10 Songs from Filipino Artists You Should Check Out Right Now
The first half of 2022 is done, and, as always, the year has given us ups and downs. But, more prominently, the highs have presented themselves in ways that have exceeded expectations. Filipino music acts, in particular, have avoided the tropes of what makes an OPM track, well, an “OPM” track.
In that vein, we think it’s time to look back and put the spotlight on the standout tracks of the year so far. Here are the 10 Filipino songs that you should check out if you’re looking for a treat:
When Dia Mate arrived with “Fantasy,” she argued that fantasies and desires are usually smokescreens for bigger, more prominent disappointments. Accompanying the verses are sequences that set the expectations of the listener, preparing us for Dia’s world of heartbreak and lust. Coupled with cloudy guitars, flows that work both ways in R&B and rap, plus low-end syrupy synths, Dia Mate proves she’s not overstaying her welcome in “Fantasy.” Moreover, she graces the booth with more depth and emotion than many of her contemporaries.
2| "Akala Mo Ata"
Nateman, Realest Cram, CK YG
Nobody predicted that a couple of rappers from Pasay and Makati would adapt to the hip-hop subgenre known as “drill” music flawlessly. But here they are, individually paving the way for other hip-hop acts nationwide. For collaborators Nateman, Realest Cram and CK YG, it was no sweat going back-to-back furiously in “Akala Mo Ata.” The music video has it all: the dancing, the gang at the back, even the urban rubble in their surroundings.Truly, the overall fervor the three rappers have is unmatched to this day.
One Click Straight
You wouldn’t expect a band like One Click Straight to grow musically to the point that their style changes significantly. “Lilo” was a spark plug that helped their ideas to bloom–from their tacky synth-pop beginnings to a sharper, more aesthetically wicked present. Also known as the “anti-cheater” anthem according to their social media rollout, “Lilo” worked in many angles than their themes. Furthermore, the track worked because One Click Straight decided to deepen their sensibilities with catchy hooks and expansive grit like the rad pop band that they are.
Pinoy pop music over the years has grown to accept guys-with-guitars and their trendy algorithm-friendly “hugot” lyrics. Ace Banzuelo, however, is built to ascend above his contemporaries for his hit single “Muli.” The single brims with old school tropes of balladry with mixes of contemporary trap kicks and snares. With or without the Tiktok sound spreading all across the “For You Page” or on any other news feeds all over, Banzeulo has clearly hit a career all-time high in “Muli.”
5| "Machine Gun"
Bringing together visuals from Pinterest cutouts, drum machines programmed for hardcore, indietronica vocal stylings and what-other-have-yous, alternative-rock duo Goon Lagoon’s has a lot more than what indie rock has presented in the past 30 years. “Machine Gun” has abstract ideas turned into concrete sonic collages of guitar solos and soft-loud dynamics that would undoubtedly start a circle pit anytime.
Composed of two brothers who have the same liking for all things vintage, Dream Ivory has concocted dream-y jangle pop from the garages of their hometown in California. Like wisps of a cigarette and heat waves from West Coast climate, Christian and Louie have found themselves in a territory where they can continue the legacy of bands like Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing, helping pave the way for dreamlike post-punk for younger generations to hear.
7| "We Were Never A Problem, You Just Think It’s A Competition"
One of the many enigmatic figures of the online electronic scene, Miya a.k.a. EVABOY wants you to know that they’re alive and well, and that they now live in the high and cold mountains of Baguio, at least, according to their YouTube description. Besides the surprise announcement, EVABOY has also welcomed a new style in their arsenal. Other than showing the usual drum n’ bass kicking every feet off the dance floor, they’ve presented a new kind of flavor, more brooding atmosphere than their usual material. The comeback track is more of a warning and less of a homecoming for EVABOY, and we’re here for all of it.
Kurimaw, Haute Couture, All Rights
Rizal-based emcee Kurimaw and QC-based producer Haute Couture and rapper All Rights team up to create the most infectious earworm imaginable. In “Salarin,” there are themes that revolve around closure, doubt, and the neverending limbo of unrequited love. It’s all cheese but all three performers made it all the more campy with maximalist production and excellent pop songwriting.
9| "Will I Ever Be Myself Again"
2022 is the year of the post-punk revival (yet again), but this time with the influence of Ian Curtis and the guidance of the Internet’s undying love for synthetic percussions. Manned by a solo artist called Joy Fiction, “Will I Ever Be Myself Again?” is an examination of identity crisis and layers of guitar riffs that would last for days. It’s an indication that post-punk transcends generations.
Showtime Official Club
Jersey Club’s influence has echoed in many clubs in the U.S. East Coast for decades. But look at the other side of the planet and you can see that Showtime Official Club’s mixes are on par with the great traits of a Jersey Club producer. It’s brilliantly conceptualized as a mainstream pop collective queueing chipmunk remixes of pop artists from the Philippines. If “Budots” had any competition to remix hundreds of pop songs, Showtime Official Club is a worthy contender to remake your favorite Pinoy club hits.