Worth a listen: February 2021 in music

Audiophiles, want to know what’s up in the world of music this month? Check out my rundown below!

Dark pop songstress Naomi G upholds feminist virtues on new song “Prey”

Singapore-based artist Naomi G has released her contemplative pop single “Prey” in an attempt to reclaim greater tenure as a woman knowing her worth in a relationship. The track, invocative of Banks’ chilling despair on some notes and The Weeknd’s midnight sentiments on others, resolves itself by criticizing structural behaviors that oppress women and upholding virtues that are necessary to curb patriarchal pressures. 

As Naomi G puts it, “I wanted to empower young people who are faced with unwanted or unhealthy sexual attention that causes them to psycho-socially feel like ‘Prey’. This song is an anthem of power to those who have been gaslighted, dominated, manipulated, harassed and controlled based on their gender and looks. This song is a movement about saying no quickly and firmly, whilst understanding all the microaggressions that be before getting into any kind of deception.”

“Prey” is a brooding synth-pop jam that begins with motif-roving synths whose presence comes in forcibly and dips out in an exhale after the purposeful exercise of each line. A minimal percussion drives it, morphing into a choppy, playful, and hard-hitting stomper that’s enough to catch listener’s attention. 

The resulting musical concoction builds up into a riveting climax where dark pop, trap and hip-hop accents come together seamlessly, complementing pop feminism in its own terms. 

“Prey” is the second single for Naomi G’s debut EP which is scheduled for release over 2021.

SZA makes a splash on PH charts with hit single “Good Days

The numbers are in: SZA’s “Good Days” is officially her biggest hit to date in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world. In the country alone, the soulful single remains unstoppable with its No. 2 peak at Spotify Philippines Viral 50 and a top 15 placement at Spotify Philippines Top 50.

Over at mainstream radio, the critically acclaimed R&B songstress is performing well on several top 40 stations. This week, “Good Days” ranks No. 5 on 99.5 Play FM, a major pop station; No. 7 on Wave 89.1 FM, a rhythmic and urban-leaning station; and has gained prominent spots on Magic 89.9 (No. 23), and more.

“Good Days,” the second track following 2020’s “Hit Different,” is one of her two new headline releases since 2017’s groundbreaking multi-platinum debut, CTRL—an album that garnered significant critical attention for “laying bare the kind of vulnerability most often whispered in private” and for its “believable insights into one woman’s quest for erotic self-determination.”

Written and produced by SZA, Jacob Collier, Carlos Muñoz, Carter Lang, and Christopher Ruelas and mixed by Shawn Everett, the laid-back tune was released as a surprise drop on Christmas eve last year. More than a week after its debut, the buzzy empowerment anthem skyrocketed at No. 1 on US Spotify Streaming Chart, and has since peaked within the top 10 of other major music markets including the US, UK, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, and New Zealand.

To date, the track has racked up more than 75 million streams on Spotify and more than 20 million cumulative hits on YouTube in just a month.

Aside from its commercial triumph, “Good Days” also made an indelible impression among music critics. Hip-hop magazine, The Source praised the new song for “mastering bliss and serenity all at once.” The publication adds, “In particular, the rawness of her vocals creates an ethereal energy that dives deeper into SZA`s unmatched creativity as a songwriter.” British music bible, NME called her comeback single “worth the wait,” citing how her voice has grown more sophisticated and carefree through the years.

Elha Nympha reasserts confidence with new soulful single, “Do It”

Elha Nympha arrives with both finesse and maturity on “Do It,” her comeback single under MCA Music Inc.

Now exploring a more sophisticated take on R&B, pop, and neo-soul, the former champion of The Voice Kids Season 2 reasserts confidence and sass in delivering a romantic confession that appeals beyond her particular demographic.

When she sings, “Come on over a little closer / Take me where I’ve never been,” she takes full control of the quiet storm brewing: her voice fluttering effortlessly over dreamy arrangements and soft keyboard tones, taking the spotlight with ease.

“Do It” is a suave R&B jam that tackles the beauty of taking bolder steps when it comes to love. Upon hearing the song for the first time, Elha got excited to record the material as it barely sounds like anything she’s recorded in the past. “I’m happy with where the direction of my music is going,” the 16-year-old star said in a statement. “Do It unravels a more vulnerable side of my artistry, and this is exactly the kind of music that I want to keep making—something that is young and current, but very much me.”

