You’re an Eheads fan I suppose. If so, which are your least favorite Eheads songs? Even Pavement bandleader Stephen Malkmus, a huge R.E.M. fan, so huge he wrote a song so explicitly and specifically about them, has his own least favorite song, which he also mentions in the aforementioned song about R.E.M. “Time After Time,” not the one by Cyndi Lauper, which came out in 1983, but “Time After Time” off the LP Reckoning, which came out in 1984.
So, you should, too. I mean, have a least favorite song, or songs by your favorite band. Confused yet? Let’s go back to the ‘Heads. It was said time and time again that they never put out a bad album. But but but, within those albums, they’ve put out, maybe a few, mediocre tracks. But before we go to the list, I’d like to go into some of the songs that were initially considered for the list, but were eventually crossed out. Means, I found reasons not to include them.
Maybe you’ve read or heard about “Styrosnow,” off Fruitcake, as one the band’s worst songs. Well, Jason Caballa may not have liked it, as one of my friends also didn’t, but you know what, within the context of the album, it isn’t really bad. Musically, it’s fine. Ely’s kid sisters on vocals may not be for everyone, but you’ve got to have a bad childhood for you not understand that “Styrosnow” is a kid’s song, and thus, the nursery rhyme melody. It’s a song about Christmas. And Christmas is for kids. So, why hate a song about fake snow. Thematically and musically, it isn’t out of place in the album. So, what gives?
Did someone say “Back2Me”? I mean not the Cueshe song. Well, the first verse is somewhat offputting, but after that, it gets better. Especially after Adoro’s distorted guitar kicks in. How about the throwaway “Bogchi Hukbo” with its obvious piglatin lyrics? The song is obviously a throwaway, a goofy one, a frivolous diversion. But who said all things should be serious? Or should be taken seriously? Maybe those who thought “Spoliarium” was really about Pepsi Paloma. May her soul rest in peace.
You have “heavy” songs like “Milk and Money” and “Andalusian Dog,” then you need to have light and goofy ones like “Bogchi Hukbo” somewhere in between. Still not convinced? Well, maybe you need to get hair stuck in you teeth first, before you’ll get this song. Maybe you need to eat first that which we don’t usually name here (but for the sake of all mankind, I’m still not going to name it here), before you fully appreciate what Ely & Co. were doing in this song. I mean, for chrissakes, how many songs do you find a fucking flutician in it. One in ten, man! One in ten. And this is one of them.
“Monovirus”? Well, sure, it’s not for everyone. But it soumds exactly what it says it is. It sounds what it’s like when you get the monovirus. I dunno if Raymund had Nine Inch Nails in mind, but anyway, who cares. Some people prolly didn’t like it, but again, within the context of the story, the concept of the album, it fits. Therefore, it’s fine. What else? Adoro’s “Lord of the Rhum”? It’s also fine. Has some good and cool guitar parts. Plus, since Adoro couldn’t handle most of the vocals, the girls took over. Wise move.
“Southsuperhighway”? Again, like “Bogchi Hukbo,” it’s obviously a filler, but a fun one at that. You know what filler isn’t fun to listen to? The fillers in Rivermaya’s Atomic Bomb. But this one is so noisy, so nonsense, it actually rules. It rocks. It’s fun. Like blasting your car stereo while driving in the south superhighway at 100kph in the middle of the night. And obviously, I’ve used the word obviously many times in this post.
10. Paru-Parong Ningning
There are parts of this song which, according to Buddy, were decidedly “anything goes,” like they were going for some atonal shit or something. Means Buddy was playing a different key, while Ely and Marcus were also doing different things. It’s kinda interesting but you know what, Eheads songs are infinitely more interesting when they’re less messy, more melodic, less discordant, like “Magasin,” “Kaliwete,” or “Saturn Return.” Well, interesting title. Does it translate to “Butterfly Carnival”? Roughly. Maybe. Lyrics? Well, interesting and suggestive. Wag ka lang magsasawa / Gusto kong mag-asawa / Dahan-dahang ibuka ang iyong mga pakpak / Ilipad mo ako kahit saan mo gusto. The best thing about this though is Marcus Adoro’s surf rock guitar in the chorus, probably inspired by a song Tarantino used in Pulp Fiction. But still, the atonal parts makes this one, one of the rare weak spots in an almost flawless album.
9. Sticker Happy
Not necessarily a bad track. Not a weak track either. But it also doesn’t add much to the band’s first and only fifth album of the same name. In terms of track sequence, “Tapsilogue” would’ve been better off following right after “Para Sa Masa,” which would’ve perfectly cap off the album the same way “Christmas Morning” did in Fruitcake.
