20 Songs from the 2010’s


Night Shift – Lucy Dacus (2018)
I was reading Consequence of Sound’s best rock albums list when I found this song. I was looking for songs too good for me to have missed so I clicked on a few YouTube links. But then of course the list includes Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light, which I think is fine, but no Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks? Just saying, Mirror Traffic‘s way better than Wasting Light.

“The first time I tasted somebody else’s spit, I had a coughing fit. I mistakenly called them by your name, I was let down it wasn’t the same. I’m doing fi-iine”. I initially thought she said ‘feet’ and so I played it again and I was hooked. Y’know, it’s like that song that opens with “I had – no choice – but to kill you”, the kind of opening linethat will really get you. And while I’m not particularly a fan of the album’s cover art, I love Lucy Dacus’ “Night Shift”. And the moment I heard the lines “Am I a masochist? Resisting urges to punch you in the teeth”, I thought ‘wow’, and when she reaches the part where she says “I feel no need to forgive but I might as well. But let me kiss your lips so I know how it felt” I said, well, this has to be one of my favorite songs of the 2010s.

“You got a 9 to 5 so I’ll take the night shift. And I’ll never see you again if I can help it. In five years I hope the songs feel like covers – Dedicated to new lovers”. This is probably the most eloquent and patiently epic break-up song out there. Lucy Dacus has a great voice—powerful, too. But this isn’t showy like say, “Rolling In the Deep”. You’d admire her more for how the song builds up, slowly, subtly, and how she tells her story. It’s really hard to describe how good this song is. And I’m gonna stop trying, right – here. If you want some clues, think Adele’s “Chasing Pavements” meets Radiohead’s “Creep” meets Alanis Morisette lyrics. And a little bit of Pavement as well for the alternate guitar tuning. I hope that helps. Or just click that triangle and play.


20/20 – Pupil (2011)
“You tend to your garden an Eden with a twist / where the animals and angels recreate.” Ely Buendia finds the key to the “Kingdom of Heavens”, though probably not strictly the Christian one. Could be a Buddhist one, he may be talking about nirvana, of letting go. Though he may be talking about his young son as well. The garden of Eden could either be a science fiction creation or a play pen. Backed by a semi-danceable backbeat, Ely and Yan Yuzon trades angular riffs as Buendia navigates an alternate post-apocalyptic reality where the perpetually traffic-infested EDSA is devoid of motorized vehicles. That’s not CGI folks, what you see in the music video is really EDSA and what you see in Buendia’s hands is some ancient alien technology that made shooting in the said alternate reality possible.


Videoke Queen – Rico Blanco (2015)
Probably not a perfect videoke song but most definitely a perfect love song. A song for that unreachable star, just like “Narda”. Here, she’s the star, in the case of the latter, the singer wants to have a glance on what’re behind those stars. This is the best cut off Rico Blanco’s back to basics album (Dating Gawi), which followed Pupil’s return to guitar rock ground zero (Zilch), which followed Sandwich raw live-in-studio record (Fat Salt & Flame), which followed Foo Fighters’ going back to the garage and analog recording (Wasting Light).


Wag Na Sana ‘Kong Gumising Mag-isa – Jastafraz’s Chechebureche feat. Uela Basco (2012)
Long song title by artists with an even longer name. I supposed Uela (of soul outfit Chillitees) is pronounced Wela as opposed to Yula as in Amor Powers Ms. Eula Valdez, who posed naked (but not nude) on the cover of the limited edition of Kamikazee’s Maharot. Uela is Wela and Jastafraz (whatever is his chechebureche) is most probably no other than Jazz Nicholas (obviously, he came from a family of musicians), one-fourth of Itchyworms and the only member responsible for their come-back hit “Muli” (Jugs Jugueta was reportedly busy for a music project with Teddy and Vice Ganda). And in case you’re thinking ‘the current music scene really sucks’, just note that Jugs is still in Showtime, Lourd de Veyra is still doing TV news, and Rico Blanco is busy doing YouTube videos – all have little to do with actual music – all of these have no direct effect on the quality of songs you get from Spotify or elsewhere. The music scene sucks because you don’t know where to find the good stuff.

