Miley Cyrus drops retro-inspired album, Plastic Hearts

After peaking at No.1 on iTunes Philippines with her first single “Midnight Sky” and revamping the ‘80s discotheque with her Dua Lipa-assisted jam “Prisoner,” pop trailblazer Miley Cyrus makes an explosive return with the release of her highly anticipated new album, Plastic Hearts, out now via RCA Records.

Miley’s seventh studio album features collaborations with Billy Idol, Joan Jett and Dua Lipa. In a handwritten letter about the new album, Miley recalls that she began writing the album over two years ago.

“Thought I had it all figured out,” she wrote. “Not just the record—its songs/sounds but my whole fucking life. No one checks an ego like life itself. Just when I thought the body of work was finished it was all erased, including most of the music’s relevance because everything had changed.”

Built around retro-inspired bangers and thumping stadium anthems, Miley’s new sound gives listeners a renewed sense of appreciation for music made in the ‘70s and ‘80s, as seen in her cover art, which was photographed by iconic rock & roll photographer Mick Rock. Rock adds Miley into the list of artists and legends that he has photographed over the years, including David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Joan Jett, and Debbie Harry.

So far, Miley has released two singles from the album: “Prisoner” feat. Dua Lipa, which was accompanied by a shamelessly campy rock video featuring the dynamic duo, and directed by Alana Oherlihy and Miley, plus Miley’s summer hit, “Midnight Sky.”

Image and details provided by RCA Records in a recent press release.

The Itchyworms brings festive cheer with “Have A Merry Christmas” and “Maligayang Pasko”

The Itchyworms keeps the holiday cheer going with the simultaneous release of two Christmas songs “Have A Merry Christmas” and “Maligayang Pasko.” In honoring the time-tested tradition of writing Yuletide-themed originals that are meant to bring people closer to home in feeling and essence, the pop-rock quartet is keen on uplifting our spirits during the pandemic.  

Drummer and lead vocalist Jazz Nicolas points out the important of Christmas songs in a very crucial time like this. “We need to be reminded of the joy and hope and the spirit of giving. It’s the time of year when the world falls in love, so it’s important to listen to Christmas songs all year round.” 

Kelvin Yu, the band’s bassist, echoes Nicolas’ sentiments. According to him, Christmas songs are those anchors in our lives that we can always expect to be there for us no matter what the situation is. “There will always be Christmas songs: during good times, it further uplifts us; and during not so good times, it can provide us with that warm hug that everyone needs come December,” Yu shares.

Have A Merry Christmas: A Modern Holiday Standard

According to lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jugs Jugueta, “Have A Merry Christmas” is inspired by a meme featuring Jose Mari Chan, inarguably one of the most popular holiday tunesmiths ever. “When the Jose Mari Chan meme first came out, it was funny,” says Jugueta. “But then, people just do it every year and it becomes not as funny anymore. Anyway, one time I posted a challenge to my Facebook friends: instead of posting about Jose Mari Chan, why don’t you write your own Christmas song? ‘Have A Merry Christmas’ is an attempt to do so.”

Intricately arranged with Beatlesque pop harmonies, swoony string arrangements, and catchy, sing-along moments, “Have A Merry Christmas” fills the air with comforting message of joy and positivity. In describing the musical process behind the Christmas bop, Chino Singson, The Itchyworms’ guitarist, envisions a lush template in mind: “The melodies are definitely Britpop, and our classic shuffle a la Akin Ka Na Lang and Chocophotoland completes the aesthetic vibe.”

Written by Jugs Jugueta, “Have A Merry Christmas” is a “smorgasbord of Christmas tropes or cliches all rolled into one song.” Nicolas adds, “When you mix them all together, you get a song that pretty much says, Merry Christmas!”

