“I know that we are stars ‘cos the moon follows me home.”

“Mahal Kita” by Emmy the Great | So, I am back in Hong Kong today, this time for the day job. Flying Cathay Pacific again like last time. It’s a bit of a nice tie-in to have their inflight entertainment system have this Emmy the Great song on, the same month she wrote this for their magazine. Shalla pointed this out to me a couple of weeks back; it’s a song I was supposed to write about the first time it came out. (Or maybe I tweeted about it?) Yes, that’s Filipino in the title; she wrote this song to tie in with an essay she did last year about domestic workers in Hong Kong, particularly the Filipinos there. I recall the Sunday we did spend in the city; the one day these workers have off, they’re all over the place, in parks and sidewalks and “sitting areas”, mats laid down, essentially having a picnic. I know Filipinos congregate in Central on this day, but we weren’t due to cross the harbor until Tuesday. We got off Diamond Hill MTR and I was hearing a lot of Filipino, and not just from us. Fascinating, yet sad at the same time. That said, even shorn of context there is a sadness to the imagery evoked in the lyrics… and that one wisp of hopefulness in the title. Or maybe it’s because I am Filipino. [NB]


“It’s doomsday on the other side of town.”

“Do The Panic” by Phantom Planet | Day one. I really should know what I’m doing by now, for I have been doing this for years, and yet the rush is always different each time. Last year I was woken up at three in the morning with the need to deal with a problem we did not even start. But this bed is comfortable. But now you have to be at the venue in shorts, because you’re sleeping a few floors up. Later, you have to fight the feeling of being starstruck – but then, I’m reserving that for day two. You feel happy that things are coming together, but not quite yet. There’s always space for panicking. I think of this Phantom Planet song because it’s the second most popular one, I assume, after “California” – prominent because of past work, but then things are changing and this becomes a slightly more niche affair. It has the word “panic” in the title, and even if you’re not supposed to be panicking, you do. [NB]

“All art is quite useless, according to Oscar Wilde.”

“Endless Art” by A House | This week the blog goes on autopilot. The busiest week of my year is this week; I’ve been so busy (or so stupid) I forgot to plan a break around this week, or, well, even think of something to write here. I’m just using lull time in what is otherwise a weekend spent working to schedule these posts, which aren’t even from the inbox. (Sorry, PR people.) But I’ll give you a hint of my mindset today and in the next few days. Today is the last day of preparation, and I am possibly peeved that, after all of the work I have done in the past few months, I would still receive what really are stupid questions. “Is the event happening tomorrow?” Well, yes, we’ve been telling you for months. I’ve been hearing this song for months now – 6 Music tends to play this a lot, a one-hit wonder of sorts from this Irish band – and somehow the first link struck me as I dealt with one of those questions again. “Does my booth have a table?” Did you read the PDF I painstakingly laid out? That’s your job, right? But, no, no, cannot be angry. I am staying at a five-star hotel. For work. Breakfast will be better, at least, and room service will be paid for, within reason. And tomorrow, you’ll have to wake up early and look extra good. [NB]

“조금만 기다리면 알게 될 거야.”

“비밀정원” by Oh My Girl | We’re still in a bit of GFriend hangover, so forgive me for posting another K-pop track. In the lead-up to last Sunday I rediscovered this, the latest single from Oh My Girl – at least before their comeback in a couple of weeks – and was able to articulate something in this song that I couldn’t before: this song gives me the chills. I’ll even say this song, alongside GFriend’s “Time for the Moon Night”, bring me closer to “close to tears” than other songs, at least those released this year. Asian pop acts can really do dreamy and elegiac, yes? Or I’ve been exposed to it a lot these past few years? This one sails, and just when you think it should be over – because it’s hit the three-minute mark and Korean pop songs don’t get longer than that – it swells, and then you see Arin sing the penultimate line, and something in you snaps. Oh My Girl isn’t a stranger to this sound – 2015’s “Closer” is one of Shalla’s favorites, I think – but, for some reason, this took things further. And then they sang about monkeys allergic to bananas[NB]

“Iisa lang ang iyong mundo.”

“Sala” by Pupil | It’s a shame the official upload for this music video is a low quality one. I understand the music video is supposed to look cheap, but not like this! But I digress. I’m posting about Pupil’s “Sala” – the lead single from their 2007 album Wildlife – not because of anything in particular. I just remembered this song from out of the blue last week, while scheduling a bunch of blog entries in anticipation for busy weeks ahead. My head automatically went to the final third of the song, when the choruses begin to clash into a maelstrom of upbeat catharsis. And then Ely Buendia goes, “kung ano man ang matagpuan ay ‘di ko na alam.” That, for some reason, hit me hard when this song was on high rotation on the then local-friendly radio stations when I was in college, and it still hits me that way eleven years later. Pavlovian response, perhaps? [NB]