Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)/ Ip Man (2008)/ A Short History of a Few Bad Things (2018)/ Slumberland (2022)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
I watched Eternal Sunshine for the first time since I don’t remember when, and I thought afterwards that Foo Fighters “Everlong” MV is still Gondry’s most imaginative work (i.e., dreams within dreams, horror tropes). The memory erasing scenes kinda loses its novelty after the nth time. And there’s one thing the movie could use a little bit more of its playfulness — the part where the characters tend to reconnect or subconsciously remember the person they’re supposed to forget. Something 50 First Dates (released earlier the same year) does a bit better (the part where Drew Barrymore remembers Sandler’s character by singing The Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”). Funny, which I only realize now, how both movies are about forgetting and remembering and that love/relationship needs work for it to work.

A Short History of a Few Bad Things (2018)
Can’t wholeheartedly recommend. Pero may ‘something’ sa pelikulang ito. That above, by the way, is a Wong Kar Wai reference.

Ip Man (2008)
Ip Man mixes martial arts, fictionalized history, period piece, and bits of melodrama quite as effectively as Donnie Yen mixes different modes of attack, defense, counterattack against different opponents in the well-executed fights in the movie. The movie’s first act feels like an homage to old kung fu movies, with familiar tropes and beats. The second act turns it into a period piece drama, where the respected Kung Fu master, once affluent, now struggles to make a living in the Japanese-occupied China. It’s probably the high point in the movie, at least dramatically, and leads into the promised final showdown. Though the third act’s centerpiece fight is lacking in thrills and somewhat anticlimactic, and the ending you can see from a mile, it’s hardly a reason for disappointment.

Slumberland (2022)
Momoa shines in this otherwise bland CG sleepyland. Thought it would deal with the loss of one’s loved ones and coming to terms with it but then the movie sidestepped that in the end, and dispenses some corny message every movies for kids almost always tell.

Breeder’s Digest

I probably should’ve not gone to work today. I wasn’t planning to, two weeks ago. I was supposed to go back home for one day holiday, then return Friday and go back again. But the circumstances changed, at work that is. And so here I am, with my brain and body seemingly not cooperating with me. Despite being ‘active’ during the morning meeting, brain seems to have stopped functioning after that — haven’t received the memo, it seems to tell me. Well, anyway, here’s some draft I wrote maybe two months ago.

Fuego! (1996), Grin Department. This is, without any reservation, the greatest ’90s album of all time. Very underrated stuff. Yeah, better than anything by the Eraserheads or Rivermaya or Radiohead. Better than Cutterpillow or Donna Cruz’s Habang May Buhay. Except this isn’t really the most consistent album you’d ever find — one-third of the tracks are fillers, skipworthy. Anyway, Grin Department aren’t really avatars of consistency, but funny stories, yes. Green jokes and double entendres as well. There’s “Sion,” about a guy who repairs Cinderella’s, er, Sion’s shoes (Kikinis at kikinis nang kiki-ni-s ‘yon / Lagyan mo ng biton / Titibay nang titi ba ‘yon / Lagyan mo ng takong). In my pirated version of this album, “8 Pa” is one of the bonus tracks (because pirated CD always have bonus tracks). “8 Pa” is probably one of the most accurate portrayal of urban poverty in a song (Lunes hanggang sabado, puro na lang trabaho at pagsapit ng Linggo, kailangan may negosyo). Yes, it’s more accurate than anything by Dong Abay, believe me. And yes, it’s about a working class guy who sells meat and his long fat longaniza on weekends just to make ends meet.

A Postcard from (2002) / Swerte (2002) / Burador (2003) / Salaguinto’t Salagubang (2003), Narda. I could’ve put Narda’s double-disc compilation Salamin Sibuyas Tetrapak (2018) here but that compilation doesn’t really exist. It would’ve been nice though if the band put some effort to pick their best songs and make a sort of greatest hits and put them up on Bandcamp or somewhere. Something like Teeth’s Dogs Can Fly. Anyway, so instead of picking just one of their albums, I included all of their first four EPs. Because, well, isn’t it nice to hear “Meron Ba?” and “Tanga” in one sitting? Or “Biyernes” (off Formika) and “Kusina” in the same playlist? “Tanga” and “Tayo Na”? Then “Molotov”? I’ll tell you what. It is the nicest thing in the world. It’s like lying on your stomach while enjoying a very dry Thai massage after a really long day.

The Forgotten Arm (2005), Aimee Mann. If you don’t know me by now, you will never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never. If you don’t know who Aimee Mann is, I’ll tell you who she is. She was the lady in The Big Lebowski who got one of her toes cut off because… Well, I forgot already. She played a very very minor character in that Coen Brothers movie. And there was this scene where Juliane Moore flies naked into a wall and painted some sort of post-modernist masterpiece. Yeah, she’s really naked in that scene. And it has nothing to do with Aimee Mann’s character. Anyway, Aimee Mann’s songs was heavily featured on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia (1999), which you probably need to see if you want to see frogs raining down from the sky. But this album, this album doesn’t need its own movie. The songs themselves tell a story, about a Vietnam war vet heroin-addicted pugilist and his “kind of white trash” girlfriend. How does the story end? I don’t know. But the melodies are great. Maybe my favorite Aimee Mann album. Like this better than Bachelorette No. 2 or the Magnolia OST.