Maligayang Pasko: A jazzy, tropical-infused jingle

Helmed and produced by Jazz Nicolas, “Maligayang Pasko” takes you back to the ‘70s and early ‘80s era: a laid-back, groovy tune that winks toward Manila Sound and city pop. It’s a nostalgic Hallmark anthem whose groove, to quote Nicolas, “is partly based on a latin or bossa nova beat, mixed with funky guitars.” 

The multi-instrumentalist member of The Itchyworms also add a little bit of camp experimentation in the mix in an attempt to highlight the band’s sense of musical adventurousness. Nicolas recalls, “I was very excited to use a combination of a vocoder, which is sort of a voice synthesizer and a text-to-speech type program to sing the chorus harmonies with us. I programmed three tracks of text-to-speech saying ‘mah lee guy young pass koh’ and tuned each them to sing in harmony.”

This organized chaos resulted into a Christmas song dipped in Tropicália and jazzy elements, and serves as an exploration into an unfamiliar sonic territory.

Both “Have A Merry Christmas” and “Maligayang Pasko” exude the timelessness of holiday songs, and its significance in bringing festive cheer to everyone, despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic. As Kelvin Yu puts it, “I feel that Christmas should still be celebrated this year, especially with the important people in your lives. This year has been tough on everyone, and has made us all appreciate our loved ones, and we can keep them close and celebrate life with them every day, and not only on Christmas.”

The Itchyworms’ “Have A Merry Christmas” and “Maligayang Pasko” are now available on all streaming platforms worldwide via Sony Music.

Image and details provided in a recent press release.

GrabFood’s wide variety of offers continues to delight by giving you any food, any time

Nothing brings smiles to faces quite like food. No matter the challenges of your day, a satisfied craving is sure to brighten your mood. That’s why Grab, the leading everyday everything app, continues to delight Filipinos by providing any food, any time through GrabFood.

This month, GrabFood celebrates its second anniversary in the Philippines the best way it knows how —by launching a two-week mega sale! Starting November 23 until December 6, customers can enjoy up to 50% off on their favorite eats when they order through GrabFood!

Exciting deals and discounts available from GrabFood’s two week-long mega sale
  • Start the week right through Milk Tea Monday! Only on November 23, get 30% off on your favorite milk tea orders from Coco, Chatime, Cha Tuk Chak, and more!
  • Craving for chicken? This November 25, get 30% off from chicken chains JT’s Manukan Grille, Adobo Connection, Wee Nam Kee, and more!
  • Watch out for GrabFood’s BLOWOUT FLASH SALES throughout the next two weeks to get 50% off from 11 AM to 3 PM only!
    • November 24 – Foodee Global Concepts Food Group(Hawker Chan, Pound, Tim Ho Wan, and more)
      November 26 – The Moment Group (Din Tai Fung, 8Cuts, Ooma, and more)
      December 1 – The Bistro Group (TGI Friday’s, Itallani’s, Denny’s, and more)
      December 2 – Popeyes
      December 3 – Viva Food Group (Wing Zone, Pepi Cubano, Paper Moon Cafe, and more)
  • Get GrabFood Exclusive Bundles on November 29 and December 6 to save as much as Php199 per order from favorites like Frankie’s, Yellow Cab, Burger King, and more
  • GrabFood provides any food, any time
  • Two years since launching in the Philippines, GrabFood has driven the growth of the food delivery industry through consistent expansion and advancement.

    Customers can always look forward to GrabFood providing delight and excitement through its wide variety of food options. With its continuous expansion of its merchant-partner base, GrabFood continues to have the widest selection of restaurants and largest operation footprint, serving Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Cebu, and more.

