As the remaining days of 2021 wind down to a close, hit bands and solo acts are racing to finish the year with new songs and singles.
Starting with hit pop band The Juans who just dropped another tasteful single titled “Sabik.” This mid-tempo pop ballad is a good indication of where The Juans are heading sonically. The good thing about this boy-band, which include singers Carl Guevarra and Japs Mendoza (also on keys and guitars respectively), rhythm guitarist-singer RJ Cruz, bassist Chael Adriano and drummer Joshua Coronel, is that their sound improves with every outing. 2021 is an exceptional year for the Juans, notable for the three-piece single releases that began with the much-talked about hugot-anthem “Dulo,” the ear-candy pop love song “Anghel” and the lo-fi inflected latest single “Sabik.” The Juans are getting better with their songwriting and arrangements, and their releases for 2021 are proof. Soundwise, we hear some late 80’s to mid-90’s melodic hooks and sensibilities on “Sabik” (and the other two tracks) but updated with 2021 elements, from the lo-fi keys, pop rock guitar fills, and yes, hugot sensibilities. Lead guitarist and singer Japs Mendoza is a secret weapon. He’s got a great tone and is one of the best voices of his generation. And The Juans know how to put him to good use.
Newly minted hitmaker Adie returns with a new single in “Tahana.” Tinkling pianos and easy-listening melody opens Adie’s latest love song. Adie’s themes are pretty straightforward, and just like “Paraluman” is an ode to Adie’s ideal perfect woman, “Tahanan” is a tribute to his dearest. In a falsetto that lifts, Adie croons “Sa bawat sandali / na tayo ay magkayakap nang mahigpit / taglay mong init ang bumabalot sa ‘king nilalamig na damdamin.” The warmth of your embrace is the place I want to go home to, and I don’t want to be in any other place except by your side. Not our best prose, but in the sonic context of “Tahanan,” it gets its message across. “Tahanan” could very well be a wedding song, and we can imagine a bride walking down the aisle as the groom, never taking his eyes away from his soon-to-be betrothed, imagines the rest of his life with the one.
For her music debut, newcomer Marielle Belleza covers a pop gem in “Rainbow.” Marielle actually does right with this song with those dulcet tones of hers. Like many aspiring young musicians, Marielle used social media (TikTok in particular) to kick-start her career in the “music biz” by posting covers on the popular platform with her singing and playing piano snippets. I guess, doing so was good practice for Marielle, because she managed to do a really good cover of this popular hit. While she did a minimal approach to the arrangement (vox-piano-keys-percs), her vocal tone and falsettos are spot on.
Then there’s pop rock vets 6cyclemind who returns with a new song titled “Langit.” Long time band members singer Tutti Caringal, guitarist Rye Sarmiento, bassist Bob Cañamo and steady replacements Herbert Hernandez (guitars) and drummer Vic Aquino soldiers on. Their new single is a keep-at-it-and-don’t-give-up-on-your-dreams type themed number. The guitars borrow from The Edge’s bible, hence the anthemic feel. The single is more a reminder for their followers that the band is still around, thank you very much. Actually, the new single is a preamble to the upcoming 20th anniversary celebrations of the band. Consider this a kickoff.