10 of my favorite OPM lyrics

The following are by no means the best of the best of the best. And I am also by no means an expert on OPM.

It actually saddens me how, as I was writing this list, I realized that I barely listen to OPM anymore. Aside from the releases of Viva Records, Star Music, and a few independent hip-hop labels, I know zero recent songs that are written in Filipino or—for those who are not as pedantic about the language vs. dialect distinction—Tagalog.

So the following lyrics are from old Filipino favorites. I considered including songs written in English but eventually decided against it.

Not all of the songs in this list are about romance but they’re all about love in varying intensities. And if you have Filipino music recommendations, you’re more than welcome to enlighten my ignorant, overseas ass.

1. Palayain ang isa’t isa / Kung tayo, tayo talaga

-session

Session Road’s “Cool Off” should really be in one of those #hugot playlists which are mostly laden with ballads or pogi rock sludge. Since when did it become cool to openly admit liking Cueshe anyway?

2. Kaliwa at kanan, harap at likod / Ano mang anggulo, titigan ay bumibigay ako

-udd

I know Up Dharma Down has other frequently “quoted” songs (eherm Tadhana), but I like this line from “Sana” because it is visual. It’s a nod to that powerful, oh-so-magical eye contact. As Ian McEwan claims: “falling in love could be achieved in a single word–a glance.” Ganda. ❤

3.  Kung gusto mo/ Pwede tayong maglaro / Pamato mo ang aking puso / At huwag mong aapakan ‘to

-ABS

The whole song “Patintero, Habulan, Larong Kalye” is a true Pinoy piece. It’s probably the most Pinoy song in this list. The metaphors are Filipino street games (obviously), which is a playful affront against the negative link between love and playing games.

4. Nagsisising matatapos ang gabing alam naman nating meron nang taning

-sugarfree

“Mariposa” isn’t Sugarfree’s best song and maybe Ebe has written even better verses. But I think this line perfectly encapsulates the kind of loneliness the song is about—that of feeling lonely amid company, of feeling lonely because you fear the temporary.

5. Tayo lang ang may alam / Nando’n sa pagitan ng paalam at pahiram

-peryodiko

This is also one of those songs that should top all heartbreak playlists. “Tayo Lang Ang May Alam” talks about secrets, about the thin lines trod and crossed, and about how sinful and harrowing love could be.

6. Sa malas kong ito / Minsan sinwerte din ako / Nang makilala ang taong tulad mo

-bamboo
Bamboo’s “Muli” is a song for the fans, really. I think it’s similar to Eraserheads’ “Para Sa Masa.” But this line, its casual self-deprecation and cute honesty, is nothing else but sweet.

7. Gusto kong marinig ang buhay mo / Gusto kong halikan ang puso mo / Gusto kitang yakapin hanggang may umaga

-jolina

I believe “Gusto” is a collab between Jolina and Khavn dela Cruz, who also released a Fando & Lis version. I like the innocence of the lyrics; it makes the song’s profession of love both tempered and hyperbolic.

8. Wala mang katiyakan, muling pagsasama / Natutunan na niyang mahalin ang pangamba / Natutunan na niyang mahalin ang paghihintay

-buklod

Buklod’s “Lea” is a narrative song about a fisherman’s wife who waits for her husband as he comes back from the seas every morning. In most love songs we hear that to wait is to hope, but “Lea” juxtaposes waiting, not with hope, but with submission to a cyclical routine of the working class. It is a song of love bigger than two people yearning for each other.

9. Hindi naman pala lumilipad si Batman. Kaya paalam, malupit na mundo. Paalam, mahal.

-RSP

Radioactive Sago Project is a jazz rock band that incorporates spoken poetry in their music (the front-man is no less than poet Lourd de Veyra). “Alaala ni Batman” is a song that narrates the story of a man who likes Batman and the fantasies he has amid the despicable reality he lives in.

10. Field trip sa may pagawaan ng lapis / Ay katulad ng buhay natin / Isang mahabang pila / Mabagal at walang katuturan

-heads
These lines from Eraserheads’ “Huwag Mo Nang Itanong” are probably my favorite Eheads lyrics. It’s witty and philosophical at the same time—the existential angst and the absurdist undertone are appropriately paired with the seemingly random endeavor of visiting a pencil factory. It begs you to ask the question, “anong point?” and Ely answers, “wala, ‘tang ina walang point!”