Vive La Difference (1997), Eggstone. Found this CD when I was in Glorietta some time in the mid-2000s. It was in Tower Records and it was the first time I found out that you could actually “preview” or “pre-listen” these CDs — something you can’t do in most record stores. That you can request the saleslady to open the sealed CD and you could actually listen to these records if you like. So that’s what I did. Before that, I thought you just pick CD with an album cover you like and hope the songs don’t suck. See, I bought this CD by Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah (because the reviews were great) and later I realized that I don’t really like all of the songs. Anyway, I was initially confused whether Eggstone and Eggboy were the same band. After listening to a few songs, I remember that Mikey Amistoso onced mentioned Eggstone and Club 8 in Ciudad’s blog, said they influenced some of the songs on Is that Ciudad? Yes, son, it’s me. Anyway, this is one of, if not the best, indie pop/rock albums. From Sweden. Ever.

Hello! How Are You, Mico the Happy Bear? (2000), Ciudad. So, I emailed Mikey Amistoso, sent him a very long fan email telling them how I love to see them and I badly wanted to have a copy of their first two albums. He still had a few copies of Is that Ciudad? but Hello! How are you I’m fine thank you is already out of print. So he just burned and gave me a CD-R copy. I mean, fuck, this guy just gave a CD-R copy of the greatest indie-rock album of 2000s — no, just 2000, the year, not the decade, not 2000s — and I was the happiest fan in the world. “Bombsite” is what Pavement would sound if Spiral Stairs could carry a tune and Bob Nastanovich could sing backup vocals. But that’s not the only killer song on this album. Maybe you haven’t heard this song before, it’s called “Strawberry Jam” and it goes “Would you be my strawberry jam? I’m like a bread now, I’m ready when I’m all toasted.” Ain’t that like poetry? If not, then I don’t know what is.

Dogs Can Fly (Teeth’s Finest) (2003), Teeth. No greatest hits compilation is greater than this. You know why? Because Teeth only had four albums — three LPs and one EP (Bum Squad) — and this perfectly sums up their catalog. All the highlights are here. From the anti-alcoholism anthem (Laklak), to the anti-bum boyfriend anthem (Bum Squad), to their homage to H.G. Wells (Time Machine), to their attempt at writing a song about astronomy with the hopes that NASA would pick their song instead of that crappy song from Reese Lansangan (Shooting Star), down to the ultimate anti-slacker love song (Darating), this collection is just perfect, just like that True Faith song which not one of you probably remember. More perfect than the greatest Eraseheads albums on vinyl. Okay, there’s only one Eheads album on vinyl.

I’m So Tired

I’m so tired, sheep are counting me. No more struggle, no more energy. I’m So Tired, Fugazi. I like Minor Threat, but I just couldn’t get into Fugazi. I like one song of theirs, but mainly for the live version of it by a group of lovely ladies in sundresses. Was it called “Waiting Room”? Yeah, I’m not even sure. I like that song because, who doesn’t like ladies in sundresses rocking out a Fugazi tune? And I like this one as well, because of its title, because it’s slow, and it’s played on piano, which is probably the most hardcore non-hardcore thing the band has ever done.

Thursday night, I’m making Denise. Friday night, I’m making Sharise. Saturday night, I’m making Luis (?) Oh, why can’t I be making love come true? Tired of Sex, Weezer. Rivers made up an interesting situation here. He’s tired of banging different girls every night but he’s also sad because he’s missing something. Could this be a metaphor for work? Okay, I’m making this a metaphor for work, because there’s no way it applies to me in a non-metaphorical sense, as in being Rivers-(un)lucky, making girls come one each night — not because I can’t but because I won’t. Um, just want make that last part clear. Very clear. By the way, in its metaphorical, my made-up metaphorical reading of it, at work, it’s the bosses, the management that you have to make come. And I think I’m tired of that.

So tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for yooooooouuuuu. Tired of Waiting For You, Green Day. I think Green Day covered this for a soundtrack or something, maybe around the time Billie Joe Armstrong was getting into the Kinks, around the time he lifted inspiration from Kinks’ “Picture Book” for Green Day’s “Warning.” Edit: This was actually originally issued as B-side to “Basket Case,” which means Green Day recorded this way before they wrote “Warning.” By the way, “you” here means work — work with better pay and lesser stress.

Yeah, I’m waiting — for you, it’s been so long. Come Around Again, Jet. Yeah, this is from their debut album, which I think is fine, Pitchfork’s negative review notwithstanding. Some of their songs sound pretty derivative, as if they’re emulating Oasis, the Stones, or AC/DC. And I don’t think their lyrics are on par with that of Alex Turner’s on Arctic Monkeys’ debut. But you know what, I like some of the songs. It’s not a four star album, it’s not a classic, and I’m perfectly fine with that.

Tired Eyes. Neil Young. At this point, it should be obvious that I made this by searching the word “tired” on my Pulsar app (titles without the word “tired” are late additions to this playlist) whether or not they’re about being tired or not. In this case, it’s about drug murder in Los Angeles canyon, according to Neil Young. This is off the album Tonight’s the Night. And it’s not about being tired.