    • Utilizing technology and innovation to further expand the reach of your favorite restaurants, GrabFood also recently launched Long Distance Delivery, a feature that gives customers access to a wider selection of restaurants. With a 10 kilometer delivery range, customers can enjoy even more delicious possibilities for whatever they’re craving.
    • With the average basket size of GrabFood orders increasing by over 16% across Southeast Asia since the start of the lockdown, GrabFood also launched the group ordering feature, which makes it easier for groups to collate orders and purchase in one go.
    • First introduced in February this year, GrabKitchen is another way that GrabFood has been making it easier for customers to order their favorites all in one order. Through GrabKitchen, some of the most sought-after restaurants are brought together in one central kitchen, giving customers the option to mix-and match orders from those restaurants— all in one order and delivery fee. Currently, GrabKitchen is available in Glorietta 2, Makati, but customers can look forward to new GrabKitchens cooking up in the Manila area very soon!
    • Through the resumption of GrabFood’s 24-hour operations across Metro Manila, GrabFood also ensures you can fill your tummy when hunger strikes— whatever time that may be.
    • Whether you’re ordering for yourself or someone else, do it without a sweat through GrabFood’s Scheduled Orders feature! It’s now much easier to plan your meals or pull off a surprise pakain with the option to schedule your orders on GrabFood!
    Continuous growth for its partners is continuous growth for GrabFood

    Since the start of the pandemic, the crucial role food delivery services play in the lives of customers has become even more apparent. Recognizing this need, GrabFood remains committed to providing a safe and convenient platform to connect customers with food businesses. Through continuous expansion, innovative solutions, and increased support, GrabFood will continue to grow its platform to uplift more lives.

    By providing merchant-partners a digital storefront to help them reach more customers, GrabFood not only gives customers more food choices to satisfy their cravings and fill their appetites, but also provides meaningful livelihood opportunities for its merchant and delivery-partners.

    “Food delivery has been an essential service for many of our kababayans – whether it’s to satisfy their everyday cravings, grow their businesses, or provide livelihood opportunities to our communities – and GrabFood is humbled to deliver all these things and more. We are very much thankful to the countless customers, partners, and delivery-partners who believe in our mission and continue to support us. We will continue to build on our strong foundations knowing that with every GrabFood order, we are able to help businesses and provide livelihood to our many delivery-partners” said Grab Philippines Head of Deliveries EJ Dela Vega.

    Working hand-in-hand, GrabFood commits to continuing to grow with you, its customer, merchant-partner, and delivery-partner.

    About Grab

    Grab is the leading super app in Southeast Asia, providing everyday services that matter most to consumers. Today, the Grab app has been downloaded onto over 185 million mobile devices, giving users access to over 9 million drivers, merchants and agents. Grab offers the widest range of on-demand transport services in the region, in addition to food, package, grocery delivery services, mobile payments and financial services across 339 cities in eight countries.

    About GrabFood

    Operating under the Grab super app, GrabFood is an online food delivery service that connects local food businesses to people. GrabFood presents a variety of food based on what’s available around consumers: Filipino, Western, Asian, European, Fusion and so on. Today, GrabFood’s services are available in areas of Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Cebu, with plans to continue expanding to reach more areas in the country.

    TikTok Launches Creative Competition to Solve Real-World Marketing Challenges

    TikTok invites marketing and creative professionals as well as agencies in Southeast Asia to participate in the TikTok Trendsetter creative competition. Winners to receive up to US$40,000 in prizes and mentorship with TikTok Global Business Marketing (GBM) executives

    TikTok, the leading destination for short-form mobile videos, is calling all marketing and creative professionals as well as agencies in Southeast Asia to think outside of the box and join the TikTok Trendsetter creative competition. Launched last November 9, 2020, TikTok Trendsetter aims to inspire professionals and agencies in the Philippines to harness the untapped potential of TikTok to solve real-world marketing challenges.

    “The power of TikTok is clear, but it requires a new and different way of thinking. Utilizing an entertainment-based platform allows marketers to engage with users in a ‘sound on’ environment, opening an entirely new window of opportunity,” said Ng Chew Wee, TikTok Head of Business Marketing. “Just like our users, we invite marketers to be experimental and explore their creative side while addressing today’s brand challenges through the Trendsetter creative competition.”

