AUDIOJUNKIE: Acoustic pop flavored musings and those in between

Photo clockwise from top Kean Cipriano Fitz Shioda MRLD DaivJstn Avon Rosales, KaMuning

This week’s highlights are acoustic-guitar driven. Are we headed to a renaissance of acoustic flavored pop?

Starting with Kean Cipriano. Titled “Tayuman,” this acoustic guitar driven number is the first track from Cipriano after making it official that he has decoupled from his longtime band. Kean's delivery at the start of "Tayuman'' - a word play which means "tayo man" and Tayuman--a certain train station at the heart of Manila--feels almost like a folk song until it eventually grows into a soft rock tune near the end. Either way, the singer is able to convey that longing and lonesome feeling of going the opposite way of where the love of your life going. It’s a new and interesting phase for Kean Cipriano and his listeners are all interested in where he’s going to take his music.

Similarly, Fitz Shioda returns with a modern sounding, soft-rock ballad in “Tingin.” The follow-up to his equally beguiling (2022 release) “Callboi,” the singer shared that his new single is his version of the age-old theme of ‘love at first sight.’ But Fitz Shioda’s approach is anything but dated in this romantic mid-tempo ear-candy as he sings about how inspired he is at the feeling of being in love. Fitz also added that the title “Tingin'' refers to first impressions. “The first thing I always notice about someone is their eyes–somehow it gives you a glimpse of who they are and, and what they’re feeling and what they’ve been through.” If we’re judging at-first-listen, though, then consider us hooked, Fitz.

MRLD is a rising music act that’s getting all the right attention for her distinct sound and approach to pop. Something she does on a regular basis, like on her latest single titled “Ikaw Pa Rin.” MRLD borrows from retro pop to get her point across in this mid-tempo number about “loving someone even from afar.” MRLD also mentions that “Ikaw Pa Rin” is inspired by her recent interest in K-pop music. Interesting because it doesn’t sound anything like. Maybe it’s in the way she distills it. Now, it’s not exactly acoustic, but the relaxed and easy vibe is close enough.

A band who calls themselves KaMuning, just dropped an impressive sounding rock tune called “Balikan.” Acoustic guitars (but of course! With “Wonderwall” chords to boot), strings and grunge-y power chords are the order of the day for the virtual band that includes Joel, Teta, Max and Morgana. “Balikan'' is “about the never-ending round trip between love and hate.” The band definitely hits on all the right hugot feels on this mid-tempo rocker.

Avon Rosales, singer of inspirational songs, returns with a new song in “CHANCES.” The US-based singer duets with balladeer Lucho Beech. And together they literally make good music on this hopeful song about trying out one’s luck in love.

DaivJstn (Dave Justin) makes his debut with a wonderfully sounding pop tune called “Okey.” It’s a tuneful, bouncy, and quite the likable first effort from a promising new act.

Andrea Badinas is at the forefront of a new wave of Visayan music artists that’s going to add color to Pinoy Pop. On her new song “Gabay,” Andrea sings about her life compass. Said song is a hopeful piece borne out of her experiences during the first months of the pandemic. “The Lord poured faith into my heart to remember His word and His promises and to trust Him,” said she. Things she put to heart that got her through a difficult time, which listeners can relate to when they listen to her optimism.