I’m so tired. I haven’t slept a wink. I’m so tired. My mind is on the blink. I’m So Tired, The Beatles. Yes, same title as the first song because it needs reiterating. I first heard the Elliot Smith version of this song. I think it’s Smith performing the song live. By the way, Elliot Smith also covered The Beatles’ “Because,” which appeared in the movie American Beauty, which won Oscars Best Picture, although film critic Noel Vera wasn’t a fan, and titled his not-so-glowing review for the movie, “American Boobies,” which I thought was apt, despite the fact that I like the movie, because it was highlighted by scenes featuring exactly that, American boobies! Still, that dream sequence where Mena Suvari is lying on a bed of roses, her privates barely obscured by petals of red red roses, and she’s floating from the ceiling above the main character’s bed, I think it’s one of the most iconic movie scenes I’ve seen. Or, maybe I should watch more movies?

I’m so tired of being alone. I’m so tired of on-my-own. Won’t you help me girl, just as soon as you can. Tired of Being Alone, Al Green. Tired of Being Alone? Here’s 7 Reasons Why You Never Attract A Healthy Relationship. Ok, that appeared on the search results. Also, based on my Google search, it says that this song was also covered by Texas in 1993. By the way, I like Texas’ “Say What You Want.” Who’s Texas? They’re a pop/rock band from, not Texas, but Glasgow. By the way, those lines are actually about getting that girl to join your team and help you because you are so undermanned (i.e., alone) and overworked.

You try so hard to be someone that you forget who you are. Hold On, Jet. I never listen to this song without auto-playing that scene in my head where Peter has to choose what to wear: is he gonna be Spider-Man tonight? Or is he gonna be just Peter Parker? That always comes back, that feeling, the struggle, the struggle to balance things out, the struggle to keep trying. I probably didn’t relate to this particular scene before the way I would later, the way I’m reading it now. Someone said on Twitter that the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies were faithful to the character’s working class origins in the comics — something that has been lost in the other versions of the character in later, newer movies.

The damage has been done. I am not having fun anymore. Ann Don’t Cry, Pavement. I was wondering whether Stephen Malkmus wrote these particular lyrics before or during the recording of the band’s final album, Terror Twilight. I was wondering if these lines reflect how Malkmus felt about being in the band at the time. I checked the track listing of Farewell Horizontal so I can make an educated guess. Based on the tracklist, the first version of the song was recorded in Echo Canyon, Sonic Youth’s studio/rehearsal space(?) And in this version, Malkmus already sings the same exact lyrics. Which means, he must have written those lines already before things turns a bit sour later in the recording of the album. Which means, he wrote the lyrics not because he was kinda bummed about the difficult recording process of Terror Twilight, which, depending on who you asked, may have influenced the eventual dissolution of the band. Anyway, I’m just so fried.

Breeder’s Digest

May mga kantang nagkakapagpangiti, mayroon ding nagpapakilig. Mayroon din namang nakakapagpalungkot, mga kantang mapanakit. Mga kantang may melodies at lyrics na makapagpapadama sa’yo ng kung ano mang nadama mo noong una mo itong napakinggan, na magpapaalala sa’yo kung ano man ang nasasa loob mo, dinadala, o iniisip mo noong panahong narinig mo ito sa radyo, sa CD, o sa MP3 player. Nga pala, wala akong iPod kasi wala naman akong pera.

Hindi ako ang unang nagsabi at nabasa ko lang din sa iba, na sobrang underrated daw ng “Bakit Part 2.” Actually, di ko rin agad na realize na mas maganda ito kaysa sa “Bakit Part 1,” na siguro ay mas madalas ko mapakinggan kasi nasa Side A s’ya. Nasa Side B ang Part 2; kumbaga sa kung fu, deep cut s’ya. ‘Di rin ata ito nai-release bilang “single,” ‘di gaya ng “Eddie’s Song” at “Jopay” (Hindi ako nanonood ng GMA7 o ng Sexbomb, pero dahil sa kantang ito napasearch ako at nagka-crush din (ng konti) kay Jopay). Matagal-tagal ko nang hindi napapakinggan itong kantong ito. Pero noong minsan narinig ko sa jeep, bumalik lahat ng ala-ala ko. Nagkaroon kasi ako ng amnesia. Lols. Medyo mapanakit pa rin ang kanta kahit matagal na s’ya. Kung nagtataka kung ano tinutukoy ko. Pakinggan mo lang ang chorus, nandoon ang sikreto.

Maliit ang chance na maririnig mo ito sa radyo, sa FM dahil sobrang “indie” ng bandang ito. I’m talking about Ciudad. Sa Myx ko ata unang narinig at napanood itong “Monica (Karl’s Fantasy)” ng Ciudad. Na-hook agad ako sa catchy guitar riff sa intro. Na-hook din siguro ako sa lungkot nito. Walang malinaw na mensahe o meaning ang lyrics ng kanta kaya bahala na ang nakikinig kung ano man ang gusto n’yang interpretasyon. Basta dapat malungkot, one-sided love, parang ganun. Tapos dapat medyo geeky, dorky, at awkward pagdating sa girls. Si Mikey Amistoso na mismo ang nagsabi, hindi masaya ang kanta na ito.