“Do It” has earned comparisons with the likes of SZA, Jhené Aiko, and H.E.R., embracing the fundamental agency of womanhood and young love in all its messiness and glory. While Elha is elated with the feedback that she’s been getting from her mentors and music listeners, she wants to forge a path of her own and make music that is distinctly a product of her own sense of style and adventurousness. The promising pop sensation admits, “As a fan, I can definitely see myself doing the same kind of music. But there’s more to my sound than being pigeonholed into a category. For now, I’m ready for where this journey would take me, musically. I’m definitely looking forward to creating something that is original and unique.”

SB19’s Justin De Dios stars as Alex Bruce’s love interest in “Yakap” music video

SB19 fans (or A’TIN) are in for a treat as their very own Justin De Dios makes a surprise cameo in the music video of Alex Bruce’s endearing bop “Yakap”—released on February 5 (Friday) on video-sharing platform, YouTube.
Justin De Dios portrays Alex Bruce’s love interest in this visual spectacle filled with incredibly surreal and romantic scenes. “It’s a fun and creative concept,” De Dios said. “I really like the fact that the MV showcases both the ‘maangas’ and cute sides of Alex.”

Appearing like a P-pop charmer that Alex Bruce has been pining for in her dreams, De Dios was seen exchanging smiles with the young hip-hop sensation, sharing cute moments together as they engage in pillow fights, fake tattooing, and other onscreen activities.

According to the R&B/hip-hop star, working with Justin De Dios was totally fun, especially given how friendly and warm he is with everyone on the set. Alex Bruce fondly shares in a statement, “I’m really into Korean dramas, and Justin somehow looked the part: innocently good-looking and very much charismatic. As a leading man, he really shone effortlessly in terms of acting, and gave us the kilig that we truly deserve.”

De Dios returns the favor by praising Alex Bruce’s artistry and talent. “I am really impressed with her skills. I wanted to introduce her to A’TIN as she could be a source of inspiration for a lot of young dreamers too.” He recounts how Alex was very shy during their first meet, but as the shoot went on, they eventually got along very well. “She’s an interesting kid, and we had a lot of fun talking to each other about random things. One thing I also noticed while working with her is how close she is to her parents. It’s very adorable!”

Alex Bruce is grateful to the production for allowing her to showcase some of her personal artworks and Beanie Boos collection. “I love owls, so there’s plenty of them in my shelf—as seen in the music video. I had a great time drawing and showcasing my artworks for the very first time. I hope it won’t be the last.”

“Yakap” was penned by Bruce as a tribute to young love, and was conceived as a three-way collaboration featuring the fourteen-year-old teen star, her Australia-based dad, and music producer Cursebox. The song garnered significant attention in late October 2020 for its infectious pop sensibilities and to quote Rappler, for its “first brushes at puppy love.”

Foo Fighters release tenth studio album: Medicine at Midnight

Foo Fighters have finally released their highly anticipated 10th studio album, Medicine at Midnight under Roswell Records/RCA Records.

Following delays due to the unprecedented challenges of releasing an album during the pandemic, Medicine at Midnight finally landed late last week with nine tracks of power-driven, anthemic rock tunes that drummer Taylor Hawkins described as more “pop-oriented” than previous releases.

On its first day, the American rock band’s latest record peaked at No. 1 on several iTunes album charts worldwide, and is raring for one of rock music’s biggest debuts on major music markets this year, including the United States, UK, Australia, and more. It also garnered significant traction from several music publications worldwide, with Wall Street Journal calling it “one of Foo Fighters’ best albums of this century,” and British music publication, NME declaring the new release as “the soundtrack to the summer we all crave.”

Medicine at Midnight’s release wraps up Foo Fighters’ week-long partnership with Spotify, which featured surprise ‘Midnight Drops’ of exclusive video, audio, and playlist content— an occasion marked by the band’s larger than life appearance on Spotify’s Times Square billboard.

To celebrate the release of their new album, the Foo Fighters will host a special six-part radio series: Medicine at Midnight Radio on Apple Music Hits. Each band member will host an hour-long episode where they’ll explore their personal inspirations and reflect on the creative process behind the album. Fans can tune in every day next week, beginning Monday, February 8th at 4:00p PST on Apple Music Hits at apple.co/FFRadio and simultaneously on the band’s new limited-run SiriusXM channel, Foo Fighters Radio (channel 105). Dave also joined Zane Lowe on his daily Apple Music 1 show earlier this week to chat about the album.

