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?”

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.

10 Albums That Didn’t Change My Life

MTV Unplugged in New York. Thor, Norse god of thunder, once said that Asgard was just like Earth — only they didn’t have cable TV. Maybe we lived in Asgard then, ’cause we didn’t have cable as well. We only had either GMA (they used to air taped week-old shows) or the ABS provincial station, depending on the orientation of the antenna mounted Continue reading “10 Albums That Didn’t Change My Life”

Se7en (Not the David Fincher Movie)


This, is definitely NOT about that movie that ends with Brad Pitt killing someone (Wrath, was it?) after he found out what’s inside the box. But what is a box? Sorry, PNBMD reference. I know you recognized that hunk above is Brad Pitt and it’s from a scene in that crappy movie called Fight Club. Continue reading “Se7en (Not the David Fincher Movie)”

The Mongols – Buddha’s Pest (2004)

mongbudGot Buddha’s Pest few months ago—got it pre-loved, second-hand, from eBay. As advertised, it is in mint condition. The CD inserts, with production notes and lyrics, are still intact—means the previous owner really took good care of it. It’s quite amusing though, that the liner notes come with directions and precautions, warning about the dangers in playing it loud and listening closely. That at full volume, it is no different from the red pill that could lead you down the rabbit hole; that it’s as potent as any mind-altering substance that could trigger mental time travel or worse, disorient and fuck the brain.

Buddha’s Pest is Jesus “Dizzy” Ventura’s (a.k.a. Ely Buendia) first proper release, post-Eraserheads; The Mongols, his first formal band since “graduation”. Like the five-track EP Fraction of A Second, which was sold in their gigs in CD-R format, Buddha’s Pest is also self-produced by the band, released via their own Criminal Records, but under a major label imprint for wider distribution. Much like Teeth’s unintended swan song I Was A Teenage Tree, Buddha’s Pest  is criminally underrated.

Quite interesting that The Mongols open the album with repeated sampled noises (which echoes, whether intentional or not, the electronic beats and loops from the Heads’ last outing), before kicking the flood gates open with “The Keeper”. What follows is a string of tunes that not only recalls the early ’90s—particularly shoegaze and grunge—but also reminds of Ely Buendia’s witticisms and penchant for melody—with the latter having gone a bit suspect on Carbon Stereoxide.

The Mongols mine old gold, both tuneful and mouthful: whether it’s the fragmented lyricism of “Bulakbol”, Buendia’s internal monologues in “Bakit Nga Ba?”, or his parade of comic-book characters in both the Billy Corgan-esque “Wig Out” (a troglodyte, a silent sentry, the Minotaur) and the impossibly sublime “Irish Spring” (the dragon-slayer, his lady fair, and the little monster). The words aren’t just sounds that flows with the tunes. There are stories in there, floating in a whirl of fuzz and distortion. Needless to say, this is easily Buendia’s best set of songs since Sticker Happy.

Continue reading “The Mongols – Buddha’s Pest (2004)”