Pwedeng fan ka ng mga kanta ng Ben&Ben at ang mga sawing kwentong nakapaloob dito, pwede din namang hindi. Pwede ring OK lang ang dating nila sa’yo, pwede rin namang medyo super slightly hate mo sila. Kung hindi ka fan, meron akong alternative. Hindi s’ya gaanong mapanakit. Pero interesting s’ya na alternative sa mas nakararaming love songs ng Ben&Ben, SUD, o Moira na halos magkakahawig na ang tema. Medyo informative din s’ya, kung dating (i.e., ligawan) ang paguusapan. “Easy Boys and Easy Girls” ng bandang The Strangeness ang sinasabi ko.

‘Di ko na maalala kung paano ko nadiscover itong kantang ito. Naghahanap yata ako noon sa YouTube ng mga kanta ng Smoking Popes tapos nakita ko itong “Megan.” Tingin ko mas una akong namangha sa fan-made music video nito. Ang video ay kuha sa isang camera na nakakabit sa likuran ng tren habang tumatakbo ito. Sobrang poetic nito; sobrang nostalgic din. Pero may sariling tema din ang kanta, sariling kwento, drama. Dagdag pa na nakoronahan bilang Miss World si Megan Young noong mga panahong iyon. Kaya tuloy imahe ni Megan Young ang pumapasok sa isip ko pag naririnig ko itong kanta, kahit wala namang nakakalungkot sa pagkakapanalo n’ya.


4-Track Mind: Sony BMG’s 2-in-1 Series Revisited

Remember Sony BMG’s 2-in-1 series? The series of reissues of albums from renowned musical acts of the ’90s? No? Nevermind. I do. Color It Red, Yano, Sugar Hiccup, Sandwich, Mojofly, Wolfgang, Razorback, Grace Nono, FrancisM, and… (gasp) The Company. The Company? Yes, bruv, The CompanY. The thing with the internet is, anything related to the series — promotional stuff, reviews (if there were any), posters, etc. — you wouldn’t find any trace of it now. Zero. Nada. Except for this PX thread, which if you think about it, is just one server (or cloud server, if they use cloud servers) mishap away from internet oblivion.

Yes, the aforementioned thread is the last piece of history about the series that one can find through Google search. Not sure if anyone out there is selling posters, related ephemera, etc. on Carousell. Of course, the CDs, you can still find them on online second-hand CD shops and reselling websites — more often than not, unreasonably overpriced. You can still find the CDs online, most of them I supposed, but not much history, related literature or whatsoever. Okay, all of the albums are most probably listed on Discogs.

Well, I have a few of them CDs (by the way, I’m not selling them, at least not for now, but I might in the future). I have Color It Red, Wolfgang, FrancisM, and Sandwich. And while the whole series boast cover arts from no other than Cynthia Bauzon & Arnold Arre, the lack of liner notes or anything more than rudimentary information and the whole packaging of the albums is actually lacking. 

I think Sandwich’s is the most sulit “double album” of the bunch because you get both Grip Stand Throw and 4-Track Mind, the band’s first two albums. Which means you get “Butterfly Carnival,” “Paano Sasabihin,” “Hair Pin, “Bottleneck”and a lot more for just Php 285. If you’re thinking why these two and not Thanks to the Moon’s, it’s because only these albums are licensed under Sony BMG. Sandwich’s other albums are on another label.

Wolfgang’s 2-in-1 features Semenelin, their second album (it was their first under Sony/Epic), and Serve In Silence, their fourth album. I have no problem with Serve In Silence, but for some fans, it would’ve been better if these were Semenelin and Wurm, the band’s third album, which honestly, I’m not really that familiar with. See, Serve In Silence was the first Wolfgang album I was able to listen to from end to end. Can’t say it’s my favorite of theirs, but “Atomica” and “Hiwaga” are easily among my favorite songs by them. And I can’t remember any song off Wurm or Black Mantra (if I’m not mistaken, this is the one where they incorporated some Korn-sounding guitars, which kind of turned me off on first listen). Other fans wished it was Semenelin and Wolfgang’s debut instead, but the band’s debut is on Ivory Records. So, there was no chance Sony BMG was gonna go for that.

What’s kind of disappointing about this double album, is that the version of Semenelin included in it was the US version. Which means instead of “Mata Ng Diyos,” you get “Watermarks,” which is an English version of the song and “Mula sa Kamandag,” the other Tagalog song in the original version, was replaced with “Roadworthy Man.”

Yano’s double CD was also a bit disappointing in that instead of Metro, the band’s second album, Yano’s debut is paired with Tara, the band’s third and last album. Tara is no doubt the band’s weakest record. I’m not sure if the rationale behind this is that Tara didn’t sell as well as the other two, so this is one way for the label to make profit off it? Maybe.

Color It Red’s debut has “Paglisan,” probably their most popular song (though I kind of doubt kids these days even know the song, or the band) and that little known gem “I Need You Here.” The other CD on this double whammy is the band’s sophomore effort Fool’s Circle, which to be honest, I haven’t really listened to. The only song I know from Fool’s Circle is “Pagguhit Ng Bilog,” which I used to hear on the radio around the time the album was released. I think the song is about the confusion between love, lust, and sex?

