AUDIO JUNKIE: Ben & Ben, Moira Dela Torre drop new collab, Marion Aunor returns, John Legend gets the ALOK treatment

New music for a stressful week.

Rains and news of rising cases of the ‘Delta variant’ is certainly putting a damper on all our 2021 plans. When ’21 is starting to look more like ’20, we go back to our default music listening mode to deflect ourselves from the sorry state of things. When will it go away? Our answer is as good as yours man. In the meantime we suggest you focus on the good things instead.

Here’s some worthy distractions.

Ben & Ben never fails to put our ears at ease whether they’re doling out some neo-folk tinged track or on some meaningful ballad. Their new one leans on the latter as they pair up anew with Moira on a relaxing new song titled “Pasalubong.”

Described as a “heartwarming ballad,” the new song is a “romantic confessional that drips with unapologetic sentimentality.” In local parlance, that translates to ‘hugot.’ But this one’s the classy kind. The chugging acoustic rhythms, the sparse piano motifs and the rising synth underneath Moira and Paolo Guico’s unhurried and dulcet vocals make this a must add for your 2021 Senti playlist (along with Janine Tenoso and Arthur Nery’s “Pelikula” and the like).

The new song “was inspired by the double meaning behind the title” which means gift in Tagalog, and also ‘to meet.’ “The track is a play on both these meanings” according to the group’s press.

Moira meanwhile adds that the song exudes “bravery and honesty despite the odds,” adding “It isn’t so common anymore today to say what you mean. So I love that after a whole song of poetry, we end with the simplest but scariest lines to say, Gusto Kita.”

This collaborative writing exercise for Ben&Ben and Moira is arranged by the band’s percussionist Andrew De Pano.  This is the second time that Ben&Ben and Moira have paired together. The first being 2019’s “Paalam.” A video for “Pasalubong” was also released in time with the single’s release.

Marion Aunor is someone we all want to hear more regularly from. The “Akala” singer, a song which currently has close to 27 million listens on Spotify alone, just popped up on two  new OST albums. The first is the acoustic, lullabye-like “Mahal Kita Ngayon” which is the theme from the Vivamax movie-for-streaming titled “Nerisa.” This effervescent tune is a perfect prom night theme song for sweethearts. We imagine starry-eyed, lovestruck youngsters connecting with this song’s sweet, sentimental theme. Marion’s other song is “Maganda Kahit Matanda” which is featured on the upcoming “Revirginized” movie that stars Sharon Cuneta and Marco Gumabao. This song’s theme plays on the movie’s May-December love story, and finds Marion being tinkering with a faux Reggae beat. Still works!

The “Revirginized” OST also includes Janine Tenoso’s “Umibig Muli” and the Karencitta club banger “No Apology (Wala Akong Paki).”

John Legend is featured on a new single by Brazilian star ALOK. The new single titled “In My Mind,” is from ALOK, a dance and pop music star from Brazil who previously worked with the Rolling Stones on the 2020 remix of “Living In A Ghost Town,” Zara Larsson’s “Right Here” remix, Jason Derulo’s “Don’t Cry For Me,” with Tove Lo on “Don’t Say Goodbye” and whole bunch of club dance singles. On Spotify alone, ALOK has more than 20 million monthly listens.

This new single with John Legend is a mid-tempo ballad that features The Voice judge and singer-songwriter on slow-burn dance club track mode.