8. Out of Sight
The guitar track is kinda Blur-ish, kinda “Coffee & TV”-ish. Prolly the catchiest among those which I consider the weakest songs on Carbon Stereoxide, the other two of which I did not include in this list and therefore not among the worst (but close), are album opener “Ultrasound” (same title already used by Sandwich for one of theirs on 4-Track Mind) and “Paintstripper.” But I picked “Out of Sight,” despite its title reminding me of that Jennifer Lopez’s movie of the same name, for some reasons. One of them is the lyrics: Check your email, go ahead / Check your female, on your bed. Yes, Raimund Marasigan used “female” instead of “woman” or “girl” because it rhymes with “e-mail.” Also, lyrically, the song doesn’t have much to say.
7. Everything They Say
If you still haven’t noticed yet, these are all Raymund Marasigan’s songs. And this is the song where they tried to be like The Chemical Brothers, which is actually cool, if not for the lyrics, which is about Sugaraims’ rants on media people, the gossips, the showbiz side of the music biz. Sure, the Eheads were big. But they were not showbiz personalities, they were not celebrities. And with this song, it’s as if they were celebrities tired of all the showbiz bullshit. Showbiz at the time was probably a lot more toxic than what the band had to deal with. But to be honest and fair, I don’t actually know. Also, most songs in this genre, like those from Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers, make do with minimal lyrics, mostly repeated, and sometimes sampled vocals. Well, Sugaraims need to vent his spleen with this lengthy rant. And in case he gets to read this, please remember that, everything I said here is absolutely correct… correct… correct… corre…
By the way, Rico Blanco’s “Kagat Ng Lamok,” off Rivermaya’s Tuloy Ang Ligaya, is a much better take on the same subject, the showbiz aspect of the local scene. Some of the lyrics may be acerbic, but the music is totally laid back — the kind of contrast between music and lyrics that is sometimes needed for some songs to work.
6. Casa Fantastica
Either they didn’t took it too seriously or they just wanted to try other stuff, like you know, writing lyrics in Spanish and music that sounds somewhat like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Or both. Because they’re not mutually exclusive. Anyway, a much better song than this, which is also on 1896: Ang Pagsilang is an Ely-Raimund collab with members of Teeth and The Youth. It’s called “Halo-Halong Digmaan.”
5. Sa Wakas
Admit it, this is kinda crappily recorded. Don’t know if this was intended as a filler (i.e., to fill the blank space in the cassette tape so you don’t have to fast forward or rewind it too much), but it sounds that way. Like “Cutterpillow,” except with “Cutterpillow” they didn’t bother with other embellishments, just guitar, vocals, harmonica, and a few handclaps. Also, lyrically, with “Cutterpillow,” they were just having fun. In “Sa Wakas,” we have a seemingly vindictive Ely Buendia gloating about him winning against his imagined detractors and enemies. And it seems, he’s doing it unironically. Songs that celebrates success are fine, like Rico Blanco’s “Alab Ng Puso,” but gloating about said success isn’t. Probably one of the most uncool thing ever. Gloating. Unless it’s hip-hop or rap or something else.
Sure, it sounds boldly different from the rest of the album, but isolated, it just sound kinda generic. Like Eheads trying to be Daft Funk or something, and ends up sounding daft. Sorry. It’s not bad but it doesn’t add much to the album either. And even with Squid9’s fillers, within the album, “Playground” sticks out like a sore thumb. A fucking sore thumb.
One of Ely Buendia’s rules in sequencing album tracks, it seems, is to put the weaker songs first or last on each side. He’s not a big fan of frontloading it seems. At least not as much as balance. Anyway, this is one of Adoro’s earliest stab at writing a rock song. It has some riffs, and that’s it. Anyway, he would write much better songs, some ten to fifteen years later. But at this point, those Punk Zappa fillers were the best he’s written yet.
2. Game! Tama Na!
Maybe the perfect example of them going thru the motions. Maybe. With “Peace It Together” at 7:15 and “Pop Machine” at 5:39, this song clocking at 5 minutes is them really pushing it. And with nothing to say other than what they already said with “Peace It Together,” this is easily the longest filler in any Eheads album ever. By the way, Marcus Adoro’s “Southsuperhighway” is also a filler. But it gets by, by virtue of having the higher WTF factor. Also, SSH is the proper way of doing a proper Prodigy/The Chemical Brothers/Atari Teenage Riot number properly, not the way they did “Everything They Say.”
I don’t know how many fans knew or heard this. It’s on Bananatype EP. Was written for the movie Run Barbi Run, because they’ve got the hots for the movie’s lead actress, Maricel Laxa, who played the titular character (not Barbi, the policewoman). Well, who haven’t tho? Kahit pa karate master ang tatay nya na si Tony Ferrer, di ba? That if I have a time machine, I’d go back and watch all of her old movies, including that one with Rene Requiestas. Yes, including that one. Anyway, this song, written by the horny lads of the Eraserheads, regardless of whom it was written for, actually, kind of sucks.
P.S. Wala akong nahagilap na hot na lumang photo ni Maricel Laxa sa internet. Pero kay Tony Ferrer meron — kaya ito na lang. Pasensya na.
Image header taken from hindi ako nag-edit niyan, ninenok lang from Spot.ph.