If you’re thinking that FrancisM’s double album is also a double whammy, no it’s not. It’s a let down. This could’ve been Free Man and Happy Battle. We got Free Man and Free Man 2 instead. On why that is, you might want to read back what I said about the inclusion of Yano’s Tara. Sure, Free Man is a winner, without a doubt FrancisM’s best album. His second best album is either Meron Akong Ano!, which is not under Sony BMG, or Happy Battle, which is under Sony BMG. No, Free Man 2 is nowhere near as good as those two. And yes, this would’ve been a double whammy if it was Happy Battle on Disc 2.

How about the other albums, which I don’t have? Mojofly’s 2-in-1 coffee features their first two albums, one of which houses the minor hit “Scooter Boy,” which according to the band, its title’s resemblance to Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8r Boi” was a mere coincidence. In case you don’t know, these two albums feature Kitchie Nadal on vocals. This was before she left the band, went solo and passed the mic to Lougee Basabas, who prior to joining Mojofly, appeared in Sugarfree’s “Sinta” music video (and I had a crush on her from then on). With Lougee on vocals, the band produced the hit “Tumatakbo,” which of course, isn’t included in this 2-in-1 chai tea.

I haven’t really listened to Mojofly’s first two albums, so I’m listening to Birthday right now. I’m on the fourth track now and so far, it’s pretty good. I like “Minimalas” and “Sinusubukan” is also fine.

Now, after checking the year these albums were originally released, I noted that A Million Stories came out in 2002, it was the “newest” album in the series. These reissues came out in 2006. Considering the four years gap, and as a fan of good album packaging, I wonder if it was wholly possible that the label could’ve just reprinted the two Mojofly albums, just like I presume how they did with Eraserheads albums sometime around late ’00s to early 2010s. I also wonder how come Mojofly albums are out of print already in 2006, considering again, the four years gap. 

But then again, record labels don’t probably print CDs in huge numbers unlike with cassette tapes which were much cheaper. It’s probably only around the mid-00s (when prices for local CDs were adjusted from around Php400 ~ Php450 to around Php250 ~ Php300) l’d ASSUME, that more fans started to buy CDs, especially since labels stopped releasing albums on cassette around that time. I’m sure Sugarfree’s Dramachine was released on both CDs and cassette because I initially bought it on cassette, probably one of the last records to be released on that format. 

Going back to the series, Razorback’s double murder has their second and third album on Disc 1 and 2 respectively. Beggar’s Moon, which I like, and Star, which I haven’t really had the time to listen to. Why not Hebigat Sounds Vol. 1? Well, because it’s on a different label, just like Wolfgang’s debut. Beggar’s Moon has “Munting Paraiso,” and other rifftastic songs. By the way, there’s a line in this song which I initially thought was “Pinili ang suso mo’t iba ang kulay.” When I checked the lyrics online, it’s actually “Pinili ang asul at iba’t ibang kulay.” Talk about an embarrassing case of mondegreen.

Sugar Hiccup? You probably know them for the song “Five Years”? No? The band had two albums under BMG (before its merger with Sony). The first one was produced by Ely Buendia and Raymund Marasigan, and contains the song “Five Years” and “Moden De.” But my favorite Sugar Hiccup song isn’t on any of these two albums. It’s called “Someday” and it’s on Alphanumeric Sampler 502, a compilation of songs from then unsigned bands, among them are Sugar Hiccup and Keltscross.

What else? The CompanY? I have nothing against this church choir (church choirs are generally fine). It’s just that I don’t think I’m among their target audience, which I don’t know exactly what — old Tito’s and Tita’s perhaps? I like “Muntik Na Kitang Minahal,” which is probably not included in this reissue. Grace Nono? Again, not the type of music I’d usually listen to. I appreciate them fine, Grace Nono, and acts like Pinikpikan, them that incorporate ethnic beats and instrumentation, them that remake folk songs like “Sarung Banggi.” But if you would ask me what’s the best version of “Sarung Banggi” for me, or “Pantomina,” nothing could replace the versions I grew up with. The version of “Pantomina” which people would play on really loud speakers every time there’s a wedding in the barrio, that’s the best version for me — and the songs sang by Carmen Camacho. But that’s for another story.

Header borrowed from this post about the impending CDpocalypse.

Oil Price Hike Playlist

The recent series of oil price hike reminded me of Lady Diane’s “Sa-Sa-Saddam,” which came out in the early the ’90s, during the Gulf War. If you’re thinking, is that the song that goes… yes, it is what you think it is. But instead of going with the obvious choices, like “Sa-Sa-Saddam,” or more recent songs like Narda’s “GasolinaContinue reading “Oil Price Hike Playlist”

14 Love Songs

Thought about picking 69 love songs for the Love Month. Then I realized that it was a daunting task, coming up with a list of 69 songs and writing about them. So I settled with 14. Because that’s Benjie Paras’ jersey number, back when he was with the Shell Turbo Chargers. By the way, I got this idea from The Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs, which is Continue reading “14 Love Songs”

5 Cool/Great Album Covers (and 5 Which Are Not)

There are album covers that add something — tone, hue, context — to the listening experience. There are album covers that are just great to look at. There are great albums with ‘meh’ album covers. The opposite is mostly likely also true. Anyway, below are album artworks which I think are cool or great, and album covers which are not. Continue reading “5 Cool/Great Album Covers (and 5 Which Are Not)”

