Balikbayan Box: The 20 E-ssential Eraserheads Songs, Vol.2-Part 1

I spoke too soon. I took this raw recording clip from YouTube as proof of an on-going recording session and joined the #ultrasecret bandwagon. Last week, Ely Buendia surprised us with (initially) semi-cryptic posts on Instagram, then an announcement: they’re releasing a remastered version of Ultraelectromagneticpop for its 25th Anniversary. Digitally. ITunes, Spotify, and whatnot. Not on CD, not on vinyl. And no bonus DVD.

So, what happens now to the supposed re-recording of the said debut? Maybe it’s still on. The question now is, when will it come out? When will it be finished? Maybe after five years. Maybe never. That is, if there ever really was a re-recording session that took place. As usual, the ex-Eheads are busy with their bands, gigs, separate projects.

Ely Buendia’s RnB/Soul outfit Apartel has just released Full Flood, already their second LP. And he still has solo, Pupil, and Oktaves gigs from time to time. Marcus Adoro just won an acting award in this year’s QCinema, on top of his other stuff like surfing, Markus Highway, and Surfernando. Raymund Marasigan’s Squid9 released its latest on cassette just a while back (that’s after releasing a Squid9 album in a can full of gummy worms few years prior), but his other bands Sandwich, Pedicab, etc., have been relatively quiet for quite some time now. Maybe Sandwich’s follow-up to Debris is underway. Buddy Zabala, the only ex-Ehead who doesn’t front his own band, has been busy with gigs with Moonstar88 and Hilera. So. Secret Ultra Sessions, someday maybe someday.

Meanwhile, we can enjoy the re-recorded, 15th Anniversary version of Love In the Land of Longest Title Ever, which came out earlier this year. The main difference in this new version, it’s Clem Castro singing on all the tracks. And if you’re a fan of the original version, now is the time for you to contrast and compare: it’s Clem vs. McCoy all over again. And since Clem sung on both original and new version of “A Beginning of Something Wonderful” we can start our comparison with “Just Like A Splendid Love Song.” My take on this: Clem did a wonderful job on the new version but I like the original better, McCoy Fundales was splendid on that one. And so gkgkk dbsjie itjemksn. Hajahdhsnsj.

Wait, there’s blood on my keyboard.

Um, okay. Before things gets totally out of hand, let me give you. Now. The other half of the The 20 E-ssential Eraserheads Songs. Maybe you’re wondering why the need to split this up. And it’s simply because, I make money out of this blog from the number of posts I make and number of hits they get. (Clearly, it was bad decision to review and rank all 14 Rivermaya albums in one post. It could have been 14 mini-reviews, 14 articles, and more chances of winning.) It’s the same reason why Harry Potter 7 and Twilight: Breaking Dawn had to be split into two movies. It’s the same thing why the prequel to the Lord of the Rings had to be a trilogy. And I swear that by the time they make The Silmarilion, it’s going to be a neverending series of movies. But I digress. Let’s get to the songs.


Balikbayan Box. “Puno ng tuwa’t galak, ang a-king Balikbayan Box,” sings Ely Buendia, who’s probably sad, homesick and exhausted from their first US tour. He’s also probably excited, excited to go home. Because when you’re tired, stressed, and feeling alone, things starts to lose meaning. Wala nang sense ang mundo. The cheapest way to ease the loneliness when you’re away from home? You get together. Cook, eat and drink with your kababayans (Dumating si Allen, Haro, Meida at Levan / Kaytamis asukal ni Sisar, Ang demonyong cook nang aasar). Sooner or later, you reach saturation point. And the “work” you want to leave it all behind. The “experience, good memories, souvenirs, and pasalubong” you want to bring them all back home.

Kahit Ano/Tama Ka. Buddy Zabala wrote and sung lead vocals in a couple of songs in Fruitcake (Fruit Fairy, Fabulous Baker Boy), but his best songs are found in Natin99, Eraserheads’ penultimate album. There’s the prescient “Tama Ka” featuring the enigmatic “walang saysay kung ibabalik pa, kalimutan na natin ang bukas” and there’s “Kahit Ano” with its catchy anime-theme chorus and silly play on Japanese words, brands, and references to Mazinger Z.

