Week six of 2015 has been quite swell. I’d pick the UP Fair night as the highlight of my week because it was my first time to attend and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience with friends. I went with Sid, Tim, Enzo, and Stephen and despite my premature exit (to go to Route to catch Autotelic), the food trip and the music was more than worth it. Sid and I were laughing so hard just taking notice of the toys one can win because they all look like morbid versions of the original. Like, there’s a brown Mickey Mouse that looked like a pervert uncle, a Spongebob that look like its hands were just sewn haphazardly, which I’m sure would terrify children. And then there’s the fact that you can win plates, bowls, glasses, and other glassware like from a regular perya but thing is, where the hell will you put it if you decide to rock out on Urbandub or Kamikazee’s set. I, for one, almost sat on the grass just laughing so hard. And then there was the Route 196 gig after, which was also the last day of my work week (my foot decided to trip on itself so I cried myself to sleep – not because of heartbreak, for once – because my ankle was sprained). Anyway, that was my week. And as usual, here’s a roundup of the amazing music that flew under my radar.
And again, I’m inviting y’all to our two-night gig (also my birthday celebration), The Rest Is Noise, which will be happening on the 27th and 28th of February, at Saguijo and Route 196 respectively. The lineup just makes me cry. RSVP here and I’ll give you a hug!
‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (album)’ – Drake
Drake basically pulled a Beyonce the same day Kanye West unveiled the Yeezy Boost line, the latter’s partnership with adidas (my favorite shoe brand). And as per Drake tradition, feelings were unleashed into the Valentine’s Day-numbed air.
My favorite track so far is “Jungle,” and after repeated plays, I had this realization that I like Drake better when he goes all mellow like that, redefining “emo-hop” in the vein of Nothing Was The Same’s “From Time” and “Too Much,” Take Care‘s “Marvin’s Room,” and Thank Me Later’s “Shut It Down.” Or more recently, “How Bout Now.” Although that doesn’t mean I like him less when he goes ballin’ because I believe “0 To 100/The Catch Up” was a strong contender against Kendrick Lamar’s “i” for the Best Rap Song for this year’s Grammys (not that this award validates anything anymore).
Here’s “6 God,” a track off the album that was previously released as part of a three-track compilation.
Download the album via iTunes. It says that the album is not available on the Philippines so what I did was I just clicked ‘Change Country’ and selected the Explicit version of course.
‘Baby, You’re All That I Want’ – TheBalladeer*
The mysterious and elusive TheBalladeer* returns with a new single, sampling Bryan Adams’s power rock ballad, “Heaven” this time. Smoky. And then it gets really interesting with the guitar bit towards the end. What I like about this – and usually what entrances me to an electronic track – is that it doesn’t sound too mechanical or robotic. Sans the conventional instruments, electronic musicians that can inject human emotions that flow through the song can evoke just the same reaction as a song with a traditional arrangement can.
‘Style’ – Taylor Swift
‘Pay No Mind’ – Madeon f/ Passion Pit
I am already stoked beyond belief that Passion Pit will be releasing a record this year and this is such a welcomed jumpstart. Collaborating with French electronic producer Madeon, the end result is a frenzied electropop ditty that explodes with color. As I’ve said when I first heard this, I feel like I’m gliding on rainbows, chasing pixie dust.
‘Local Indie Medley #1’ – Carlo Lava
Lions and Acrobats guitarist Carlo Lava arranged a medley of local songs that string great hooks and pop melodies from beloved tracks released by the likes of Autotelic and Farewell Fair Weather, along with the motown funk of Jensen and the Flips, graceful guitar arrangements from Reese and Vica and TheSunManager, and the frenetic energy of Fools and Foes and The Ransom Collective. The result was a slice of pleasant indie pop number, which elements have surprisingly complemented each other and not off-putting.
‘Make Me Whole’ – Similarobjects
There’s a moment in this song, at 0:54 specifically, which made me say, “There’s Jorge right there.” But by 1:20, I just lost it right then and there. You see, that’s the thing about similarobjects: anything he works on leaves an indelible mark on it, which makes it familiar. But familiarity isn’t necessarily directly proportional to, say, predictability. There’s a constant surprise, something new – although not of grand effect – that comes with his releases; an enigmatic by-product that’s a result of both technical proficiency and bottled moods and emotions carefully splashed onto a sonic canvas.
‘Well Within Sunshine’ – Sleepersecond
There’s a delicate touch of buoyancy in Jezi Matias’s releases that however the rough excerpts of them collide with the lightness of his overall work, it doesn’t meander from its true direction.
‘Throw Away Love Songs’ – June Marieezy
June Marieezy’s music is what I dubbed as “organic elegance.” It’s rich and supple, and at the same time, she paints a sonic landscape that bridges the gap between panache and street style.
‘The Blacker The Berry’ – Kendrick Lamar
When Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon annotated the lyrics from Kendrick Lamar’s latest song (released the morning after winning twice from the Grammys – where he didn’t show up, nor any of the Top Dawg Entertainment artists did), he mentioned about the similarity of Lamar’s last couplet to Common’s last line in “I Used To Love H.E.R.” stating,
In this final couplet, Kendrick Lamar employs a rhetorical move akin to—and in its way even more devastating than—Common’s move in the last line of “I Used to Love H.E.R.”: snapping an entire lyric into place with a surprise revelation of something hitherto left unspoken. In “H.E.R.”, Common reveals the identity of the song’s “her”—hip hop itself—forcing the listener to re-evaluate the entire meaning and intent of the song. Here, Kendrick Lamar reveals the nature of the enigmatic hypocrisy that the speaker has previously confessed to three times in the song without elaborating: that he grieved over the murder of Trayvon Martin when he himself has been responsible for the death of a young black man. Common’s “her” is not a woman but hip hop itself; Lamar’s “I” is not (or not only) Kendrick Lamar but his community as a whole. This revelation forces the listener to a deeper and broader understanding of the song’s “you”, and to consider the possibility that “hypocrisy” is, in certain situations, a much more complicated moral position than is generally allowed, and perhaps an inevitable one.
I, however, immediately thought about 2Pac’s “Keep Ya Head Up,” which was less aggressive, but also centralizes on empowerment, only ‘Pac was overtly directing it to the general populace, whereas Kendrick Lamar was indirectly spewing venom to those who puts malice to his statements (like, say, Azealia Banks, God bless her) by fully taking responsibility – as he always did – for his remarks.