Best Movies I’ve Seen in 2021

“Movies are our cheap and easy expression, the sullen art of displaced persons. Because we feel low we sink in the boredom, relax in the irresponsibility, and maybe grin for a minute when the gunman lines up three men and kills them with a single bullet, which is no more “real” to us than the nursery-school story of the brave little tailor.” Pauline Kael. Trash, Art, and the Movies. It’s a nice read. Even though I don’t know all the movies she mentioned in it. Continue reading “Best Movies I’ve Seen in 2021”

Mga Paborito Kong Kanta sa Taong 2021

A few months ago, I was listening to some of Zild Benitez’s songs on YouTube. On the second or third song, I wondered, these songs don’t sound the same as I remember. Only then did I realize that I was actually listening to a different set of songs, from a different album, Zild’s second album. I thought they were from Continue reading “Mga Paborito Kong Kanta sa Taong 2021”

Alcoholiday: Drinking Songs

Bakit Ba? Siakol. Nagaaliw sa usok at beer lang ang kasama. You can forgive the song’s overt sentimentality. Obviously, the guy’s already drunk even before the first line. And you know some guys are like that when they’re brokenhearted. And drunk.

Syota ng Bayan. Grin Department. Probably the most un-PC in the list. And it isn’t totally about drinking either. But you know me, I’ll include a song even for the slightest hint of alcohol in the lyrics. Even if it’s denatured or rubbing alcohol we’re talking about. This is what lack of alcohol does to a MF.

Di Ko Alam. Grin Department. Why this song? Because it’s hard to drink with the girl when you’re in the friendzone.

Salamat. The Dawn. Corporate rock at its finest but corporate rock nonetheless. I don’t really like The Dawn or this song, even though it automatically makes me think of ice-cold San Miguel Beer. But if you’re a fan, you can argue that even Fernando Amorsolo worked for La Tondena before (back when it was Ayala Distillery).

Sige. 6cyclemind. The thing with 6cyclemind is that, no matter how you dislike them, most of their songs (the better ones) are videoke staples. Also, because Eraserheads’ songs are usually harder to sing (Spoliarium, El Bimbo, Magasin).

Sabado Nights. Rizal Underground. The band sampled a riff from Juan Dela Cruz’ “Mamasyal sa Pilipinas.” And you may forget about this JDC tidbit but maybe not the lady in black T-shirt in that Sabado Nights TV commercial.

Spoliarium. Eraserheads. It’s not about something so sinister as some people think/used to think. By the way, “Wasak Waltz” is medyo cringe (Sorry, so conyo). Medyo pilit s’ya. At saka cliche na ‘yung ‘wasak’ nung ni-release ‘tong kantang ‘to. If I remember correctly, Ely once said that some of his songs (post-Eraserheads) were intially written for beer commercials. Maybe “Wasak Waltz” was one of those.

Bananatype. Eraserheads. Hey! What’s your name? Hindi mo ba alam na akoy lasing? This is Ely at his wackiest, and maybe Eheads at their bluesiest. Watch out for references to Tekken’s Jun Kazama (aahh, ‘yun pala ‘yun) and Mario O’Hara.

Giyang. Razorback. Conyo rock not at its finest but conyo rock nonetheless. Ugh.

Baso. Maude. The rare 2010’s song in the list. And… that’s all.

Hudas. Bamboo. ‘Pag sila’y nagtatawanang malakas, tinatawanan lang tayo. O ‘di kaya isang tropa lang sila, ang demonyo, si San Pedro at ang Diyos. ‘Nuff said.

Straight No Chaser. Rivermaya. Nathan Azarcon, patron saint of the broken, wrote “She’s So Uncool,” “Homecoming,” and this. While it is really about drinking it straight — no chaser — like that Siakol song above, this is also about a girl.

Gin Pomelo. Radioactive Sago Project. How the f*ck did I forget about this one the first time?

Inuman Na. Parokya Ni Edgar. This song could go on and on for as long as everyone knows the chorus (nevermind the verse) and until the guitarist couldn’t play the right chords anymore. Because he’s drunk already. We’re drunk already. And neighbors were already angry.

Pare Ko. Eraserheads. The post-basted group therapy song. You can be Siakol and drink alone with your misery or you can drink with friends which is probably a lot more fun.

Masaya. Bamboo. Ako’y malungkot na naman. Amoy chico na ako, ilang tagay na hindi pa rin tulog. What I wrote about “Straight No Chaser,” I should have written for this. This song hits really hard. Ang pag-ibig, ganyan talaga. Sa una lang masaya.

Alkohol. Eraserheads. This one’s from Raymund Marasigan. He wrote a Larry Alcala Slice of Life, where people are drunk, drinking, and all the things described in the song.

Laklak. Teeth. Someone needs to write a song about different type and brands of beer (or whiskey or whatever your weapon of choice is) the way The End wrote and sang about cars in “Drive My BM” just for the sake of it. Just for fun. You know, a song where there’s a line that mentions Heineken, San Miguel, Tiger, Sapporo… and rhymes Carlsberg with Spielberg. Why not a song about the perils of alcoholism? Well, because Teeth already did that.