Medicine at Midnight is produced by Greg Kurstin and Foo Fighters, engineered by Darrell Thorp and mixed by Mark “Spike” Stent.

Foo Fighters are Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, Pat Smear, and Rami Jaffee.

YouTube sensations Agassi Ching and Jai Asuncion star in Sponge Cola’s “Siguro Nga” music video

Content creators Agassi Ching and Jai Asuncion are featured in the latest music video of Sponge Cola’s “Siguro Nga.”

The onscreen and offscreen love team amassed a fandom in social media with pranks, viral videos, and challenges. In “Siguro Nga,” JaiGa—as they are popularly known for—portray a fictional romantic couple in disarray.

According to the band’s vocalist and guitarist Yael Yuzon, Agassi is a dear friend whom he plays basketball with every Tuesday. “I also produced the song he wrote for Jai during the stricter quarantine period through file sharing,” he said. “I also watch their daily vlogs. On some level, I felt like I was always involved in their love story. It just made sense to cast them.”

The video shows Agassi Ching singing “Siguro Nga” in a neon-lit karaoke bar, while Jai Asuncion is in the very same room with friends, silently crying and hurting inside. Separated by their own version of realities, both characters try to move forward with the changes in their respective lives, albeit having a difficulty wiping out their memories together—especially with the song forever binding them in spirit.

“A person’s go-to videoke song says so much about who they are and what they are about,” Yuzon reveals. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

Guitarist Armo Armovit shares that the visual treatment focuses on honoring people who are no longer present by living lives with meaning and memory. “We want them to feel nostalgia for a person in their past who was a meaningful presence in their lives; sadness for the loss, but also, hope for the future.”

The music video also comes with a meta-karaoke version of the track that allows fans to sing their hearts out and engage with the narrative.

Inspired by the hit K-drama, StartUp, Sponge Cola’s “Siguro Nga” was written by Yael Yuzon as a tribute to one of its beloved characters, Han Ji-Pyeong. Its lyric video features various footage from Seoul, South Korea that includes locations from the series.

Zack Tabudlo maps his music journey with new single “Iyong-Iyo”

The beginning of Zack Tabudlo’s Island Records journey saw the young singer-songwriter going full speed ahead. His song ‘Sigurado’ hit the Top Viral PH charts and stayed there for four weeks, following its feature in the online series Your Home. There’s also ‘Cruel,’ whose music video was released a few months ago and has racked up more than 70,000 views on YouTube and more than 240,000 streams on Spotify.

Zack’s biggest single to date, the first one under Island Records Philippines, is the sultry ‘Nangangamba,’ whose play count on Spotify clocks in at over a million streams.

And Zack shows no signs of slowing down, as evidenced by his latest single ‘Iyong Iyo.’ Written by Tiny Corpuz and performed by Zack Tabudlo, ‘Iyong Iyo’ sees Zack putting it all on the line and giving everything—literal possession. “Kahit pa ba sa kabilang buhay, ‘di maglalaho,” he croons in the glimmering chorus, showcasing his lyrical penchant for themes like romance and longing. Gentle harmonies and mellow instrumentation make you feel like you’re floating, and allow Zack to flex the upper register of his vocal range, his high notes triumphant and sincere.

“I was really in touch with making the album art of the song as well, having a Halloween-like ghost costume in it which shows a person under a white cloth with holes in it, but has this heart glowing from his chest,” says Zack. “He wants to be like the ghost to really feel the same connection, with his heart glowing, symbolizing how much love he feels for the ghost.”

According to Zack, the song was inspired by the original Thai song for the “Let’s Fight Ghost” series, which is set to air on March 2021. The acclaimed singer-songwriter and producer shares, “I wanted to take it to a different world with different styles and vibe compared to the original. It has a very slow blues-pop feel to it production wise. I wanted to go for something mellow having the foundation from the original one but has a “slow dance” feel to it instead of going full ballad.”

Ben&Ben surprise listeners with Valentine’s-themed track “Inevitable”

Filipino folk-pop outfit Ben&Ben have officially dropped a soaring new single called “Inevitable” this Valentine’s Day via Sony Music.

