Eat Bulaga! theme composed by Vic Sotto and written by Vincent Dy-Buncio | Yep, we went there. But why not? If you’ve grown up at any time in the past four decades there’s a really good chance you know this song, even if you preferred rival shows. I’ll say I have a soft spot for Eat Bulaga!, the noontime variety show which premiered in 1979, moved networks twice, saw its fortunes come and go (and come, and come some more) and put itself at the forefront of Philippine pop culture, for better or worse. Whatever your opinion may be of its hosts, of how conservative its outlook is, or whether you really just hate AlDub because they’re “jologs”, you’ll have to admit that this song – in all its versions, although I am very partial to the 1990s version because I grew up with it, back when Philippine TV shows had proper titles – is part and parcel of every Filipino’s life. It just feels comforting, so familiar. Incidentally, last Saturday they began celebrations for their 40th year on air, never mind that they actually reach that age 54 weeks from today. But why can’t they celebrate early? They’ve certainly earned it. [NB]
“Muli” by Ramon “RJ” Jacinto | It helped that he’s from a prominent family – the Jacintos were titans of the banking and steel industries – but Ramon Jacinto really liked music. Inspired by the rock and roll scene of the 1960s, he led RJ and the Riots; around the same time, he set up a radio station at his parents’ backyard – DZRJ would later prove influential in spreading Filipino bands throughout the 1970s and 1980s. While in exile in the United States during Martial Law (and feeling homesick), he penned this song, his first in Filipino, and secretly sent it over to Manila, enlisting a friend from another influential family – Emilio Tuason, who then owned 99.5 RT – to give it airplay but not quite reveal who is behind the song. The circumstances around the song meant over forty years later “Muli” remains one of those Filipino standards that don’t get quite a look in. I don’t know why. It’s a slow burner, and a pretty good guitar piece, if anything. Ultimately RJ is a guy who likes music, and was able to indulge in this hobby – and brought everyone along for the ride. What a life that must be. [NB]
“Perfect” by True Faith | You may know True Faith now for singing – and I know this will sound snotty – songs that are firmly in the middle of the road, but there’s a more alternative origin story. They named themselves after that New Order song, and made their breakthrough on the late 99.5 RT, then the pinnacle of cool. (I know that’s what the Wikipedia article says, but I also saw the station particularly acknowledged in a best-of album my dad owned, and that dovetailed nicely with the time I got hooked to the station the first time. But I digress.) It makes sense – they had new wave aspirations, as is standard at the time, and their debut “Perfect” sounds a bit like Mike Francis’ “Let Me In” if you think of it. But now that also sounds a bit middle of the road, too, which I think speaks wonders about the, err, true essence of True Faith. It is a comforting blanket even if you’re coming in blind. I really enjoyed that compilation CD (particularly this song) precisely because of how it drew in a lot of influences and styles. And then, of course, there’d Medwin Marfil, one of the band’s constants, still delivering after all these years. And then the whole MGMT thing happened from out of nowhere. Full circle. [NB]
“Huwag na Huwag Mong Sasabihin” by Kitchie Nadal | My first ever album is Kitchie Nadal’s debut. In hindsight, it was a no-brainer. I wasn’t familiar with her work for Mojofly, as I was blissfully unaware at the time, but when she went solo and came out with this song (and the Onemig Bondoc cameo I have long forgotten) I was hooked. And then I realized I found her cute. Fast forward a year or so later and I got giddy upon realizing that Kitchie is also in La Salle. There I was, a frosh, and there she was, I think in her third year, and my blockmate managed to wrangle her to take photos with our group, and I, the guy with the camera, ended up having a photo with her. Squee. That moment aside, like with the last two entries, her songs were universal – and the fact that she was a female, at a time when female rock stars were few and far between, made it all the more important. Now, writing this, I remember my friend Sam, who is a huge fan of hers. We bonded over her new releases, although that was a long time ago. She’s settled down and has been a bit quiet of late. I think we need her back. [NB]
“Perfume” by Natalie Shay | Another act we’ve featured before – this time, Natalie Shay, whose last release (at least on our books) was from early this year. I smell a bit of improvement on “Perfume”, or perhaps I have been listening to a lot of older stuff lately and am thus a bit more conducive to it. But I like how this song gives me a bit of La Roux feels while being breezy and light, and while finally reaching those anthemic levels which I mentioned last time. That makes this a perfect summer song – but then, it’s rainy here in Manila, so, still, much appreciated sunshine.