Hard To Believe. Matigas paniwalaan.

Mazinger Z or Voltes V?

Minsan. Tell me one song that put you in serious mono no aware moment; mine would be this. Kahit na anong gawin lahat nang bagay ay mayroong hangganan. “Sad But True”. Metallica, The Black Album, 1991.

ABS-CBN once used this song for a TV spot featuring pictures of happy graduating students and I was at once nostalgic, lump in my throat, reminiscing my imagined halcyon days. Yes, I was still then years away from my final year in high school.

Then, years went by and the Eraserheads became less popular, the aggro bros of Nu Metal, Limp Bizkit and Korn took over. After many times missing out on reunions and Christmas gatherings post-graduation, I stopped missing my friends. Just can’t keep trying to relive those days. Eraserheads’ “Minsan” ends where Sugarfree’s “Reunion” begins. Reality Bites, Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, and Ben Stiller, 1994.

Still, there’s one thing that keeps bothering me: the song’s time signature. To these amateur ears it is played in some odd time signature. Definitely Maybe (Oasis, 1994), not 4/4. Is it 7/8? 5/4? 5/7? Please hit the comments if you know. I’m dying to know the answer.

Tindahan Ni Aling Nena. You know the drill. You go to that farthest sari-sari store hoping to see your crush, see her smile. She may be Aling Nena’s daughter, pamangkin, apo, female boarder, bed spacer—doesn’t matter, the story remains the same. Worse, or better, she could be the scantily clad girl on that Tanduay Rhum Poster adorning the store’s facade. The song, probably the earliest and most accessible example of Buendia’s brand of happy-kind-of-sad, made infatuation sound like true love. I once tried my luck with the prettiest girl in the neighborhood. And yes, they also had a sari-sari store (though it was already empty, out of business by that time). Alam n’yo kung anong nangyari?



(To be continued… )


4 thoughts on “Balikbayan Box: The 20 E-ssential Eraserheads Songs, Vol.2-Part 1

  1. Wait, you really get paid for your posts? Naks, #influencer.

    What YouTube clip made you assume that the Heads were indeed re-recording Ultra? Ako I saw Raimund’s Shake Yer Head Drums and thought, hmm, baka pina-patche patche rin nila ‘yung recording gaya ng sa Natin99? Pero I only assumed this after I’ve read your post. Sayang. Sana totoo nga ‘yung re-recording.

    I’ve also been listening to Love in the Land of Longest Title Ever (funny ka ‘teh). I was never a big OnL fan so wala akong strong opinion sa McCoy versus Clem debate. Ang mas pinag-iisipan ko pa, kung paano naiiba ang tunog ng iba’t ibang banda ni Clem. Medyo indistinguishable kasi ang tunog / melody / areglo ng mga kanta niya para sa pandinig ko e, pero ano ba namang alam ko haha.

    Also, bilang tsismosa ako, may teorya ako sa continuation ng Aling Nena story mo. Hula ko walang nangyari sa inyo ni Prettiest Girl in the Neighborhood kasi nagpunta siya sa Canada! Hahaha. Tama ba? Or view-bait lang din itong pa-teleserye ending mo? At talagang invested ako ano? Hahaha.

    Ipagtatanong ko ‘yang time signature ng Minsan. Hindi ko rin alam e. Hmm.


    1. Syempre hindi. Hahaha. Tsaka nasusuka ako sa #influencer.

      Di ko pa na-i-link yung video URL kasi hahanapin ko pa. Sa totoo lang di ko ma-differentiate yung 25th anniv remastered dun sa unang remastered (yung naka-box set).

      Nakuha ko lang kay Mark Prindle at Deadpool yang joke na yan. Slight lang ang pagkakaiba nila kaya pwede mo ring sabihin na pareho lang talaga. OnL=Camerawalls=Dragonfly Collector=Clem.

      Abangan sa susunod na post.

      Oo, pakitanong naman.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.