“I know you love me. I don’t need proof.”

“What You Don’t Do” by Lianne La Havas | Before I get accused of wrecking childhoods for being not-so-complementary about their choice of pop tunes, I’ll switch to something less mainstream. Lianne La Havas is also turning 30 this year, and good timing, because a few weeks back (calling it “last year” is too much?) I rediscovered this song. I missed the confidence and the swagger of this song; I ended up going back to her two records and enjoyed a couple of hours in bed with them. Is asking “whatever happened to her?” too much? She hasn’t entirely disappeared, but it’s been a while since the release of Blood, and being taken under Prince‘s wing before his untimely death must be a sign of confidence from the cosmos. Lianne, we need you back. Maybe as a birthday present to me, too? [NB]

“How am I supposed to breathe with no air?”

“No Air” by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown | Last week I turned 30, and I gave myself an extra week off. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it feels weird that I was off for three whole weeks and am starting in the middle of the month. (But then, I totally forgot to take my customary August break.) So, well, hello there – let’s kick off a whole new year with a week of musicians who are also turning 30 this year, eh? Perhaps to make me feel inadequate about not having accomplished much (relatively, you’d argue) at the same age, but then again, I never made myself out as a singer. If I did, I would’ve joined those audition shows really early on. Jordin Sparks was just 16 when she first auditioned for American Idol – I remember the angle was her really young age when she finally became winner at the end of the sixth season. She did all right – she was all over the radio; she was kinda close to Kelly Clarkson-level success – but it’s been a while since we heard new music from her, because all we seemed to be preoccupied with were her relationships (she was engaged to Jason Derulo – also born in 1989 – which led to… this) and now I read she’s got a baby. But at least I remember her fondly, even if “No Air” didn’t age that well because it’s just sappy. Unlike the other guy in this song, well… [NB]

“There’s always one more mountain left to climb.”

“Days Are Numbers (The Traveler)” by the Alan Parsons Project | All my life I always thought this song was called “Days Are Numbered”, which is still poetic, if not a bit ominous. No. It’s called “Days Are Numbers” and it’s poetic in a sad way. We’re transient, we’re temporary, you get the idea. I didn’t think I’d end the week with these thoughts, but here we are. Days are numbers. And frankly, it’s about time. [NB]

“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]

“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]