    Running for over the course of six weeks, the TikTok Trendsetter creative competition is divided into three separate categories including:

    • Individual Category: Individual contestants to submit one TikTok video creative idea that addresses marketing-related challenges for Small and Midsize Businesses (SMBs), and sectors such as Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and Government.
    • Agency Category:Agency contestants to submit a storyboard for at least four TikTok video creative ideas, a media plan leveraging TikTok and one sample TikTok video that addresses marketing-related challenges for industries such as Fintech, Luxury, Automobile, and Telecoms.
    • Existing Campaigns: Campaigns that have already run on TikTok this year can also participate in the competition.

    All submissions will need to be submitted by 24 December 2020 with voting for the most creative ideas taking place from 4 to 22 January 2021. The following panel of judges representing in-house and agency creative executives, as well as CMOs and TikTok Creators, will be determining the winners of the competition which will be announced on 1 February 2021:

    • Ng Chew Wee, TikTok Head of Business Marketing
    • Katie Puris, TikTok Managing Director of Global Business Marketing
    • Dianchen Yao, TikTok Head of Client Solutions SEA
    • Nguyen Dinh Toan, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Suntory Pepsico Vietnam
    • Sutirapan Sakkawatra, EVP Head of Marketing at Siam Commercial Bank
    • Roberto Saputra, Chief Brand Officer at Smartfren Telecom
    • Jeff Cheong, DDB Group Singapore Deputy CEO and Tribal Worldwide Asia President
    • Maryzyle Fernadez Galinato, Group Creative Director at Hakuhodo Saigon
    • Pingkan Rarumangkay, Executive Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson Indonesia
    • Tay Guan Hin, Chief Creative Officer of BBDO Singapore
    • Sompat Trisadikun, Chief Creative Officer at The Leo Burnett Group and Publicis Group in Thailand

    For each category, regional and local winners will be selected. Agency teams will have a chance to win up to US$40,000 in prizes, while Individual applicants can win a mentorship session with TikTok Global Business Marketing (GBM) executives.

    Kantar research shows that in order to tap into the powerful audience response, it is vital to understand TikTok and engage with users on their own terms. To provide a deeper understanding on how to leverage TikTok for marketing purposes, TikTok will also hold a creative workshop on 24 and 26 November in partnership with BBDO Singapore, hosted virtually at https://www.tiktok-trendsetter.com/ for anyone who is interested in learning about leveraging the platform to solve creative challenges.

    To enter the competition, view tutorials, best practices and creative playbooks, please visit: https://www.tiktok-trendsetter.com/.

    TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. TikTok has global offices including Los Angeles, Mountain View, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo.

    Details provided by Tiktok in a recent press release.

    TECNO Mobile launches new AI-powered, revolutionary TECNO Spark 6 Series – A smartphone for the masses

    6 new enhancements bring users an elevated immersive experience, along with more powerful cameras, multiple Bluetooth sharing, bigger screens, higher capacity and faster speeds

    Recognizing the evolving need for high-performing, multi-tasking and affordable smartphones during these challenging times, global premier mobile phone brand TECNO Mobile has launched its latest innovation, the TECNO Spark 6 Series.

    The TECNO Spark 6 Series is smartly designed for work and play, and is competitively priced to give locals the best value for their hard-earned money. Price ranges from PhP3,990 to PhP6,490. The Spark 6 Series is packed with six upgraded features – a unique camera system designed to elevate photographic immersion to the next level, bigger screen, more generous memory and storage, boosted processing speed, enhanced video call experience, and a fun Bluetooth audio share feature.

    Ye Yuan, Deputy General Manager of TECNO Mobile, said: “Now more than ever, the smartphone is a necessity. It is an essential link to the outside world – for remote working, online learning, staying in touch with loved ones, getting news, and for entertainment. Our goal is to make advanced, innovative smartphones more accessible to more people. TECNO Mobile’s smartphones are affordable, and that includes the latest TECNO Spark 6 Series. We continue to develop our smartphones with the consumers’ changing needs.”   

