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 exactly what it says it is — a triple LP with 69 love songs on it. Sixty-nine songs is roughly the equivalent of six full length albums. And even Pavement, the last great American band from Sacto, Northern Cal, only produced five studio albums. They’re one LP short. And it took them 10 years to do that whereas The Magnetic Fields did 69 all in just one go (probably the reason Robert Christgau gave it an A+). Anyway, onto the songs…

Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin, Juris. Way before Unique and Zild, there was Juris. Mononym. Like Drake. Adele. Found this untagged MP3 on my phone. Thought it was Regine Velasquez’s version of the song. Turns out it is not. By the way, this version is better than Regine’s, which is better than Ariel Rivera’s, which was better than… No, Ariel Rivera’s songs are not better than anything. It’s always the covers and later versions of them that makes them good, saves them, like when Kamikazee salvaged ”Sana Kahit Minsan.”

Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal, Itchyworms. Don’t you think it’s good that previously unavailable non-album songs like this are now becoming more accessible because you can now stream them on Spotify. Think it’s one of the “goods” of Spotify. Because it consumes less data than streaming the music video on YT which isn’t even HD, I guess? Idk. I’m playing a 320kbps file I saved on my phone.

Once I Loved, Astrud Gilberto. This should’ve been called “The Astrud Gilberto Song,” though “Once I Loved” is also fine. Today I learned, that Astrud Gilberto later hooked up with Stan Getz. Yes, that’s the same Getz, of the famous Getz/Gilberto, the Gilberto being Astrud’s then-husband when they made this album. By the way, this song is my “Starbucks mood” setter. I don’t know, I suppose it’s the same mood as when I go to the beach and drink beer but somehow it gets associated with sitting in a coffeeshop and sipping on a cup of overpriced coffee.

I Won’t Last A Day Without You, The Carpenters. The Judy Ann version would also be fine.

You, The Carpenters. If you’re into collecting records and you’re a Carpenters fan, you might have wondered as well why “You” isn’t always included in their greatest hits compilations. It’s because it was never released as a single, and therefore was not a hit, in the US or elsewhere — except in the Philippines. This song, off the band’s seventh album, is a non-single. But some pinoy radio DJs back then must’ve liked the song so much that they started playing it on their programs and soon other DJs followed suit and eventually made the song a Philippine-only hit, just like Rupert Holmes’ “Terminal” and Stephen Speaks’ “Passenger Seat.”

Escape (The Pina Colada Song), Rupert Holmes. Speaking of Holmes, this became “popular” again recently due to Awesome Mix Vol. 1, Star-Lord’s mom’s gift to Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord, in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Anyway, interesting story, which you’d probably miss if you don’t read the lyrics. It’s about a couple who’s bored with each other and their marriage, two individuals, who, in the end, probably deserved each other, deserved to be together.

Everything, Alanis Morissette. I thought this is one of her bestest songs. I mean, honest, confessional, I thought this is very empowering. But I don’t know women, so I don’t know, I might be wrong. I thought this feels like what it feels like when someone really really loves you, when you’re in a happy healthy relationship with someone, and s/he’s really good in bed. Sure, sex doesn’t solve personal, much less world, problems, but good sex, good loud sex, is all you need, sometimes. And feeling loved of course.

Sirang Romantiko, Put3ska. I think it was in one of Diego Castillo’s Foaming In the Mouth podcast where I first heard Sylvia La Torre’s “Alak.” I liked the song. So, I searched for it, found it, and downloaded “Ikaw Kasi,” the album which includes that song. The other day, I found that this album also has a song called “Bahala Na!” I played it and I thought it sounded familiar. It’s the same song found on FrancisM’s Freeman, which I didn’t know back then was a cover. Now, I’m wondering if “Sirang Romantiko” is cover or not, given that “Manila Girl” was earlier recorded by the Urban Bandits. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Edit: According to Google, this was written by Arnold Morales. So, no, it’s not a cover.

Like Someone In Love, Chet Baker. In my nth attempt to get into jazz, I saved a number of jazz albums on my phone, which I labeled Jazz Starter Pack. Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue (reportedly more accessible than, say, Bitches Brew), Thelonius Monk’s Brilliant Corners, something by Coltrane, and Chet Baker Sings. I liked Chet Baker Sings, the rest I just couldn’t get into.

Hallelujah, John Cale. Leonard Cohen alludes to David playing a harp (maybe) before King Saul in the first verse, and then mixes the story of David and Bathseba with Samson and Delilah on the next. Cohen also made the point that David wanted to be tested, just like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob before him (Your faith was strong but you needed proof / You saw her bathing on the roof / Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you). While the other three passed the test, David failed miserably. Eventually, he sent Uriah Heep to his death, and took Bathseba as his wife. And I learned all this from watching the movie King David on an old VHS tape back in the ’90s. Not even in my teens yet, but for a Biblical movie, this has a fair amount of violence, some sex and nudity.

You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, The Miracles. Four Brothers, a movie about, well, four brothers, two of them black and the other two white, starring Mark Walhberg, one-half of Outkast, and two other guys, is a good movie. The song isn’t really featured in the movie. But some blogger from years ago, thought it would be nice to share a Motown classic after talking about the movie. Because the movie is set in Detroit. And it features some Motown classic. I downloaded the MP3 and it got me hooked on it from the moment the piano intro started.

Your Ex-Lover Is Dead, Stars. Captured a taxi despite all the rain / We drove in silence across Pont Champlain / And all of the time you thought I was sad / I was trying to remember your name. He forgot her name? How could he forget her name? Her ex must have been a dick. I mean, I (kind of) met someone before and I never forgot about her. And I didn’t even know her name. But I never forgot. Going back to the song, it’s good that they ended up alone, not together in the end. Because her ex’s a dick.

I Don’t Wanna Wait, Paula Cole. I only knew and heard about Dawson’s Creek based on what my friends said or did not say about the show back when it was one of the things they used to talk about. They said ABS-CBN’s Tabing-Ilog was a rip-off of it. Also, up to this point, I don’t know which came first: the Barbie’s Cradle song or the show? The song most probably. Anyway, for the longest time, I thought it’s “I don’t wanna wait for our lies to be over” instead of “our lives to be over.”

Darating, Teeth. There’s a bit of “minsan lang kitang iibigin” in this final track on Teeth’s final studio album I Was A Teenage Tree. Only it’s way less schmaltzy, less heart on one’s sleeve than the 1993 hit written by Aaron Paul del Rosario, which was originally based on a poem called “I Will Love Thee But Once” — the final line of the poem “But once will be forever” seamlessly translated into the song’s “dahil ang minsan ay magpakailanman.” What did I say about songs that promise forever? Teeth has a better alternative: “Parang ayaw na kitang mawala. Minsan lang darating — mawawala pa ba ang minsan?”