“…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]

“Everything will be all right if you let it go.”

“Shine” by Mondo Cozmo | I’ve been hearing Mondo Cozmo for a while now, of course. I still listen to American radio – I can only seem to hear him on American radio, particularly non-commercial American radio, despite the potentially universal appeal of his music – and the artist otherwise known as Josh Ostrander has been all over it this year. “Shine” would come on and I would feel all right, the pre-built catharsis of its chorus not always sinking it like it should. But then again, moods always change. This past year hasn’t been fun. I was reading about the human body’s stress responses and realized that I may have reached the point of no return, the point where I have been on fight-or-flight mode for so long my body has been altered for the worse. They told me to have self-control, to not have tantrums; I now do it on an almost-daily basis. Nothing feels right. Maybe if I just let go. I have pondered closing this blog many times before, but these past few months it got really, really serious. And why not? I myself am hitting diminishing returns (that’s one thing I have in common with Twice) and, to be honest, it’s hard to keep up. (Also, I already have an album-style thank you list sitting somewhere on my laptop.) Full disclosure: I still will close this thing. Perhaps it will happen some time in 2018; perhaps we won’t be back after tomorrow’s best-of post; perhaps not yet. But we’ll see. I just know I will have to let this blog go soon. [NB]

“Don’t think you knew you were in this song.”

“Five Years” by David Bowie | Even I get sidetracked these days. I was supposed to write about Saturday – my fifth year with my hunny. I was supposed to write about APink’s “Five”, complete with anecdote about how me thinking of buying Pink Up makes me, in her joking words, “yuck yuck”. But then that moment has passed, and a part of me wants to keep this milestone relatively quiet online. As for this, I was thinking of other songs about “five years” (well, that was a really cursory look) and stumbled upon this, the opener to Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust record, and remembered how, in those five years, I have actually gotten… worse, so to speak. Without her by my side, I would not have made it through these five years. [NB]