Beer. Itchyworms. If including a song that has little to do with drinking (see above: Syota ng Bayan) is what lack of alcohol does to a MF, this song is what lack of pussy [and plenty of alcohol] does to a MF. Is he in denial phase? Or he got drunk so hard that he reached the tipping point of letting go. Either way, this song asks the ultimate fucking question. Ano ba talagang mas gusto ko: ang beer na ‘to o ang pag-ibig mo?

Photo from Reddit.

Movies, DVDs, and other horror stories

The Shining. Me and my cousins watched this together with other kids in a ‘piso-piso Betamax movie house,’ which is not really a movie house by the way, but an actual house. We watched this movie in somebody’s living room. You know what’s just as scary as the movie itself? My cousin whispering to my ear Continue reading “Movies, DVDs, and other horror stories”

Daredevil Season 1, The Suicide Squad, and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier (is one long boring title)

Took a full day off today. Still nursing a mild headache, probably from getting slightly more sleep than the usual, and took paracetamol for wrist joint pain that awoke me last night. It’s probably gout (Shit! We’re getting old). And it’s probably due to eating too much meat because we don’t have much Continue reading “Daredevil Season 1, The Suicide Squad, and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier (is one long boring title)”

Songs of the Week: Nina, Mayonnaise, Richard Hawley, Cultured Pearls

My dreams have come and gone. The world is spinning faster each day. And I am not the one my future promised I’d be. Well, Nina, what can I say? My alternate future self never made any promise to my past self. Maybe my past self never even dreamed of that alternate future self in the first place Continue reading “Songs of the Week: Nina, Mayonnaise, Richard Hawley, Cultured Pearls”

Movies: The Lone Ranger, WandaVision, Psychokinesis

Martin Scorsese once said Marvel movies isn’t cinema. Not that I have a strong opinion on whether movies such as Avengers: Endgame is cinema or not, it’s just that, I thought it’s cool to mention Martin Scorsese in the first line. That said, maybe you could say that Zack Snyder’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League Continue reading “Movies: The Lone Ranger, WandaVision, Psychokinesis”

Songs of the Week: Radiohead, Stephen Malkmus, Angel Locsin

Nostalgia, according to Wikipedia (a type of encyclopedia which doesn’t require any kind of lifting, reaching or walking to the bookshelf), is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. Nostalgia is associated with a yearning for the past, its personalities, possibilities Continue reading “Songs of the Week: Radiohead, Stephen Malkmus, Angel Locsin”

Re-watch: Spider-Man 2 (2004) / Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Recently re-watched Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man: Far From Home. The former is generally regarded as the best Spider-Man movie, and not only that, one of the best comic book movies, alongside Logan, The Dark Knight, and Watchmen (just kidding). And the latter, I’d say the best among recent Spider-Man movies. Don’t fight me. I know there are only three. But Far From Home is better than the animated one from Sony. And I think with FFH, the MCU is finally able to match the thrilling set-pieces of the earlier Spider-Man movies.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 isn’t a perfect movie. But what is a perfect movie? A movie may be perfect in some aspects, but it could be flawed when viewed from different angle. Let’s say, the special effects aren’t that special anymore. In terms of characters, dialogues, acting, etc., Spider-Man 2 belongs to those old movies when things seems to be an exaggerated version of reality. It’s “hyperrealistic” as opposed to the more “naturalistic” approach employed in the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies and MCU movies in general. Some people would say, “people don’t speak like that in real life.”

Well, they’re not exactly wrong. Because people in real life don’t read scripts and say their lines trying to convey to an audience what they mean and feel. People in real life don’t use expressions or speeches thought up by some writers who thought those would impart something to the audience, whether it’s a message or the story’s overall theme. During the time of Shakespeare, the actors were made to use words and expressions not used by the audience or the general populace! Specifically words that were ‘made-up’ or invented by Shakespeare himself. And yes, my grandmother didn’t give me solemn little speeches like Aunt May does in the movie, but she told me to be good—probably more than once. Not necessarily be a hero, just be a good person.

And speaking of overall theme, just what the fuck is the overriding theme of Far From Home? Is it deception? Responsibility? If the overriding theme of Far From Home is that “People need to believe. And nowadays, they’ll believe anything,” then what message (if any) is the movie trying to tell? And what about truth-telling? Well, that is probably too big a topic for a superhero movie. But then of course, there’s always the sequels. So, maybe Spider-Man will tackle that next time.

Of course, as with most MCU movies, I doubt FFH was intended to have a firm overriding theme, much less a message. And so if we consider that comic book movies are aimed primarily at younger audience, is it always better for them to have something to say? Well, not necessarily. Sometimes, movies just need to tell their stories. Spider-Man 2 went with its not-so-subtle messaging. There’s Aunt May’s “I believe there’s a hero in all of us,” whether it’s corny or touching, I guess, depends on the viewer. And then there’s also Stan Lee’s “One person can make a difference.” On a side note, I like Stan Lee’s cameo back when they were blink-and-you-miss-it, or when they still didn’t feel obligatory, or tacked on.

Both SM2 and FFH are great entertaining movies. One of them takes the comic’s ‘great responsibility’, builds on it and is able to tell a story about being a superhero/everyman, responsibility, and sacrifice. The other tells you that ‘responsibility ruins your vacation, and keeps you from dating the girl you really like.’ And there are no difficult choices—just new cool Spider-suits to make.