    The Spark 6 Series comes in three (3) amazing variants – Spark 6 4GB RAM+128GB, and Spark 6 Go in 4GB RAM +64GB and 2GB RAM+32GB. These all have a high performing, impressive battery life, and a sleek, simple yet bold design. The Spark 6 Go variant was the first to be released this November, and is available in all TECNO Mobile partner retail stores.

    Here are some of the features packed into the powerful Spark 6 Series that everyone can enjoy:

    Spark 6 Go

    • A 13-megapixel AI Dual camera and 8MP front camera, AI lens with 18 different scene detection, up to 95% recognition rate and upgraded algorithms. The 13-megapixel primary lens supports 4x digital zoom with F-1.8 big aperture that captures more light at night, and processes image details more finely.
    • Various shooting modes for the AI Dual camera, including Bokeh, AI Beauty, and AI HDR, among others. Full picture details and quality are greatly improved, plus a dual rear flash fills light in dark environments to ensure better photos.
    • A Bluetooth Audio Share feature that can connect to multiple wireless Bluetooth headsets at the same time, enabling users to listen and watch with friends.
    • A 6.52 inches dot in display screen with 20:9 screen aspect ratio and 720 x 1600 resolution for a wider, clearer, immersive display effect, rich color contrast, and great visual experience.
    • A 5,000 mAh battery that stays charged longer, ideal for photography, gaming, browsing, video streaming and music.
    • HiOS for a more intelligent and convenient user experience, with a brand new dark theme feature that uses less phone battery and causes less eye strain.

    Spark 6

    The Spark 6 Series is available at TECNO Mobile partner retail stores, and comes in three models – Spark 6 4GB RAM+128GB priced at PhP6,490, Spark 6 Go 4GB RAM+64GB at PhP5,490, and Spark 6 Go 2GB RAM+32GB for only PhP3,990. For a complete list of stores, visit http://bit.ly/TecnoStoresPH

    To stay updated on products and the latest offering from TECNO Mobile, visit www.tecno-mobile.com/ph and follow TECNO Mobile Philippines on Facebook.

    About TECNO Mobile

    TECNO Mobile is a premium smartphone brand from TRANSSION Holdings. Upholding the brand essence of “Expect More”, TECNO Mobile is committed to giving the masses access to latest technology at accessible prices, allowing the consumers to reach beyond their current limitations and uncover a world of possibilities. TECNO Mobile understands the needs of consumers from different markets and provides them with localized innovations across a product portfolio featuring smartphones, tablets, and feature phones. TECNO Mobile is a major global player with presence in around 60 emerging markets across the world. It is also the global Official Tablet and Handset Partner of Manchester City Football Club. For more information, please visit: www.tecno-mobile.com

    Emotional frailty as source of strength: Get to know PhilPop’s Metro Manila entries

    PhilPop, the country’s premier songwriting competition, makes another huge comeback with an exemplary batch of music entries from the National Capital Region.

    With a diverse showcase of sounds spanning R&B, contemporary pop and folk-influenced genres, the latest roster offers catchy, radio-friendly fodders that tackle romance, forgiveness, and regret with precision and sensitivity. 

    Produced by PhilPop and distributed by Warner Music Philippines, this Friday’s commendable picks include two compositions by Aikee namely “Mapa,” interpreted by Chloe Redondo and Aikee himself, and “Bestiny,” interpreted by Kevin Yadao and Jr. Crown. Composer Kian Dionisio rounds up the Metro Manila cluster with his compelling original “Huling Sayaw,” interpreted by Nyoy Volante.

    Two Entries

    Prolific rapper and singer-songwriter Aikee Aplacador snags two entries at this year’s PhilPop 2020 finals round.