Inspired by recent events surrounding the band’s lives, their latest song encourages listeners and music fans to live in the moment freely and truthfully without the need to succumb to expectations.

Ushering into a reinvigorating sense of calm, the empowering track ascends to a place where love can be inevitably beautiful even in its simple, unassuming terms. It was written by Paolo Benjamin (lead vocals and acoustic guitars) during a random afternoon run by the beach near the place where Ben&Ben live—coming into fruition after a solitary moment spent with nature and the spiritual force above him. Paolo reflects, “Inevitable is a song that tries to describe the nature of fate, and how all our actions somehow lead us to some better place that is destined for us. It’s also a song about being real with someone, and that no matter how scary that may seem at times, there is freedom in bearing your truest nature with someone dear to you, even if that someone is yourself.”

Production-wise, Ben&Ben retain the sonic hallmarks of their prior releases, while employing ultimately rewarding experiments in texture and tone. Its ‘world music-meets-acid jazz’ sound displays the band’s newfound musical direction, melding sporadic bursts of colors with their otherworldly approach. Thanks to the song’s eclectic blend of sitar-sounding riffs, propellent rhythms, jazzy chords, and ethereal arrangements, the nine-piece band ventures beyond the confines of their radio-ready sound without alienating the distinct pop sensibilities that made their songs a streaming and crossover hit in the Philippines, and elsewhere in Asia.

“The songwriting in itself presents a concept of the state that is both a surreal mystery and a peaceful certainty, so we wanted to create an aural representation of what these lyrics felt like,” Miguel Benjamin (lead vocals and acoustic guitars) reveals in a statement. “Our process started with a mix of acoustic guitars, which I tweaked with sitar effects as the main intro riff; kind of like a representation of the two contrasting feelings working together. We then built everything around this contrasting union with Jam’s drums and Agnes’ bass carrying the steady base of the song, and then Pat’s piano, Poch’s electric guitar and pads, Keifer’s violin, Andrew and Toni’s percussions; Andrew, Miguel, Poch, and Toni’s backing vocals, and some ambient sounds.”

Unlike their usual process where the members of the band jam their song a few times before recording the material, “Inevitable” was born out of a shift in production perspective. “With this song however, we decided to record a demo individually then went to record our parts a few days after without knowing how the song would sound like in the end,” Poch Barretto (lead guitar, backing vocals) said. “During the time we were creating the song, one of our bandmates, Toni, was also recovering from a major surgery and had to record her parts from home. Thankfully she was able to send her parts on time with the help of our producer.”

Despite the several challenges during its recording phase, “Inevitable” ended up reaping significant attention before its actual release. The song eventually made it as the official theme of Smart Communications’ newest commercial ad featuring Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin—stars of the highly acclaimed and popular Korean drama, Crash Landing on You. Patricia Lasaten shares, “Many of us are mega fans of the CLOY couple, so this is definitely a dream collaboration with Smart. We can’t help but be kilig and at the same time wish that our co-fans who would hear the song would also connect it with the evolving story of Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin. It’s also our gift to the fans, and to the couple as well. We’d like to thank Smart for this amazing opportunity.”

Details provided in recent press releases.

Ben&Ben music video of KathNiel-starrer “Sa Susunod na Habang Buhay”

“What if every time one dies, they go back to their first date with one of them carrying memories from their previous run?”

Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla stars as a romantic couple stuck in a time loop in the new music video for Ben&Ben’s “Sa Susunod na Habang Buhay.”
Helmed by the band’s resident director Jorel Lising and written by Gaya Sa Pelikula creator Juan Miguel Severo, the song’s visual narrative explores the complicated relationship dynamics of two lovers who have lost and found each other in a fated cycle of events.

Complicated love in a time loop

Severo reveals that “Sa Susunod na Habang Buhay,” a song that deals with the “possibility of another life to succeed in love,” complements the KathNiel starrer that he has in mind. Having written Hintayan ng Langit, an evocative piece that examines eternal romance in the afterlife, Severo decided to do away with another reincarnation story for his interpretation of the material.

“Then it hit me, what about a couple stuck in a time loop?”, the prolific writer points out. “What if every time one dies, they go back to their first date with one of them carrying memories from their previous run? It took the band, Direk, and I a couple of zoom calls, brainstorming ideas to compound on that concept and get everything laid out before I presented it to KathNiel.”

