AUDIO JUNKIE: New Pinoy pop singles alert

Published October 23, 2021, 5:43 PM

by Punch Liwanag

The last quarter of 2021 means a late surge of music releases from all over.

Starting with these varied acts.

Prolific rap artist Because (BJ Castillano) broke his three-year full-album release streak (2018-2020) for 2021. Not because the well is drying up, far from it, the rap artist is as productive and just thought it prudent to produce only singles because of the current climate (we are still in a pandemic after all). That only meant that the rapper is able to give full attention to songs like the newly released “SMS.” This moody jam pulsates with trap beats alongside lo-fi elements (produced by NEXXFRIDAY) as Because grumbles about waiting for a text (from his girl) that never comes.

Boyband ALAMAT made sure that 2021 is a banner year by releasing a pair of well-received singles in “kbye” and “kasmala.” ALAMAT not only managed to score points for said catchy singles, but also garnered praise for its sharp sense of style. That they managed it by taking cues from Pinoy influences is all the more impressive because instead of just imitating, they are actually forging a style that’s distinctly theirs. New single “porque” is also consistent with the group’s multi-lingual approach (therefore inclusive) to their pop aesthetique. The new single is a hit from the mid-aughts by Zamboanga-based alt-pop band Maldita. The lyrics mix Chavacano and Tagalog, but the melody is totally infectious. ALAMAT’s approach is mellower. Thus ALAMAT – Taneo, Mo, Jao, Tomas, R-Ji, Valfer, Gami, and Alas – now have their first proper ballad. A mid-tempoed Hip-hop inflected version that adds to the ALAMAT allure.

We standby our assertion that Kyle Raphael is a singer-songwriter to watch out for. And the Cebu-based singer proves it with brand new single “Bihira.” Kyle fuses pop, acoustic and jazzy bits to come up with a really tasty Pinoy pop. Kyle’s themes are rooted in sentimentality, but manages to veer away from mushy pap. Instead he enlivens the love song genre with smart sounding pop and lyricism. You have to be when you’re singing about themes that’ve been done ten thousand times before. Good thing Kyle Raphael has a fresh approach to it all.

Composite photo from top left clockwise Because, ALAMAT Kyle Raphael, Down By 18 with Tom Rodriguez and Mikee Misalucha

Talented pop music artist Mikee Misalucha (yes she is related to the singer) drops a Hiphop inflected track called “I Know (알 아 요)” that comes complete with Korean subtitles. It’s with good reason because Mikee is singing about the whole kaepub (Kpop), aegyu (cute) oppa experience on her latest song. And just to give it authenticity, Mikee also sings in Korean and also features a legit Korean pop singer in Hamin. The resulting track is a believable pop track that would both pass as Pinoy and K-pop.

So Tom Rodriguez is singing and rapping now. Because that’s the actor doing exactly that on the new single by pop rock band Down By 18 titled “Love Is A Promise.” Down By 18 is a young boyband-ish looking band (as in one that can actually play their instruments) that’s known to serve pop rock songs with touches of Queen-styled vocal harmonies and layering. The new song mixes Maroon 5-ish sounds with Pinoy pop rock. Down by 18 lead vocalist and guitarist Jonn Walter Dumagan has a flexible falsetto and we like the harmonies John Gerald Ajero (guitarist), Alvin Morilla (drummer), Mikee Mendoza (bassist) and Kenneth Solomon (keys) provide. For Tom Rodriguez’s part, he delivers a rap break of his own invention in the middle and also adds a layer of vocals to the choruses near the end.

 
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