    On “Bestiny,” Aikee expresses his frustration on navigating the harsh realities of dealing with unrequited love and friendship. Kevin Yadao and Jr. Crown trades verses with smooth effortlessness, singing atop upbeat melodies, warm R&B beats and indelible harmonies.

    “Mapa” is Aikee’s tribute to the parents that served as guiding light in times of utmost difficulty and trouble. This time, the acclaimed composer recruits newcomer Chloe Redondo on the inspiring pop/R&B ballad.

    Both songs channel Aikee’s pop and urban sensibilities, while harnessing his skill as a versatile songwriter with a knack for inescapable chorus and earwormy hooks. 

    Life regrets as song inspiration

    Kian Dionisio pens a heartfelt anthem of regrets and what ifs in life on “Huling Sayaw.” Delicately woven with lush keyboards and stripped-down arrangements, his song “Huling Sayaw” was inspired by Dionisio’s music career and the frustrations that come with nurturing the process. “I’ve been told that I was a late bloomer, not brave enough, and not driven enough,” Dioniso shares. “knew from the very beginning that I am a dreamer. But as I age, I started regretting all the opportunities and time that could’ve been so productive. If only I had started so much earlier, maybe I’m already living THE DREAM right now. This is one of my biggest regrets in life and I tried to incorporate the idea to the song.”

    Acoustic pop balladeer Nyoy Volante interprets Dionisio’s melancholic piece with just the right amount of skill and restraint. Volante worked hand in hand with Dionisio in capturing the emotional frailty of the track, delivering it with his own touch while staying true to the original’s message.

    “Bestiny,” “Mapa,” and “Huling Sayaw” are now available on streaming and digital platforms worldwide via PhilPop and Warner Music Philippines.

    Image and details provided in a recent press release.

    Filipina-Singaporean R&B star Gail Belmonte channels personal heartbreak on new single “Restart”

    “Restart” is the most personal of Gail’s releases so far, and takes a slower pace, music-wise.

    Filipina-Singaporean singer-songwriter Gail Belmonte has finally dropped “Restart,” her last release for 2020. The electro-R&B ballad caps off a trio of singles that mark her debut as a solo artist signed under Umami Records. 

    “Restart” immerses listeners into a harrowing tale of breakup and romantic dissolution. Written by Belmonte based on personal experience, the poignant track dissects a kind of love that the singer-songwriter thought was the only thing that she’ll ever get to have. “It was deeply upsetting at the time but I learnt so much, including the fact that there will be new beginnings, even if it seems like it won’t be happening anytime soon or in the ways we want,” reveals Belmonte.

    “Restart” is the most personal of Gail’s releases so far, and takes a slower pace, music-wise. A steady 808 kick plays throughout the song, while the mood flows with a more sober approach. “I wanted this to be like the sound of a heartbeat, grounding the song musically from start to finish,” shares Gail. 

    “Please, don’t forget one thing – it’s to remember me. I’ll love you for eternity”, Gail sings at the end of the bridge, and reflects, “those words seem to stop time for me for a little while. They really highlight the weight that love and heartbreak hold.”

    Gail is currently working on her self-titled debut EP scheduled for release in 2021, as well as an upcoming collaboration with R&B singer Angelo Martinez on an acoustic EP.

    Listen to Restart via Umami Records

    About Gail Belmonte

    R&B/soul singer-songwriter Gail Belmonte makes music full of heart, with a voice that radiates beauty and effortless delivery.

    Born and raised in Singapore, of Filipino descent, Gail Belmonte loved singing and performing from an early age and has been practising professionally from the age of 18. Gail was champion in the vocal solo category of Singapore talent competition Impresario 2016, a finalist of China Super Vocal 2016, a finalist in Mediacorp Singapore’s The Final 1 (2013), and also appeared in Season 4 of ABS-CBN’s Pilipinas Got Talent (2016). Gail made her theatre debut in Pangdemonium’s staging of the Tony award-winning musical, Fun Home, in 2017.