Severo’s writing lends to a beautifully understated film that allows KathNiel to tackle their role with nuanced sensitivity and depth. To make it more impactful on screen, music video director Jorel Lising makes use of non-liner, fragmented storytelling as a way to capture the couple’s memories in its undiluted form. Lising adds, “It all comes from the content of the song – it’s a strong piece that speaks about love lost and an intense sense of longing, so the process of developing the treatment and Severo’s script came from that. The challenge for us was to maximize the emotion based on that kind of narrative.”

Working with KathNiel

According to the band’s co-vocalist and acoustic guitarist Miguel Benjamin, the journey behind the music video was both a dream and a serendipitous sequence of events. “About two months ago, an interesting exchange came up while our keyboardist Patricia Lasaten was working on the music of Juan Miguel Severo’s Gaya Sa Pelikula,” says Miguel. “As a way of showing appreciation when we offered our song ‘Ride Home’ to the series, Juan Miguel graciously offered us in return to write a script for the ‘Sa Susunod Na Habang Buhay’ MV, and pitch it to KathNiel, as they are good friends. We pushed through, and to our surprise, they loved both the idea of working with all of us and the script. This was a big thing for us because we never expected that these great artists would be open to doing a music video with us, given their stature and busy schedules.”

Despite the time constraints, Lising didn’t experience difficulty working with one of the biggest love teams in recent memory. The nine-piece collective’s frequent collaborator recounts that he only has few adjustments for every take, thanks to KathNiel’s astounding professionalism and craft. “We didn’t have a whole lot of time with them, but they definitely possess star power quality on camera. Every frame we took of them has a strong presence that comes with lots of experience, especially since they’ve been acting for so long now.”

Image and details provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release.

BTS launches world premiere of “Dynamite”

Global superstars BTS recently released the music video for their new single “Dynamite” worldwide through their official social channels.

The new music video of “Dynamite” is colorful and bright, featuring retro concept props, hairstyles, and attire. The overall mood is lively and vibrant from start to finish, perfectly capturing the joyful energy of the song’s melody and lyrics. 

It opens with the image of BTS as they stand gathered but soon scatter. The members one by one express their own style and individuality in different spaces. 

BTS delivers dynamic performances in and out of various locations, including a room, doughnut shop, record shop, basketball court, luxurious stage, and open field. The “Dynamite” music video shows off not only remarkable group choreography but also improvised dances, as well as solo and unit performances. The members perform with seriousness and charisma, but also brighten the mood with playful expressions. 

The second half of the music video features vibrant “color powder” rocketing into the sky, accentuating the explosive energy and joyful performance of BTS as they dance on an open field. 

This vivid Disco Pop track marks the superstar group’s first-ever song to be released completely in English; having sought a “breakthrough” to overcome a sense of disheartenment stemmed from the current global climate, BTS embarks on a new challenge through “Dynamite.”

BTS, an acronym of Bangtan Sonyeondan or “Beyond the Scene,” is a South Korean boyband that has been capturing the hearts of millions of fans globally since their debut in June 2013. The members of BTS are RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook. Gaining recognition for their authentic and self-produced music, top-notch performances, and the way they interact with their fans, the band has established themselves as global superstars breaking countless world records. While imparting a positive influence through activities such as the LOVE MYSELF campaign and the UN ‘Speak Yourself’ speech, BTS has mobilized millions of fans across the world (named ARMY), topped prominent music charts, performed multiple sold-out stadium shows across the world and has been named as one of TIME 100: The Most Influential People of 2019. The band has also been recognized with numerous prestigious awards like the Billboard Music Awards and American Music Awards. 

Image and details provided in a recent press release.

Choose Your Own Adventure with jaye’s Interactive Music Video

ADHD represents the vicious-affective cycle experienced by artist, jaye in his bygone days as a hustling DJ. The four symptoms that make the acronymed A-D-H-D cycle are: Attention, Depression, Hit, and Dip. These were the formulaic-four that spun the cycle led headfirst by intoxication and party highs. All jaye could yearn for at the end was escape from its cyclical gravity. The genre-fluid single was recently released on 31 July – but that was just the shallows. Today, jaye drafts audiences into a rip-tide of immersive experiences with a powerful interactive Music Video.

