Monday, March 7, 2011

They don't make songs like they used to anymore...

I was hungry for something old, nostalgic and can bring me away to some far away land or perhaps "time-warp" me into another era and to another place. So when I got home, I searched for old songs and even older songs... Local of course! Some of you might have this impression that I am not much into pop music, yes, I am not into pop music at all, modern pop music that is. Exceptions of that are the pop music of the 90s, 80s, and even 70s... Just because pop music these days are just full of crappy lyrics and crappy sounds and shitty arrangements and compositions... That's my reason for not liking most modern pop music(local or otherwise), at all.

In the local music scene, where did the brilliant composers go? Yes, we have so many marvelously gifted singers locally, but songwriters? Where are they? Even Gary Valenciano and Ogie Alcasid, who are two of my most favorite local singers and composers don't make music the way they used to back in the olden days. If ever they make new songs now, it just doesn't have that "ooomph" anymore. Unlike back in the 80s or 90s, lyrics and beats just captures everyone's ears, hearts, and imaginations. Lyrics were beautifully written, cheesy but intelligent, and they were composed well enough for both the masses and the other classes of society to get hooked and stir their emotions.

Manilyn Reynes, she was a hit back in the 80s, where are the people who used to write songs for her? Ogie Alcasid could be one of the people who wrote songs for her. Do you remember her first single Sayang na Sayango as well as her major hit Ikaw Pa Rin? Which I think the latter have been remade several times by many singers, but still, nothing beats her version, the one and only original.

Ikaw Pa Rin

Rachel Alejandro, I remember when I as a small kid, while fetching water or waiting in line in the local hand water pump facility of our neighborhood, I sung some of her songs... In my head. Nobody has ever heard me sing out loud voluntarily, except in the rare occasions where I was drunk and forced to sing in karaoke lounges. Back then, I was very fond of the song Kay Tagal, but lyrically, the song Bulag sa Katotohanan is heart wrenchingly beautiful.

Kay Tagal

Bulag sa Katotohanan

I love Sharon Cuneta Movies as well as Sharon Cuneta songs. Although I have not memorized her immortal movie lines and movie lineups, but I know and very much like some of her old songs, like the very famous "Bituing Walang Ningning" that was also the title of the movie where that song was a theme song. The song Mr. Dj, was a cutesy-fartsy pop song written for the teenagers as well as the massive radio listeners of that era. Which I think, way back in those days, radio was a very big business with the absence of fast and instant access to different music and entertainment, thus, the song was inspired to be written. Do you guys remember Joe D Mango's Love Notes?

Mr. DJ

To Love Again --- I did not know that this was a Sharon Cuneta original until earlier.

The 90s, my two most unforgettable hits back on the 90s were one hit wonders. The first one is Agot Isidro's Everyday, and the second is Viktoria's Dahan-dahan. Whatever happened to her? The music video of her song Dahan-dahan is simple and nicely made, one my fondest memory of the first ever Filipino music video I ever watched when MTV was made publicly free in channel 23.


The 70s, where our mothers and fathers are having the time of their lives in school, when it was their turn to be carefree and fall in love. This was the decade where some local artists made their mark in music history and became the pillars of what is now our local music culture. Where local songs were played in discos and people were not ashamed to dance to the beat of their local bands. Danceable songs back then were nicely written, has danceable beat, and makes sense. Unlike most local upbeat songs today, which are made in such a novelty that targets the masses with ridiculous lyrics and even more ridiculous dance steps! Popular songs made in this decade were socially conscious (Asin's Masdan Mo Ang Mga Bata) and raised environmental awareness (Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran). There were also songs made in this era that were made for the love of the country or city, celebrated national pride and inspired patriotism.

Sumayaw Sumunod - Boyfriends

Manila - Hotdog

Masdan Mo Ang Mga Bata - Asin

I know that globalization is forward thinking and people's taste for music evolves through the years, this also means that song writers need to evolve with time in order to thrive. I know too that Filipinos' taste for music is becoming global, but does that mean we do not write songs with our own unique sound anymore? Songs that talks about local politics and local issues, and inspires patriotism. Like the recently disbanded Bamboo, they write beautiful songs that have messages regarding social and political issues. If you listen to their lyrics, one will know this is a Filipino band talking about Filipino issues. The Apo Hiking Society, wrote a song for President Aquino's inauguration, that song was patriotic, most people liked it, but I think it only had airplay during that event, never to be heard again. Noel Cabangon, writes songs regarding different issues aside from the pains of love, in a beautiful way; he whom I heard will make his last album because sales are just low. I just miss those songs that contains lyrics and have beats that we can be proud of, which are uniquely ours. I've noticed that as Filipinos' taste in music become global, we tend to lose our identity as we sound no different from many western artists and singers. We tend to write songs about the great pains and bliss of love in a very western way, and shameless to say... Shallower way. We need to listen more to patriotic songs, to songs that discusses local issues as well as songs that are written so well that it can be appreciated in a global way but written intelligently and composed beautifully. There are so many amazing artists in this country, there are so many exceptional writers locally. There are so many bands that make songs so amazing they can uplift the very ill local music industry. Yet, they are given less opportunities to shine or perhaps, there are not much enough interest in local society for producers to invest in such talent. What I kept hearing on the airwaves from most (note... most, not all)local artists are just crap, or a bunch of remade songs! What is there to listen to? They don't make songs like they used to anymore. All the good ones are either unpopular, or you can only hear them play in their gigs around the city or just unappreciated by many and avidly listened to by few.


  1. Hahaha, with my OPM, Manila Sounds and Oldies collection, I won't have a problem dealing with Pop. Nako marami akong music entries this month!

  2. I think the deterioration of the quality music, the popular genre in particular, stems from the advances in production and reproduction, manufacturing, and packaging of recorded music. Back then a single recording would take months to do, and a take would include a lot or prep-work. These day, a bad take could easily be fixed digitally. Back then reproduction was analog and cumbersome, limited by the speed of the machinery and the quality of the materials, these days leaking singles online are becoming a marketing requisite.

    Because it is easier to create and recreate music now, the effort and discipline of making sure each song is perfect has lost its appeal. No longer do composers spend as much time perfecting the piece, or the performer collaborating on how it should be performed to show what the song really meant.

    Society today is consumerist, never wallowing to understand what a particular song means, our short attention span requires a different brand of popular music. One that relies heavily on synthesized effects and beats, catchy phrases and scandalous videos, rather than the poetry of lyrics and the discipline of musicality.

  3. i agree with you nasan na sila?

    well sharon is still visible pero ang crdit sa mga composer ng kanyang kanta... db... nasan n kaya sila ung iba patay na... ung iba wala na atang magawang kanta...

    Victoria yup i rememebr her as MTV icon before...

    opm music way back its GOLden days tlgang panalao...

    now puro revival n lng nagyyari eh

  4. @Mugen: Aabangan ko yang mga posts mo na 'yan!

    @Red: I agree with everything you said. With the convenience of technology, comes the lack of discipline (as you said) in creating worthy songs that makes sense. Peoples' tastes may have changed to a global scale, but as well as their capacity to comprehend and appreciate a song. Most are merely contented with digital beats rather than what the song conveys, the more high tech a song is, the more they are drawn to it, which in my opinion, should not be the case.

    @Uno: True! Puro remakes, wala na kasing maisulat.

  5. Nice! I like those two Rachel Alejandro songs!