“I’ve been learning to drive my whole life.”

“In The Backseat” by Arcade Fire | This song came on the radio yesterday. Well, specifically, a cover of it. We’ve been stuck in traffic for two hours; I didn’t know of road works and found myself driving to dinner for three hours while Shalla attempted to sleep. (She was right. We should’ve gone to EDSA.) There’s a starkness to the imagery of this song, even if it goes sprawling at the end, as Arcade Fire are wont to do. Regine Chassagne wrote upon the death of her mother; this appeared on their breakthrough record Funeral. Tonight – well, last night; I write this on Sunday night – we go to a wake. The father of our friend (and this blog’s) Ellia passed away overnight, and now, hearing this song in the middle of a traffic jam, hits just closer to home. [NB]

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“Sige lang, itaas ang kilay.”

“Bongga Ka Day” by Hotdog | On Sunday, Hotdog co-founder Rene Garcia passed away after suffering a heart attack. Cue trigger to revisit the band’s entire oeuvre, one that helped shape not just the Manila Sound movement of the 1970s, but also pretty much every other local music movement in succeeding years. I mean, notice the parallel between the band’s music and, say, the funk-inspired songs coming out from today’s indie acts? That’s one argument for longevity. The many tributes coming in from musicians of different stripes is another. And then there’s how we still refer to their songs many decades later, and not just for lols like we tend to do with what we call the “corny” stuff. While the band, which Rene co-founded with his brother Dennis and their first vocalist Ella del Rosario, created songs that seemed to speak of the zeitgeist of the time – the 70s, with its wide possibilities, free-wheeling tendencies and the underlying current of dread – it managed not to bottle things into nostalgic frames, but rather make them universal, so much so that we still talk about Annie Batungbakal, or idealize Manila the way they did. (And with “Beh Buti Nga”, they proved to be, as Myrene Academia put it, a little more punk rock, too.) It’s a shame we tend to look at these classic acts through the frame of times past, in dedicated token slots, with what ultimately are embarrassing tributes on television. [NB]

“…나 다운 나를 더 보여줄수 있게.”

“앞으로 잘 부탁해 (We Together)” by Produce 48 | Shalla and I watched the first Produce 101 on a year-long delay (I think), and didn’t bother with the second because we’re girl group people. We did watch Produce 48 religiously, except for last week, because we were actually watching a K-pop group. This performance – from last Friday’s finale – captures most of who I rooted for this year. Takeuchi Miyu, main vocal: I knew she wouldn’t last, but she just hovered long enough, and yes, I am a fan of her smoky vocals now. (She could not hit that vocal, though.) Lee Chae-yeon, awesome dancer and arguable sob story: she looked so bad-ass when she finally became the center for this performance. Yabuki Nako, who Shalla describes as the “new angel of Korea”: her funnily effortless performance of GFriend’s “Love Whisper” meant this inside joke at the concert, and perhaps brought her to the final 12. Heck, I understand why Ahn Yu-jin seemingly fell out of favor with the voters, but I’m happy my primary bet finished fifth. But this performance also features Jo Yu-ri, she who hogs the spotlight and makes everything about herself. This spoiler finished in third, and while the rankings have been crazy – she was 18th last week; that isn’t unusual this season – she kicked out even the most obvious winners. I mean, Lee Ka-eun at 14th can’t just be Yu-jin’s curse catching up with her. (Also, Kirin-chaaaaan!) Shalla got so disheartened she doesn’t intend to watch the finale anymore. I did yesterday afternoon. We both agree Yu-ri ruined the whole thing. Yep, I’m going there. [NB]

“Why don’t you dance and dance?”

“Love Is To Die” by Warpaint | This is a reminder to myself (mostly) that Warpaint are also coming to Manila – returning, actually – to be the front act for, of all people, Harry Styles. Today the latter’s name is all I’ll see, because the hype machine is out and it’s like all we ought to be thinking is, this guy from a boy band is here and we should have #nochill. (Guys, we don’t have chill, not these past few weeks.) My brother is watching the concert; I shouldn’t be surprised, but then, I only knew about this a couple of weeks ago, complete with how his girlfriend forgot to update her credit card details and they ended up getting only GA seats as a result. That was me. Or perhaps it’s because the acts I like don’t come around anymore. I’m that age. The last time I got crazy over tickets was when Kimbra came here. Since then, I’ve become really skeptical of the hype machine that works around live music. That, and tickets are just damn expensive. And I’ve gotten lazier. I no longer have the urge to watch everyone I marginally want to see. That means when I do – see Sandwich‘s anniversary gig – we never get to. Ah, well. I ramble. Maybe it’ll be different if, say, Mamamoo went here, and that is a long shot. [NB]

“We all need a shoulder to cry on once in a while.”

“Blackened Blue Eyes” by the Charlatans | Solely because I’m driving to Clark this morning – technically, I already have; I might be driving back as you read this – I’m posting about a song that really should make for a good driving track. It’s driving, it’s dramatic, it just spells freedom from whatever you glean from the lyrics. But then, this is Manila. There is an exact right moment for this song to play, but the traffic means your timing will always be off, and this song might come up just as you’re stuck in a jam, which would be terribly antithetical of it. And you can’t put this on repeat – or maybe it’s just me who hates repeats. But, well, good song. A modern, if not underrated, classic. [NB]