“Sa pag-alis, ako’y magbabalik, at sana naman…”

“Nobela” by Join the Club | The circumstances behind me writing about this song aren’t exactly the best: a neighbor was blasting out the karaoke one night, and he – he was the only one singing – was singing this terribly, out loud. Shalla and I were hanging out at my place, settling in to watch an episode of Sisters’ Slam Dunk, that Korean variety series revolving around the creation of a girl group (it is educational), when we got so distracted we ended up talking about this song. She thought the band was named “Join da Club”; I was perhaps the first person to think that’s ridiculous. But then, it was a flashback. This song’s a decade old, more or less. This played a lot on the radio when I was in college – bus trips back and forth from La Salle, me listening to whatever radio station struck my fancy then. I didn’t like LS then, but they played this a lot. I’m sure NU did, too. Magic, I think so, too. Anyway, what I always liked about this song is the key change before the final chorus, how it takes the whole thing on a very sad, resigned note. It’s not a shrug. There is some resistance to it. But there’s a hovering “oh, fuck it!” over the whole thing now, and I found that fascinating. The band’s still around, but back to their underground roots. I read they’re releasing a bunch of things but haven’t really made much of a dent, arguably, outside the usual circles. It’s a shame. [NB]

“It’s so dark when you’re not around.”

“Bonfire” by Miss Li | Let’s go back to being late! This song is from last year, but then, I attribute all this to my not listening to Swedish radio (as opposed to Norwegian or Danish) often. Have to rectify that. Miss Li, aka Linda Carlsson, has been around for a while – her debut album was eleven years ago – and you’ve probably heard one of her songs on Grey’s Anatomy. So she’s that kind of singer. “Bonfire” caught my ear while travelling to a wake (yes I know), stuck in typical Manila traffic. To be honest, there’s nothing really groundbreaking about this song, but it’s a pleasant one anyway, and now that it’s our turn to have summer, it fits. [NB]

“Come on out. Don’t be another fool.”

“My Girl You Blush” by Moi Caprice | Here’s another one from the Danish, because lately I’m gravitating back to P6 Beat, perhaps in an attempt to be, err, alternative again. This one’s old, though. Twelve years old, in fact: this was released from the 2005 album You Can’t Say No Forever. But I think what attracts me to most Danish alternative is how, err, fuzzy is all sounds. I didn’t want to say “twee” but there’s a synonym I can’t protest against. Moi Caprice – they were founded in 1993, so they’re definitely veterans – may have the crunch, but this song, at least, has that dreamy element. Perhaps not as dreamy as, say, Shy Shy Shy, but you get the idea. This bounces along, but keeps half of you in dreamland. It’s discombobulating, perhaps, but the good kind. [NB]

“When I hear those drums late at night, I know I’m in love.”

“Two Doors Down” by Mystery Jets | Jeany mentioned them yesterday, so perfect time to write about them again. Yes, we talked a lot about British indie in the early days. This was before earthings! was born. It’s a funny sequence of events. I first heard Jeany while listening to a podcast of Danny Wallace’s first seven-week stint on 6 Music. She was talking about what she can see outside of her apartment’s window in Times Square. A few months later, we started to chat – and it’s not because I sought her out after the podcast. It just happened. We haven’t ever met offline but she’s one of my closest friends. Our early conversations were soundtracked by the resurgence of British indie in the latter part of the noughties: we were left adrift by XFM, began listening to the first version of NME Radio (which had this Mystery Jets song on high rotation, which is why I loved it) and then both decided we preferred the BBC better; me to 6 Music, she to Radio 1, with the inevitable crossover. So, there’s that. An origin story. And I still love this song, even if I haven’t listened to it in years – this happens when you decide a so-called music blog is worth doing. [NB]

“Come and take me in your arms.”

“Scared of the Dark” by Steps | I’ve told this story before, but it warrants repeating. When I was in high school – second year, I think – I once publicly professed that Steps was one of my favorite musical acts. Looking back, I really didn’t know why. I just liked their songs, I guess, however hokey “5, 6, 7, 8” turned out to be with time. Must be the idea of harmonies. I told you, I don’t know. I know my classmates literally laughed out loud at that pronouncement, like what I like is something to be ashamed of. I tell this story again because, surprisingly, Steps are back together. It’s the comeback not even I, a guy used to see all these acts reunite, expected. Like, they have been away for so, so long – why now? Well, why not? “Scared of the Dark” is a decent pop track, at least – and I don’t think it will age terribly. [NB]