Inspired by Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” jaye starts off at the deep end experimenting with the deconstruction of song and video structure to come up with the time-space defying Music Video (MV). The free-form MV is fitted much like Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch which gives users an illusion of control. Audiences get to choose their own adventure from four options (Attention – Depression – Hit – Dip) whilst vicariously living through experiences adapted from jaye’s own memories. The first chapter ends in two options (Ascend and Descend) and from there the viewer controls the narrative, or at least that’s what they think.

The postmodern video is a hands-on representation of the true viciousness of the ADHD cycle. Viewers will feel the same burden that jaye did as he realized that partying did not empower him; rather, it proved a great hindrance to his mental health and life.

jaye’s MV is a psychedelic cyberpunk microcosm with nostalgic video game elements and hair-raising horror features. Parts of the MV are also interwoven with the MVs from his former future-past releases via meta space-time warps.

With command of the concept, “the game of life”, jaye will release an 8-bit 2D Instagram filter game called HIT which will allow users to continue to engage with his Super Mario-esque hellscape (as seen in the MV). Fans will have to blink to shoot oncoming enemies with lasers in a side-scrolling virtual landscape, soundtracked by the ‘Hit’ section of the ADHD track. Prizes will be given away to those with high scores.

This track comes after the stratospheric success of previous singles ‘TOMORROW’ and ‘DEJAVU’. Both Music Videos received over half a million Youtube views after just one month, no doubt owing to their conceptual depth and edge.

Image and details provided in a recent press release.

Joji & Diplo struggle as PAs in “DAYLIGHT” music video

Joji teams up with Diplo on a new collaboration called “Daylight,” the latest single from his highly anticipated new album Nectar, due out on September 25 through 88rising, distributed by 12Tone Music. 

Just in time for the dog days of summer, this midtempo anthem sets Joji’s lulling vocals against Diplo’s crisp production to create a hazy, shapeshifting aural mirage.

The vibrant music video for “Daylight,” directed by Munachi Osegbu (Megan Thee Stallion’s “Hot Girl Summer” video), finds Joji and Diplo tasting the high life of a boy band: as struggling PAs on a 90s music video shoot.

The two daydreamers bumble around the set and ultimately derail the shoot of the young (at heart) pop divas.

 “Daylight” is the fourth pre-release track from Nectar. It follows Gold-certified single “Sanctuary” and his first 2020 single “Run,” which earned Joji his highest-ever entry on the Billboard Hot 100 and his television debut on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; and second single “Gimme Love” which Complex hailed as “a stickypop anthem with haunting vocals.” Last month, Joji also released a tingly and transformative remix of “Gimme Love” by Channel Tres.

On the song, Joji says, “It might be nice for people to hear a song about daylight, especially when we don’t get as much of it as we used to,” and on the collaboration, Diplo says “Joji is one of my favorite artists. I’m lucky he answered my text!”

Image and details provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release.

Ben&Ben launches BBTV in celebration of 1M subscribers on YouTube

After reaching more than a million subscribers on YouTube, multi-awarded nine-piece collective Ben&Ben have heeded the call of fans for more exclusive content in the coming days.

The acclaimed band has recently announced the launch of their upcoming weekly series, BBTV to celebrate this important milestone in their career. 

“We’ve been making vlogs that showed our life behind the scenes, but eventually the band and its team came up with the idea,” vocalist and guitarist Miguel Benjamin shares. “Its primary goal is to simply find more ways to connect to people through more varied content.”

Extensive range of content

Aside from themed music performances and collaborations, expect an intimate look at the band’s more personal and entertaining side as they share their journey of living together under one roof.  “We decided to live together to eliminate or at least greatly lessen the risks involved with working outside,” says Miguel. “We always had the idea of living together in the future to create content and write music, but with the situation now we realized that now was the best time to actually give it a shot.”

Ben&Ben also revealed about their plans to drop a “head bang” version of their smash single “Pagtingin,” as well as cover select K-Pop songs in the future. 

The online series, which airs every Wednesday, will also feature a more extensive range of content for people to connect to, including but not limited to games, competitions, challenges and other forms of entertainment. 

Sophomore Album 

Ben&Ben are currently working on the follow-up to their platinum-selling debut album, Limasawa Street, which produced generation-defining songs such as “Pagtingin,” “Fall,” “Araw-Araw,” “War,” and more. 