“Wag Na Sana ‘Kong Gumising Mag-isa” was originally included in Ang Nawawalang Soundtrack, OST of the movie Ang Nawawala, a movie that was so remarkable for enlightening us to the fact that, rich people have problems too. And we should really feel sorry for them. The soundtrack was initially available only on vinyl, the format preferred by self-proclaimed audiophiles who can afford them. But thanks to socialism, somebody uploaded lossy rip of the songs elsewhere. And about the song… well, the song is like Sonic Youth’s “Superstar” meets Cinderella meets bed room music meets old Tagalog movie themes from the ’70s. Plus that warm fuzzy feeling of… just staying in bed in the cold mornings of December. And hugging your pillow really tight. ‘Cause you’re still fuckin’ single.


Ligaw / Gilid – Moonstar88 (2012)
Like Cinderella before them, songs about heartbreak and falling in love are Moonstar88’s stock in trade: from “Torete”, their very first hit, to “Sulat”, to the now immortal “Migraine”. Their last album, This Year, has both “Ligaw” and “Gilid”, good examples of the band doing what it does best, equally deserving of fan love though probably not loved as much. Well, there’s a new drug out in the market said to be effective for migraine. Maybe fans would start to move on and give these two songs the much deserved fan love.


Ikaw at Ako – Johnoy Danao (2010)
Not the Moira/Marvin song, though I also liked that one. And I didn’t know they’re a real life couple (and that nose job gone wrong) until I Googled the title. But I like the more stripped down and earthly appeal of Johnoy Danao’s best hit. I remember when after hearing Wency Cornejo’s “Hanggang” for nth time, it was a bit annoying already. This song doesn’t do that. It’s sappy, minus the theatrics, maybe that’s why.


The Less I Know the Better – Tame Impala (2015)
I don’t know. Maybe it’s the bassline, maybe it’s the song’s NSFW music video. Or maybe it’s those witty comments on YouTube about the song’s title. I don’t know. The less I know the better.


Kay Tagal Kitang Hinintay – Sponge Cola (2011)
After their second album Transit, I kind of lost track of Sponge Cola. Their singles see-sawed between just OK (e.g., Wala Kang Katulad) to downright irritating (e.g., XGF). And then it was like “yeah, whatever man, Yael just hit the jackpot” – like Dolphy – he married Zsa Zsa Zaturnah’s heir. After which, he became your unrelatable friend, unable anymore to fathom the struggles of mere humans like us. Good thing Gosh Dilay’s still there and gave us one of the few bright spots in their largely uninteresting follow-ups. The music video’s a keeper too. It’s a short film, a grounded fairy tale that’s touching as it is refreshing – especially if you’re tired of seeing white people (i.e., meztizos and meztizas) getting their happy ending on your TV screen – just like the Yael x Karylle wedding.


Kagulo – Sandwich (2015)
Kaguló as in riot. And that’s probably how kids would describe a mosh pit in Candelaria, Quezon, where Raymund Marasigan hails from. As in “ala ey, nang tumugtog ang Sandwich, ay kaguló na”. One of Sandwich’s best post-post-punk rockers. Also, BIANCA KING.


Until the Cows Come Home – Dragonfly Collector feat. Franki Love (2015)
Franki Love lends her heart-melting voice to one of the prettiest verses I’ve ever heard that I had to put an arc reactor-powered fridge in my chest just to keep myself alive. (Sorry, Iron Man reference.) She makes me want to fall in love, float in outer space, fall into bed all at the same time. She makes my heart melt like butter on fresh toast.

Love is an indie singer-songwriter from LA. And she reportedly recorded her part for this song in New York. Which means she and Clem Castro were never in the same room when they recorded the song. How she did it? I don’t know, maybe via long distance phone call. And Clem Castro? Clem is the Dragonfly Collector a.k.a. the main songwriter/singer/guitarist of Orange & Lemons and The Camerawalls but I think you knew that already.

Until the cows come home, for me, is more preferable than the overused forever. I mean, no one lives forever. And nothing lasts as long. And while they mean more or less the same, as in for an indefinite length of time, until the cows is more, y’know, ‘grounded’. Or at least it’s less cheesy. It doesn’t say neverending. And you can’t say you’ll love someone forever, without having a part of you saying that that isn’t absolutely true. But you can promise to stay in love for a very long time. Or, until the cows come home.

Of course, cows do come home every day during twilight. They just won’t do it on their own. Growing up in a family of farmers in a rural town, the thought of cows coming home reminds me that we used to have one or two. Every day, before it gets dark, someone has to go the fields and get the cows. Sometimes, it’s my father, sometimes it’s my auntie. Other times it would be my uncle, who, sadly, left us last year.

Well, cows do come home eventually. You just hope that, being languid creatures that they are, the cows would take their own sweet time and keep their unhurried pace on the way back home.


(To be continued…)

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