Breeder’s Digest: Fever Dolls, Teenage Fanclub, Sufjan Stevens

New artists you discovered recently?

This relatively new-ish band called Fever Dolls, which, if I remember correctly, is said to be an indie band that combines Saturday Night Fever and the punk rock theatrics of the New York Dolls. I won’t say I became an instant fan of theirs, but I like some of their songs, especially “Mrs. Carver” Continue reading “Breeder’s Digest: Fever Dolls, Teenage Fanclub, Sufjan Stevens”

Top 10 Porn for Christmas

I missed the chance to make this post on Christmas Day so I am taking back that chance now. Because, what’s the difference anyway? Christmas, New Year? When you realized that the “new year” only gives you a false sense of discontinuity, as if the time is a timer that resets every three-hundred sixty Continue reading “Top 10 Porn for Christmas”

Songs for Driving

photo of person driving a vehicle
Photo by UHGO on

Three typhoons in two weeks is no laughing matter. Five, if we include the tropical storms. And despite being constantly on Facebook for the latest weather bulletins and updates I found myself wondering the other day: “How come the last Typhoon was called Ulysses when the ones before them were Quinta and Rolly? What happened to S and T?” Continue reading “Songs for Driving”

Music: The Bernadettes, EndofContracts, Bembol Rockers, etc.


Let’s talk about bands you probably heard of before but never heard from again.

Bembol Rockers. Chances are, you probably knew more about Bembol Rocco’s children than the band whose name was inspired by Bembol Roco’s children’s father, who’s no other than—take a guess—Bembol Roco himself. And you probably knew more about Bembol Roco himself and his escapades in Manila in the Claws of Neon and how he lost Ligaya (before the Eraserheads found her again) than these rowdy quartet who specializes in rockabilly and swing. One more thing this band specializes in: How to disappear completely. Unlike Bembol the actor whom you can still see on TV from time to time, Bembol the band hasn’t left much trace, scent, internet footprint or whatever that could be traced back to them. Found no articles written about them. They made one album apparently. Or maybe two. One is The Fabolous Bembol Rockers (according to and two, this “Live” album found on pinoyalbums(dot)com which has the same tracklisting as the former.

The Bernadettes. I should probably stop writing this now because the band just released a brand new track last September. Like the Bembol Rockers, The Bernadettes were a hot commodity many moons ago. Never really heard anything by them until today, when I (re)discovered their song “Let’s Make Babies” on Lilystars Records’ Bandcamp page while looking for We Are Imaginary’s debut EP One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum. “Let’s Make Babies” is a great indie-pop song. Catchy chorus, great hooks. It’s like Nirvana’s “Molly’s Lips” meets Weezer and Oasis in a non-alcoholic bar and decided to have a threesome. Except all of them are males and therefore making babies is very much not possible at all. And the album cover featuring an elephant mounting a rhino? Not very wholesome, these guys. And I was really really disappointed when I found out that Bernadette Sembrano, Bernadette Allyson, and Bernadette Whatshername were not really the members of the band.

Your Imaginary Friends. Well, first off, they’re not real. Believe me. I used to have one when I was a kid. And my mom used to… Oh! You mean the band! Sorry, I thought… Okay, the band… Yeah, Ahmad Tanji & co. gave us “Nikita“, this EP and went into hiding, never to be heard from ever again. A lot of bands in Clem Castro’s Lilystars Records are like that, actually. The Camerawalls had only one album. The Gentle Isolation, The Viral Atmosphere, The Harsh Quarantines—all of them had only one album to their name. They’re still around actually, Your Imaginary Friends. Except they’re not your imaginary friends anymore. They turned out to be real. And they turned out to be not your friends. No, they changed their name to We Are Imaginary—I know, a little less catchy and imaginative if you’d ask me. At least they’re not imaginary anymore. Oh, wait, they still are.

The Butchercons. According to Stephen Malkmus, punk bands should release just one album and then break up. Maybe because there’s no merit in releasing same album over and over again. Maybe that’s The Butchercons’ credo too. One album and they’re done. Their album Coalesce may not be one of the best albums from the last decade but it’s a solid rock album. The guitars in this album totally owns, man! And these kids can really scream! Put this record on when you’re running low on energy. Or you can go to the nearest Family Mart and grab that energy bar. But if you have allergies, like me, then The Butchercons is your safest option. Of course, there’s also Cobra, Red Bull and coffee.

End of Contracts. You probably saw Edouard Canlas once on TV parading his bodega full of sneakers, but you probably never heard of End of Contracts, his musical alter-ego. End of Contracts’ lone CD Radioedito and Narda’s Discotillion came out around the same time. Thinking about it now, I actually regretted buying that Turin Brakes CD one time I was in Glorietta. Or Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah’s debut album. I should have bought Radioedito instead (and Moonstar88’s Todo Combo). I should have gambled on this one. It may not have been worth it but at least I wouldn’t be wondering now how the songs on this album sounds. I never really heard any song from this album, except for “Alamona”, which is actually a great song. Either it sounds like a long lost OPM gem from the 70s or a retro-hit in the vein of Itchyworms’ “Beer”, only it’s underplayed, underrated, and not a little bit vulgar.