating. I had to watch the cinema’s ceiling for a while so I wouldn’t be too grossed out, but I already felt weak at the knees seeing all the blood. 😕

Grossness aside, it was actually a really good movie. James Franco was amazing (as always), and despite being about a guy basically talking to himself for 3/4 of the movie, it wasn’t boring at all. So if you’re not too queasy, I’d recommend you watch it. If you are queasy, maybe you can wait for the DVD and just fast forward through all the bloody stuff, that way you don’t hear the sound of his bones breaking.Waaah.

No More Sugar

One of my favoritest bands in the world, Sugarfree is breaking up. 😦

So my friends and I made plans to catch one of their last gigs. Last Saturday, we went to Pap’s Place in Better Living Subdivision in Paranaque and sat through 5 unknown bands (in fairness, one of them, September Issue, I thought was really good) so we could see Sugarfree.

It was lots of fun. Most of the songs they played were my most favourite of theirs — Mariposa, ‘Wag Ka Nang Umiyak, Makita Kang Muli, Hay Buhay, Telepono, Tulog Na and Burnout. Also, in a strange turn of events, their original drummer Mitch played with them for some songs, and their usual quiet bassist Jal sang Taguan. The only disappointment of the night was that they played Hari ng Sablay as their encore song. Because it was requested by a fan. Who in the world was that fan!? I know Hari ng Sablay is one of their more famous songs that made them mainstream, but honestly it’s one of their songs that I least like. But I guess it was funny because just before playing it, the vocalist Ebe said, “Sigurado kayo? Para sa ibang tao ito na ang last time nilang mapapanood ang Sugarfree tapos Hari ng Sablay ang gusto n’yong last song namin?”

Too true. I was thinking the exact same thing. See? I love this band! They understand me! 😥

BTW, it was the first time in a long time that I went out again at night. Most of my social stuff take place during the daytime (and in a mall, and involves either eating lots and lots or seeing a movie), so it was a nice change of scenery. Also, I was so reminded that I was in the South because I saw a high school classmate in the crowd.

Lots and Lots of Sugar

I don’t have work so I don’t have anywhere to go today. So I made pulburon (something like a cookie that’s made with just flour, butter, sugar and milk) at home. And because it’s Valentine’s day, I covered them in red Japanese paper instead of the usual assorted colors I use.

They’re very delicious, of course. This is only one of the containers we put them in, but we made enough to fit 4 containers. Maybe I’ll give you some if I see you within the week.

All in all I’d say it was a great week. I got to travel with my family, hang out with my friends, see a movie, watch my favorite band perform, and cap it all of with yummy pulburon. Actually, now that I’ve enumerated all these, I think it was actually a perfect week. 😀

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Ang Huling El Bimbo

I wonder if when other radio stations close, they also get this kind of farewell. That (at least) hundreds will be outside their studio, singing along and swaying to their last song. What would even be the last song that they play? If they played a song by Usher, wouldn’t there be another radio station that also usually plays songs by Usher that can claim his songs as their farewell song?

Ang Huling El Bimbo by the Eraserheads.

Can you think of a song more fitting? Sure, the Eraserheads were famous enough back then for their songs to be played in all the radio stations. But let me tell you something, by the time a station other than NU107 started playing Overdrive, we who listed to the home of NURock have already memorized it. We’d already bought the cassette of Cutterpillow while the album cover was still brown and grainy, instead of the cleaner blue that eventually covered the walls of Radio City (this was a record store, it’s also gone now).

It was NU107 that gave life to the OPM bands. And I daresay, that all the people who became musicians because of the Eraserheads, probably wouldn’t even have known about them too well if it wasn’t for NU107.

Is it strange that something like a radio station, something that you don’t even really think about (unless you’re a big music geek, which not most people are) can evoke this much sadness? I don’t think so. But that’s because NU107 wasn’t really just a radio station to me.

I was just a listener, to be sure. I never even called them up to place a song request. But still I felt like it was a part of my identity somehow. If only because it didn’t play the same songs that everyone else was playing.

Back in high school, I would hang out a lot at the school publication office because I worked at the school paper. In the office was a radio, which was one of the few perks that we, the newspaper staff, enjoyed. We could tune into any radio station we wanted, and everyone knew, just knew, that when it was tuned into 107.5, that meant that I was in the office, and that I had tuned it there. Of course, when more people entered the office, they’d insist on tuning into somewhere else, a station “less noisy” as they put it, and I wouldn’t argue with them, but that’s not really my point. The point is that NU107 was connected to me. It was my radio station, and if you walked in and saw the radio tuned into any other station, you couldn’t tell who put it there.

If, just what if, another radio station, whichever other one (except for maybe DZFE98.7 , which plays classical music, or RJ100.3, which plays oldies (70’s music or older)) also closed down, would anyone be as sad as we fans of NU had been when we found out that NU was closing? Maybe they’d also have a street party of sorts outside that station’s studio, but would they really feel the same? Would they really feel as lost as we do? Because when I first found out that NU107 was closing, the first thing I thought of was, “But where will I listen to rock songs anymore?!” But if it was another station, well… Nearly every other station has a clone station, which plays basically the same music.

I’m recently obsessed with Firefly, that Joss Whedon show that didn’t quite get as famous as Buffy and was cancelled after only one season but became a cult classic anyway, and well, I just can’t help but think about how it’s those great ones that leave us so quickly. Firefly, NU107, Cotton Candy McFlurry. And, why can’t I ever like the ones that stick around for a long time? Ketchup. Pop songs with lyrics like “Baby, I love you”. Law & Order. I must have a knack for finding things that can break your heart.