    Gail Belmonte has featured on tracks by artists like fulses, thecolorfractal, Fingerfunk and Tim De Cotta, and is finally ready to put out her own music with 3 singles planned for release in 2020 via indie label Umami Records, in which she explores the effects of love, heartache, falling apart and putting yourself back together again.

    About Umami Records

    Umami Records is a Singapore-based indie record label founded in 2013. Much like the “5th taste” reputation of its namesake, the label strongly believes in discovering new, interesting sounds that run underground and away from the mainstream. The label’s tight-knit, curated roster includes releases from Linying, The Steve McQueens, brb., Evanturetime, CampFire, Martin Baltser, Phoria, Oriental Cravings, and more.

    Image and details provided by Umami Records in a recent press release

    Melancholia as Universal Theme: PhilPop releases third batch of songs

    PhilPop takes the competition to an entirely impressive scale with the official release of songs from the North Luzon clusters.

    The latest batch balances compelling drama and introspection as it gravitates toward themes of unrequited love, romantic dissolution, and abusive relationships. Produced with professional polish and help from PhilPop, the newest selection includes “Paos,” composed by Angelic Mateo and interpreted by Keiko Necessario; “Balikan,” composed by Lolito Go and interpreted by Benj Manalo and the Collective; and “Agsardeng,” composed by TJ Paeldon and Abby Esteban, and interpreted by Miss Ramone.

    Distributed by Warner Music Philippines, the homegrown songs are now available today, November 6, 2020 (Friday) on all digital and streaming platforms worldwide via PhilPop.

    Paos: The beauty of unspoken emotions

    Beautifully written with tenderness and warmth, “Paos” documents the repressed feelings of being tried and lost, but still wanting to be found. According to its composer Angelic Mateo, the song speaks about the aching truth in our everyday lives and the reality behind the unspoken emotions that reflect one’s bottom points. 

    “This song is a way to remind people that everyone fights a unique battle.” Mateo explains  in a statement. “Moreover, it hopes to emphasize how people must not forget to genuinely understand what the other one is going through because reaching the bottom thorns and wanting to pause does not make a precious soul weak.”

    The subtly produced track is interpreted by acclaimed singer-songwriter Keiko Necessario, who gave her own incredible spin on the serene pop ballad. Despite her own vocal inflection and stylistic take, Necessario remains faithful to the underlying message of the song, careful not enough to blur its intentions while owning the material with genuine understanding on what it’s all about. 

    Balikan: a dissolution of romance

     “Balikan” is a post-breakup anthem that laments on the irreversibility of the past and mocks the prospects of reunion. According to composer Lolito Go, the song was inspired by his friend Jake Vargas’ split with actress Bea Binene. 

    “I was challenged to write a song about it and that’s the time I wrote the first draft of Balikan,” the singer-songwriter shares. “The song revolved around a couple of lines I originally wrote 7 years ago for a popular ‘Hugot’ page on Facebook back when I was one of its content writers.”

    The early iteration of “Balikan” leans on the acoustic ballad side, and was set to be performed by Jake Vargas. But after being selected as one of the fellows for PhilPop bootcamp, Go had a change of heart, and the song underwent changes in terms of how it was arranged and produced. The final version is reimagined by Benj Manalo and the Collective, whose Motown-inspired, funky feel deserves props.

    Agsardeng: breaking the cycle of abuse

    “Agsardeng” is an empowering song that tackles the breakage from the cycle of abusive relationships. According to Abby Esteban, one of the composers of the emotionally penned track, it follows the story of a person who is stuck in recurring domestic abuse, and finally decides to emancipate from its trappings to start anew. ”We wanted to write a socially relevant yet easily digestible pop song that could hopefully serve as a voice and inspiration to those who have survived and are still experiencing gender-based and domestic violence,” tells Esteban. “This is their story we are amplifying.”

