Sneak Peek: Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli

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It’s been a good week for Jun Sabayton. And I’m not only referring to that Cinemalaya plug where he kvetched about the repetitiveness of local mainstream films.

Continue reading “Sneak Peek: Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli”

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American Idol’s Final Top 10: An Initial Ranking

Consider this a nostalgia trip of sorts. Back when I still was deeply invested in American Idol, blog entries such as this were an annual tradition. I also did weekly reviews whenever time permitted, but I rarely followed through.

So, for old times’ sake, here’s my quick initial ranking of the final season’s Top 10, two of whom will be eliminated in a few hours (Boy, are they in a rush to end things):

Continue reading “American Idol’s Final Top 10: An Initial Ranking”

In Case You Missed the Grammys: 16 Higlights

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Lady Gaga channeling David Bowie in her tribute number

We can’t totally fault this year’s Grammys for being so melancholic. After all, we lost an unsettling number of music legends over the past few weeks and I’ve never written the word “tribute” so many times before in one entry. But then, how do they account for the sappy ballad overload they subjected us to in the first hour? Did those performances really have to be so dreary?

There were exciting moments, of course. Aside from certain performances, most of the drama actually happened backstage – like Rihanna cancelling her performance due to laryngitis, Gwen Stefani attempting a guerilla shoot, and Lauryn Hill arriving late for her duet with The Weeknd (Don’t worry. He nailed it solo anyway).

But overall, the vibe really was atypical of “music’s biggest night”. As much as we want to stretch our understanding (given the somber circumstances), we hope they break away from this spell next year.

Here are some noteworthy highlights from the 2016 Grammys:

Continue reading “In Case You Missed the Grammys: 16 Higlights”

RIP Karl Roy and Bodjie Dasig

Sorrow is looming over the Philippine music scene today as it lost two beloved icons.

Rock legend Karl Roy, the charismatic frontman of Advent Call, P.O.T., and Kapatid, passed away early this morning following a long battle with heart-related illness. He was 43. Fans will forever remember him for his electric stage presence and invigorating the local alternative scene in the 90s.

Hours later, the industry was rocked with yet another loss. Singer-composer Bodjie Dasig, who penned hits such as Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko (the early 90s anthem for torn Pinoy lovers) and Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako? (to which his loved ones would respond with a definite “yes”) passed away in California. He was known for creating hits for key players in the music scene like Rachel Alejandro, Rico J. Puno, Ariel Rivera, and Odette Quesada, who eventually became his wife.

For as long as their contributions to the Philippine music industry continue to inspire, these artists will forever be with us. Rest in peace.

Wuthering Heights Goes Slow-Mo

As if the original 4-minute version wasn’t creepy enough, here is Kate Bush‘s Wuthering Heights slowed down and stretched into a staggering 36-minute TRT.

Trippy.

Is there a way I can convert this into a screensaver? LOL.

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On a slightly related note, Kate Bush reminds me of Chanda Romero.

 Diba? 

7 Underrated Whitney Gems

We all know her hit ballads like I Will Always Love You,  Saving All My Love For You, and even the irresistibly sappy Greatest Love of All, but as we all know, Whitney’s repertoire has a lot more to offer. In commemoration of the great diva’s funeral today, here are 7 of her greatest albeit underrated singles:

“Hold Me” (Duet with Teddy Pendergrass)  – Whitney burst into the scene doing guest vocals for soul singer Teddy Pendergrass. This ballad was featured in Teddy’s album, “Love Language” in 1984 as well as Whitney’s eponymous first album making this, in effect, her debut single.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” – Whitney’s live Superbowl XXV rendition of the American National Anthem was so breathtaking, it became a megahit (understandably, only) in the U.S. Thus far, she is the only recording artist who broke the charts for putting her own spin on a national anthem.

Try doing that in the Philippines and you’ll get threatened with a lawsuit.

“Why Does it Hurt So Bad” – Heartbreak sucks. Especially when we all have to pretend we’ve moved on, when deep inside, we haven’t. Well. This song from the “Waiting to Exhale” soundtrack nailed it.

“Step by Step” – We’ve heard Whitney do better Dolly than Dolly. But did you know that she also did better Annie than Annie? This upbeat, more soulful take on an obscure Annie Lennox song was featured in “The Preacher’s Wife” soundtrack. Its music video gave birth to The Whitney Shoulder Bounce.

“My Love is Your Love”- The reggae-infused title track to Whitney’s 1999 album (her first after a decade of soundtrack work) featured the rap stylings of Wyclef Jean as well as an adorable vocal cameo by her then-6-year-old daughter Bobby Kristina. (“Sing, Mommy!”). And the “Amistad” reference? Brilliant. Just brilliant.

“Could I Have This Kiss Forever?” (Duet with Enrique Iglesias) –  Whitney forayed into Latin music with this steamy ballad from her Greatest Hits album. It was released as a single in 2000.

“Million Dollar Bill” – By the time “I Look To You” was released in 2009, most of us wondered: Can she still do it? Even when reports of her allegedly deteriorating voice kept plaguing the media. Somehow, this single gave us a glimmer of home that she’d be back in full swing. Alas, it was all downhill after that.

An iconic voice silenced

I’m having Michael Jackson flashbacks.

The circumstances were uncannily similar. I woke up, turned the TV on, flipped through the channels, stumbled upon CNN. Then I was jolted awake when I read the straightforward headline: “Whitney Houston Dead at 48”. My instant reaction was to double check if I was having one of those Inception moments and immediately searched online for additional news. And it’s true.

The world-famous pop singer was found lifeless in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel – tragically, on the eve of the 2012 Grammy Awards. Cause of death is still unknown.

It’s a known fact that Whitney had her share of inner demons. But say what you want about about her drug and alcohol addiction, her bizarre behavior, her drunken shenanigans, or her tumultuous marriage, that’s all irrelevant at this point.

Chances are, you were talking about Whitney only a few days ago or belting out (or butchering) one of her ballads in karaoke. She was more than a definitive diva. She’s a fixture in our collective consciousness.

It’s tragic to say goodbye to one of the world’s most powerful voices, especially on the eve of music’s biggest night. It’s like a timely reminder that true talent comes and goes, but its imprint lives on.

Farewell, Whitney Houston. The world thanks you.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston

August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012 

Janie, We Need Your Gun

Well, of course Aerosmith‘s upcoming Manila concert had to be a hoax.

There were no teasers, no announcement plugs, no posters, no official statements. Even the supposed organizers couldn’t decide whether the show was to be held on March 19 or on April 2.

Read the full statement by Dan Weiner, the band’s exclusive agent here.

Also,  let’s not forget that the band’s vocalist Steven Tyler is currently busy judging a certain shark-jumping singing competition. (I still don’t know why I care so much about that show).

Then again, all is fine in the local concert scene. Because we will still be expecting the likes of Stone Temple Pilots, The Script, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5 and Mr. Big to land on our shores in the coming months.

But for now, here’s what we, the disillusioned Filipino fans of the legendary rockers, have to say: