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


First, the images above. They’re from the inlay cards of Fruitcake album. Probably, cassette. Not my own, just found ’em on the inter-webs. Now, I heard there is a Fruitcake movie in the works. And it’s about a now grown-up Frannie Wei trying to go back to Fruitcake Heights. But before she could enter that magical place, she has to collect those images above, which were drawn by Cynthia Bauzon in 1996, which means she needs to find an old Fruitcake tape. But not just an old cassette tape, it has to be from the first pressing of the album. And the inlay cards should have Medwin Marfil’s name erased from the credits.

Yes, that sounds like The Ninth Gate, a film directed by Roman Polanski and stars Johnny Depp. In that movie, Depp’s character tries to retrieve some pages from an old book to be able to enter Hell. And he’s aided by an “Angel.” In the end, he found all the pages he needs and entered hell. But not before he sleeps with the “Angel”—From Hell. Which is another Johnny Depp movie. Based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel. In Fruitcake, Frannie Wei will get help from an angel to be played by Tony Labrusca (Glorious). Who will play Frannie Wei, we don’t know yet. Let’s hope it’ll be Angel Locsin.

Okay, enough with Angels and back to Eraserheads.

In the long tradition of Christmas Holiday movies, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 and 2, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 and 2, and The Hobbit’s An Unexpected Journey of Arnel Pineda, The Desolation of Spock, and The Battle of the Seven Nation Armies, and soon to join the list of money-making sequels, Once Upon A Deadpool—finally, here’s the third and final part of The 20 E-ssential Eraserheads Songs.

By the way, there are now three official versions of Deadpool 2: the theatrical release, the Super Duper Fuckin’ Cut, and now, the PG-13 cut, but that’s for another post.

Also, check Volume 1 here, Volume 2 – Part 1 here. And for our Latin word of the day: Gingivitis. Here we go.

Fruitcake/Old Fashioned Christmas Carols. Cutterpillow may be the band’s best album (it’s just so consistently good with not one throwaway song in it, though “Yoko,” which is about CMT (now ROTC) is a bit out of place and is more thematically inclined with Circus), but when it comes to individual songs, the best from Cutterpillow may sound less adventurous, less full, less colorful than the best from Fruitcake, namely, the title track and the one about “old Christmas carols.” Yes, if you want the Eraserheads that’s more adventurous than what’s in Circus and Cutterpillow but still retaining that radio-friendly appeal of their earlier hits, the best songs from Fruitcake is what you need.

Because. According to Bro. Ely. There’s a fruitcake for everybody. There’s a fruitcake “in” everybody. And fruitcake is slang for a crazy, nutty fella. Also, the name of a girl group responsible for the dance hit “Whoops Kiri” (it goes whoops kiri whoops kiri whoops, sha lala in the morning). Because nothing beats “old-fashioned Christmas carols” (except, maybe, songs by Jose Mari Chan) and tunes that send all mother*s giggling in sheer delight. So. Take a bite. It’s alright.

Kaliwete. “Kaliwete” and Sticker Happy marked the time when Eraserheads finally blew through ceiling that girls—groupies or not—are just so willing to strip for them “for the sake of art.” It’s Joey Mead dressing down to a balloon string tied to her waist for Sticker Happy and that unnamed girl stripping to what looked like nothing in the “Kaliwete” music video.

The funny thing about the Sticker Happy cover is that that photo of Mead sitting in front of a piano was reportedly Photoshopped because initially, the side of her boobs can be seen. Nevermind that the her behind was in almost full view. And if you find the nudity offensive, you can go to Saudi Arabia and looked for the cassette in which the cover art features Joey Mead wearing a white dress.

Is “Kaliwete” the raciest Eheads song out there? Most probably. (“Bogchi Hokbu” could have been a top candidate but outside its title (which implies oral sex), there’s nothing racy about its backward-speak lyrics.) Also, the mere mention of Rico J. Puno’s name alone in “Kaliwete” already makes it raunchy. And that’s exactly how you pay tribute to The Man. Long live Rico J! And we’ll keep your wise words in our hearts: mag-ayos lang ng upo. Whatever that means. Needless to say, “Kaliwete” is a great number. Just like “Kapalaran.” Or “May Bukas Pa.” A true classic. 

Huwag Mo Nang Itanong. Another sweet-sounding song about being bummed out about things—about arguing with your girlfriend/fiancee/wife and not being able to keep up, much less win—about those times when things just don’t make frickin’ sense. The trick, of course, is to make it NOT sound like it.

First verse sounds like “walking home with her,” until it dissolves into one of the most slippery metaphors ever used in a song. The second verse feels nostalgic—a field trip in a pencil factory—then came the punch line. Great lyrics. Great guitar lines. And those floor toms that open each verse. They’re great, too! I love me some floor toms!

Mikey Amistoso of Ciudad once compared the melody of “Huwag Mo Nang Itanong” to a song of Bread’s that goes “He-ee-ey, have you ever tried…” You might have heard it before and noticed the resemblance as well. It’s called “Make It With You.” Which is obviously about sex. No Doubt. Tragic Kingdom. 1996.

Christmas Morning. What DJ said here, in his blog—the title of which, Reverse Delay, I love—like some awesome guitar effect pedal, which produces super awesome reverse delay sounds. Or maybe it means the opposite of procrastinate—another word I so dearly love.

Alapaap. Ely Buendia may have subconsciously lifted the melody of the opening line off a Pale Fountain song and consciously patterned the bridge from Morrissey’s “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful”, but “Alapaap” will always be more than just the sum of its parts.

Lyrically, Eraserheads threads the thin line between sounding cliche, overtly dramatic or sounding like a San Miguel Beer commercial jingle (i.e., The Dawn’s “Salamat”). Musically, it’s a classic example on how to steal like an artist.

Nevermind Buendia’s literal translation of “till the tears roll,” simply because gumulong rhymes and rolls off the tongue better than tumulo, umagos or pumatak. Nevermind that his excuse for the song’s supposedly cannabis-related content goes something like Little Dieter Needs To Fly (Werner Herzog). Nevermind that he sings the “high” notes in falsetto. When he sings “Gusto mo bang sumama,” we sing along, we gasp for air. Minds fly, hearts sing. The music, singes.

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