“내가 원하는 건 외로움이 아닌데.”

“2 Beer” by Kisum | All right, this song isn’t new. It was released in the middle of last year, as the pre-release single to the South Korean rapper’s mini-album Musik. Shalla and I like her: she’s so chill, in contrast to most rappers coming out of the country; perhaps at my risk, it helps that she’s quite pretty, too. I listened to this track again over our break and left the captions on by mistake, and realized that this is incredibly, incredibly sad. It’s uncertain, it’s gloomy, it’s particularly fatalistic. So, it makes sense that this song kicks off 2017 for this blog. It’s a mindset we all have, I’d like to believe, what with 2016 and sets of people being stomped on for their beliefs. I mean, I can’t be the only one sensing a particular gloom following me today, never mind that it’s my birthday. [NB]

“Sana ay magkasingkulay ang drama at tunay na buhay ko.”

Great Philippine Song Hits“Love Team” by Itchyworms | This is a hard one. It was either this or “Beer”, which is witty and all, but I ended up choosing the song that captures the Filipino’s needy relationship with showbiz – with being entertained, with escaping it all. (The video for this one is a definite time capsule: Kimerald, back when Kim looked like Kim.) The Itchyworms’ Noontime Show, a self-declared riff on our love affair with the entertainment industry, turned ten years old last year, and its comments still remain potent to this day – or perhaps because not much has changed. (Not even Jugs Jugueta joining the cast of It’s Showtime – also itself a riff on the noontime show his band parodied – has dulled anything.) I also think it’s one of the best Filipino albums ever, not because of its subject, but because of how it approached it: with a biting yet ultimately kind-hearted attitude, sharp in its humor but accessible in its sensibilities. The opening to “Love Team” still powers many a cheesy internal moment. I know I do this with Shalla, and she’s been my girlfriend for almost four years. That’s powerful. [NB]

“그게 다 뭐라고, 찢기는 마음마저도 소중하게 해?”

“Dolls” by Nine Muses | An update on my inevitable spiral towards that scene cool kids here like to hate: the playlist is close to hitting two thousand songs, and Nine Muses’ “Dolls” – released back in 2013, when they were actually still composed of nine muses – is one I keep on returning too. Inevitably, it’s the brassy arrangement. It also never grows old. I played this on shuffle and it sounded pretty new despite being three years old. Not that old, you might argue, but with every play it seems to just get fresher. Am I making sense? You prolly think I’m not considering it’s another write-up on another K-pop song. [NB]

“Tama na ang isang tulad mo.”

“Dear Laarni” by BennyBunnyBand | Tomorrow we’re launching a new monthly column focusing on local music, and as a prelude, we finally write about a song that’s long been on our list, if only we didn’t lose it in the shuffle. I heard this a few months back, on those rare days when I get to leave work early, I’m driving a car, and I get to listen to Jam’s three listenable hours. BennyBunnyBand is from the same province as I am, and have this pretty fun, light sound, which I put down to the decision to use a ukulele as the main instrument. Also, the lyrics, the delivery – confessional, flustered, but you get the idea nonetheless. Yes, I know there’s a music video, but I can’t embed it here; it’s on their Facebook page. Also, yes, I know they have a new song out, called “Pam ToGetHer”. New girl, hm. [NB]

And now, it’s time for the Late Show with…

“Humanism” by Jon Batiste and Stay Human | If I had space for an eleventh song on my list of favorite songs for 2015, it would be this one. Of course I’ve been watching clips from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert since it premiered a few months back – I’ve been a fan of Stephen, at least enough of a fan to have two of “his” books – and while I don’t often get to watch the actual show, because, well, time zone differences, I can’t help but really like the new show’s musical direction. Jon Batiste’s jazz training and New Orleans sensibility really provides a point of different to the rest of the American late night landscape, which loves its swinging horns (something even the Roots, who is still doing the tunes for Jimmy Fallon, fell for). All that shows in the theme tune, “Humanism”: a more upbeat tune, familiar yet very different. (And considering the background, it’s open to some crazy tweaks, like that one time when Yo-Yo Ma was on board.) I can listen to this for days. Oh, and welcome to the new year, everyone. [NB]