Paolo confirms in a statement that one of the reasons for moving in was to start writing for their second album to be released under Sony Music. “We wanted the process to be as organic and as involved as possible, and we’re so excited to see what we can come up with where distance and time isn’t a hindrance.”

New episodes of BBTV will drop every Wednesday of the week on the Ben&Ben YouTube Channel, starting August 5, 2020.

Image and details provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release.

Celebrities give us all the feels with McDonald’s Kita-kits song

They’re missing their McDonald’s favorites just like you

Life as we know it has changed in just a short span of time. While leisure trips, meet-ups and celebrations are limited at the moment, McDonald’s, with its recently launched Kita-Kits with McDo campaign, showed that spontaneous feel-good moments in the new normal are still very much possible!

Bringing a message of positivity, their Kita-Kits video reminds us that though we may not be able to experience our old routines, new memories can still be made anytime, anywhere with McDonald’s.

The video is set against the backdrop of the iconic song Kita-kits sa McDo originally sung by Sharon Cuneta, adding a hint of nostalgia that makes you look back at your favorite McDonald’s moments. Iconic as it is, celebrities Alden Richards, Maine Mendoza, Michael V., and Judy Ann Santos have caught the LSS bug and have shared their own rendition of the song on social media. You can check out the video of your favorite celebrities singing along to this the heart-warming tune on Facebook.

“This period of adjustment to the new reality has not been easy, and many of us may be at a loss how to move forward. Here at McDonald’s, it is our mission to make feel-good moments easy for everyone,” says Margot B. Torres, Managing Director of McDonald’s Philippines. “The current circumstances have certainly changed our lives, but we will always find ways to celebrate and be with family and friends.  Wherever you are, McDonald’s will be with you so you can make memories and enjoy delicious food.”

If you haven’t seen McDonald’s latest video, kita-kits at McDonald’s Philippines Youtube or McDonald’s Facebook Page.

Details provided by McDonald’s Philippines in a recent press release.

Ben&Ben portrays family drama on “Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin” music video

Award-winning Filipino band Ben&Ben explores the complicated dynamics of a fictional family in the music video of “Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin.” 

Revolving around a realistic depiction of a family on the verge of dysfunction, the narrative hits home with each member learning how to listen to each other, and speak their minds.

It also examines the flawed but beautiful relationships that we nurture within the family, and the decisions we make in extraordinary circumstances.

Helmed by “Pagtingin” music video director Jorel Lising, the intimate piece features ensemble acting performances by Agot Isidro, Bart Guingona, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, and Kelvin Miranda.

Lising’s compelling take on Ben&Ben’s massive hit has earned praises from various publications in the country. Renuel Fallore of MYX shares that the “cinematic music video couldn’t have come at a better time,” and reflects on its importance in today’s socio-political landscape. Bandwagon Asia, in its coverage of the song’s official tease a few months ago, took notice of the song’s evocative lyrics, which remind “people that COVID-19 remains to be the common enemy in this difficult time,” and therefore needs critical attention and vigilance.

As of July 14, Tuesday, the “Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin” music video is currently trending on YouTube with more than 300,000 views in four days. 

On Spotify alone, Ben&Ben’s latest single has reached more than a million streams in its second week, making it one of the biggest releases of the month so far.  

“Nakikinig Ka Ba Sa Akin” is now out on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music.

Image and details provided by Sony Music in a recent press release.

UE Jam Sessions pay tribute to the frontliners with original song, “Lalaban Tayo”

UE Jam Sessions (UEJS), the premiere music organization in University of the East, released a tribute music video dedicated to the medical practitioners and frontliners of the country, who are risking their lives amidst the pandemic crisis.

“Lalaban Tayo” was written by Jenny Legapi, arranged by Choi Felipe, and executive produced by Tommy Tanchanco. Featuring 34 singers and musicians from UEJS Manila and UE Caloocan, the collaborative effort was recorded and filmed during the lockdown period in the confines of their own homes.

Despite the limited resources and massive challenges that the students have to go through in the recording process, they were able to improvise and produce a studio-recording quality of the uplifting pop-rock anthem that champions the daring and uncompromised sacrifices of our modern day heroes. It’s their contribution for all the hard work that our medical, security and essential frontliners had to endure during these uncertain times.

“As we move forward in these trying times, we put our hopes in one another,” 12 Stone Records CEO Tommy Tanchanco shares. “Reshaping our lives this quarantine can never be easy for all of us, but still, let us not forget those people who risk their own lives on the front line and go beyond their call of duty.”

