“We can fade into the night, and you’ll know…”

Great Philippine Song Hits“214” by Rivermaya | Rivermaya is another band that’s had to change due to circumstance, having seen several line-up changes, including three high-profile vocalist changes. That volatility may have diminished the band’s standing today: the exit of Jayson Fernandez in 2011 (after joining the band in a Rock Star-inspired reality show) was a sign that the band’s internal problems was stalling their creative process. But we all still look back at the band’s early years with fondness. Rivermaya is still, to 90s kids, the band that comes second to the Eraserheads, their songs as enduring despite them seeming more, uh, classier, more bourgeois. Rico Blanco‘s songwriting continues to be as potent today as they were in the band’s heyday, and Bamboo Mañalac‘s vocals is as expressive as ever. Again, it’s hard to pick one song that defines the group best – I could have easily gone for “Ulan”, the first song of theirs I heard as a kid; if not for the focus on the classic line-up I could have picked “Balisong” – but “214”, to me, describes Rivermaya best. They’re still going now, of course; with Nathan Azarcon returning to bass duties, here’s hoping they find their footing again. [NB]

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