AUDIOJUNKIE: The Weeknd x Ariana Grande, Sarah Geronimo, newbie Earl Agustin, Josh Cullen lead new singles releases

From left: The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Sarah Geronimo, and Earl Agustin

The Weeknd and Ariana Grande does it slow but grooving on a remix of “Die For You.” Originally from The Weeknd’s 2016 album “Starboy,” the just-released remix is basically a reboot of the track as a duet between these two modern pop stars. Whereas the original was a one-way laundry list of reasons for The Weeknd why he won’t leave his girl, with Ariana on board, it has become a call-and-response between two lovers working the kinks of their relationship.

The Weeknd and Ariana trade falsettos in between robust synth stabs and R&B-tinged choruses. “Die For You” is not the first time The Weeknd and Arianna paired up. The most recent was back in 2021 with “Save Your Tears” which to date has just surpassed a billion streams just on Spotify alone.

Newcomer Earl Agustin is a promising artist who just released his label debut via his original titled “Dalangin.” Mixing R&B, retro pop elements and catchy OPM lyricism that comes out entirely fresh in the hands of Earl. Southern-bred singer-songwriter Earl Agustin had an indie-released single titled “Tapos Na.” Said single puts on display Earl Agustin’s vocal stylings that's similar to fellow southerner Arthur Nery. And while a case could be made that the former sounds a bit like the latter, the sure thing that can be said about the two is their deft handling of the R&B style.

Now this is something really worth checking out. For the first time, Sarah Geronimo sings on an almost bluesy number on her recently released single titled “Himig.” Released Valentine’s Day 2023, the song opens with rhythm and blues styled guitar lines that outline the bluesy nature of this new song. For her part, Sarah Geronimo equally sings the soulful melodies of this Jin Chan-written song (who wrote Sarah’s disco inflected “Dati Dati) and is arranged by ace guitarist Janno Queyquep of South Border. Minimalist Sarah Geronimo on vocals coupled with a clean and fat-sounding neck pickup guitar sound? Yes please!    

Josh takes a break from all things SB19 on his solo debut “Wild Tonight.” Synth bass lines rumble, and the club vibe is strong on this upbeat track that sees Josh Cullen Santos channeling modern day club sounds and rapping about haters and why he’s unfazed by all of it.   

Singer-songwriter Kyla Miel Camerong collaborates on a modern love song titled “Sige Sige.” Kyla sings over boom bap beats and lo-fi guitars about giving love another chance. Supplying rap verses is rising P-pop solo artist Valfer Alo.

Blindside is a rockin’ three-piece band led by lead guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Riane Foronda, bassist and back-up vocalist Mathew Dooma and wonder kid drummer Wakin Ramos. Blindside’s new single titled “Antok” is their version of the classic “Harana” and an energetic take at that.

After a brief spell of absence, BennyBunnyBand returns with an introspective new song titled “ParePareho.”  Songwriter Benny James Giron is a skilled electric ukelele player and can coax the most out of said instrument besides being a decent songwriter. And we can hear it in this tune--with those uke-guitar fills in between his rhythmic stabs and singing–all while looking back at his journey so far and how life has shaped him, which he posits, we all go through.