Its accompanying music video, which was edited by Cher Manulit, interspersed individual recordings from the participating student-musicians with inspiring clips showcasing the acts of kindness and compassion of our frontliners, particularly those in the medical field.

“Lalaban Tayo (A Special Tribute To Frontliners)” is now released via 12 Stone Records.

Details and image provided in a recent press release.

Watch Rico Blanco’s inspiring music video for “This Too Shall Pass”

Rico Blanco has finally dropped the official music video for his new solo single in four years. With various footages taken here and abroad, the visuals for “This Too Shall Pass” take a closer look at how the pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill.

Given the unprecedented uncertainty and challenges that COVID-19 poses, the video doubles as a tribute to the unsung heroes and frontliners leading the fight against an invisible enemy, showing us the true meaning of bayanihan in times of crisis.

Intercut with scenes of the “new normal” from around the globe, it also depicts the alt- rock icon performing the song at the confines of his home: devoid of flashy production designs and envelope-pushing concepts, but framed with an underlying message of resilience and hope.

Positive Reception

Two weeks earlier, “This Too Shall Pass” was released on all digital and streaming platforms worldwide under Sony Music.

The massive anthem has received critical acclaim from various publications in the country. MYX Philippines praised his work for giving listeners “a sense of reassurance, something we all need given the current situation.” Bandwagon Asia called the song an “ode to the light of the human spirit in dark times,” while GMA News described it as “a perfect source of inspiration.”

An Initiative for COVID-19 Response and Relief

To help fund the collective COVID-19 response in the Philippines, Rico Blanco is waiving his artist royalties for the music video of “This Too Shall Pass,” and Sony Music Philippines will be donating 100% of the net global proceeds to www.puhon.ph for the first six months of release.

Puhon means “hopefully” in Visayan. The site contains inspiring stories and messages of encouragement to people at the frontline of fighting the pandemic.

Using the tagline #MakeHopeViral, to date, the site has raised P4.6M for personal protective equipment (PPEs) & nutrition support for frontline healthcare workers, COVID-19 testing kits, and relief goods for daily wage workers. Other SME Philippines artists with messages of support & encouragement on the site are SB19, Zelijah, Dionela, Nathan & Mercury, Alex Bruce, Ace Banzuelo & syd hartha.

The music video of Rico Blanco’s “This Too Shall Pass” is now available on  all other video platforms worldwide.

Images and details provided by Sony Music Philippines in a recent press release.

Space-Ta brings a splash of nostalgia and soul with new single “Sa Piling Mo”

After gaining traction in Japan for his viral hit “Merry Christmas From Your Bed,” Filipino multi-genre artist Space-Ta returns with a brand new single released under Locked Down Entertainment.

Aptly titled “Sa Piling Mo,” the romantic track explores a nostalgic but soulful sound informed by Philly soul and gospel music. But the delivery echoes every Pinoy power balladeer’s dream: an image of a non-stop karaoke filled with Basil Valdez and Rico J Puno hits, delivered drunkenly with every bit of passion and intensity.

According to Space-Ta, the song deals with his romantic journey as a time-traveling musician who broke up with his girlfriend in 2032, and ended up meeting someone new in 1989.

Background music is done with Francis De Veyra on bass, Kakoy Legaspi on guitars, Niki Cabardo on keys/organ, Jay Gapasin on drums, & Shinji Tanaka – Sound Engineer. The latest Space-Ta track is recorded at Kodama Studio, Marikina, Metro Manila, Philippines.

“Sa Piling Mo,” is currently serviced on top 40, adult contemporary and alternative radio stations such as Jam 88.3, Barangay LSFM, Win Radio, Energy FM, Star FM and Pinas FM. The song is also making rounds on radio stations outside Metro Manila.

An animated lyric video featuring a woman driving around the streets of Tokyo is now out on Youtube. She is seen blasting Space-Ta’s “Sa Piling Mo” on the car stereo.

Aside from releasing a brand new single in the first quarter of the year, the sci-fi pop character is set to release a series of comic books based on his own adventures as a space and time traveler.

“Sa Piling Mo” is now available (starting February 10) on all streaming and download platforms worldwide, including Spotify, iTunes, Ditto.fm, Youtube Music.