    Esteban and her co-composer TJ Paeldon used Ilocano and Filipino lyrics in its attempt to convey both the regional and global appeal of their entry, while catering to contemporary listening standards. Paeldon adds, “We are also aiming on promoting the Ilocano dialect mixed with our National language which is Filipino, for us it’s all about bridging the gap between Filipino and our Ilocano dialect so everyone can appreciate this song and also appreciate the beauty of the Ilocano language which makes a very large portion of the North Luzon cluster.”

    As for the overall sound, Esteban and Paeldon are very particular with melding Ilocano native instruments with vintage-sounding synthesizers to recreate their version of a modern lullaby. Interpreter Miss Ramone adds her sultry and soulful take on the intricately nuanced jam, while making sure to keep up with the ambition of its sound design.

    “Paos,” “Balikan,” and “Agsardeng” are are now available on streaming and digital platforms worldwide via PhilPop and Warner Music Philippines.

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

    Gloc-9 teams up with UE Jam Sessions for the acoustic version of “Lalaban Tayo (The Renewal of Honors)”

    Chart-topping and best-selling rapper Gloc-9 contributed a verse on the acoustic version of UE Jam Sessions’ aptly retitled track, Lalaban Tayo (The Renewal of Honors).

    With a rousing message that champions the unwavering spirit of Filipino bayanihan during the pandemic crisis, the award-winning hip-hop artist called for solidarity in a bid to rise above the uncertainty of the times. As Gloc-9 effortlessly put it in summary, “At kung hindi na makalakad, ika’y aakayin / lagi mong tandaan na makakaasa ka sa akin.”

    As featured main artists, the UE Jam Sessions delivered a stripped-down but empowering take on an anthem that serves as tribute to the unsung heroes: our frontliners. 

    “UE Jam Sessions is here to remind everyone to stay safe in the comforts of your homes for it would be of great help to all our frontliners who have their hands full at this time of pandemic,” Executive Producer Tommy Tanchanco said. “Amidst COVID-19, we must keep our spirits high and face the battle head-on. Hence, through music, we extend our gratitude to our modern-day heroes.”

    In a collective statement posted on their social media pages, UE Jam Sessions also dedicated the song to the people behind the outreach programs and donation drives, and those who offered voluntary services: “We salute and applaud your continuous dedication to serve our fellow countrymen during this difficult time. Thank you for all the sacrifices that you have been putting over the past months. Lalaban at lalaban pa rin tayo.”

    UE Jam Sessions’ “LALABAN TAYO (The Renewal of Honors)” Feat. Gloc-9 is now available on all streaming platforms worldwide. 

    Rock heroes Foo Fighters debut “Shame Shame” on SNL, announces new album, Medicine At Midnight

    The latest from Foo Fighters earned glowing reviews from music critics on the day of its release

    Foo Fighters sent Studio 8H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza into a rock n’ roll frenzy with the first-ever performance of their new single “Shame Shame” on the November 7 episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by friend of the band Dave Chappelle.

    “Shame Shame” is the first taste of the band’s forthcoming 10th album, Medicine at Midnight, due out February 5, 2021 on Roswell Records/RCA Records. The latest from Foo Fighters earned glowing reviews from music critics on the day of its release, with Stereogum calling it “a refreshing twist on their signature sound that doesn’t reach for trends” and praising the new direction for its “percussive, and slightly funky” approach.

    The tenth studio album is produced by Greg Kurstin and Foo Fighters, engineered by Darrell Thorp and mixed by Mark “Spike” Stent. It packs the following nine songs into 37 minutes:

    Making a Fire

    Shame, Shame

    Cloudspotter

    Waiting on a War

    Medicine at Midnight

    No Son of Mine

    Holding Poison

    Chasing Birds

    Love Dies Young

    Medicine at Midnight is now available for pre-order, and includes a limited-edition purple swirl vinyl version, available exclusively at http://smarturl.it/FFOnlineStore.

    Photo Credit: Danny Clinch