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26 comments

  1. If you’ve heard Ang Bandang Shirley, Peryodiko, and Up dharma Down, then I’m afraid I can’t recommend anything you haven’t really come across yet, but let me try a few quick suggestions from recent releases:

    – Rico Blanco released an 8-track, all-Filipino album late last year, named Dating Gawi
    – Glaiza de Castro’s Synthesis CD has some great, eclectic tracks. “Sa’yo Parin” is particularly nice
    – The Purplechickens: look up YouTube for “Dayami” and “Casanova”

    Some older stuff, but still great:

    – Kitchie Nadal’s “Malaya” is Taglish, but it’s thoroughly Filipino in feel
    – Never The Strangers has a catchy song, “Bago Mahuli Ang Lahat”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I super, super love Glaiza de Castro’s Synthesis! 🙂 Had no idea Rico Blanco is still “active”; will definitely check out his album. Thanks for this man! Super appreciate it. 🙂

      Like

  2. Bago ang lahat: Is this considered necro? Hahaha

    Khavn’s “Gusto” is originally from the movie “Paalam Aking Bulalakaw”, probably Khavn’s most accessible work. Marami pa syang kanta dun, yung iba inulit din ng Fando & Lis.

    I like Cueshe, well, some of their songs. Hindi sila cool. Medyo baduy sila. Hindi ka rin cool kung gusto mo mga kanta nila. But I think hindi rin cool na i-hate sila.

    Alam mo ba, merong isang blog kung saan nagsimula talaga ang “i hate Cueshe” bandwagon.
    As in inamin mismo nung blogger na nagtroll sya sa mga threads para ibuking na ripoff ang mga kanta ng Cueshe. It’s something I like/tried to write about, pero, like a decade late? What’s the point? Pero siguro gagawin ko pa rin.

    Yung Muli, malamang si Nathan Azarcon nagsulat nun (just because I hate Bamboo, ay hindi nga pala cool, hehehe). “Hudas” ang pinaka-paborito kong lyrics sa kanta ng Bamboo. Ay, teka, Marcos apologist nga pala yan si Nathan Azarcon, ayoko na rin sa kanya.

    Lastly, “Indak” ang pinaka-favorite ko sa UdD.

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    • Grabe ang luma na neto haha, pero hindi naman necro. Gusto ko pa rin ‘yang mga ‘yan. 🙂

      Which Cueshe songs do you like ba? Ako I straight up hate all their songs that I know. Cool man o hindi, hindi ko talaga sila trip.

      Ang nag-trigger sa iritasyon ko sa Cueshe ay ‘yung kanta nilang may opening lines na, “I’ve been to many places / I’ve met different races.” Or something like that, basta may “faces” at “races” at “places.” Ang intense ng irap ko n’ung napanood ko ito sa Myx! Tangina elementarismo?? Ampanget ng lyrics!

      Habang sinusubukan ng Hale at Spongecola na i-subvert ang kabaduyang naka-attach sa mainstream rock (lyrics-wise ha, wala akong masyadong alam sa mismong tugtugan), itong Cueshe sige lang sa pagkanta tungkol sa ulang parang walang katapusan — mai gahd! “Stay” na yata ang pinakagusto kong kanta nila, queber kung ripoff. Basta to this day, batay sa iilang kanta nilang alam ko, naninindigan akong nuknukan ng panget ang lyrics ng Cueshe!

      Hahahahaha, grabe triggered ako. Ikaw kasi e! 😂

      Pero hihintayin ko ‘yang post mo on Cueshe, baka ma-enlighten ako. Mamaya may b-side gems pala sila, hehe. At oy, ginawa mo ba ‘yung Opening Lines Writing Exercise? Ayaw mo i-post? Post mo na dali na pleeeease! 😀

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  3. Di kasi ako masyado sa lyrics. Pero tingin ko tama ka, ampanget ng lyrics nila. Music-wise, may mga decent songs naman sila. At natotolerate ko rin yung mga sikat (Stay, Ulan), at mas naiirita ako sa 6cyclemind at Calla Lily. Gusto ko yung cover nila ng Jealous Guy at ng Hard to Believe (check mo kung di mo pa narinig).

    Gusto ko lang talaga i-share yung blogger na nagpasimuno ng bandwagon. Gusto ko yung blog nya, except yung tungkol sa Cueshe. Tapos proud pa sya sa nagawa nya. Hindi lang ako maka-move on kasi hindi talaga ripoff yung Stay (which is yung main point nya), lalo na compared to Pinoy Ako ng OnL at Leaving You ng Session Road.

    Ay wag mo nang hintayin. Natapon ko na yung draft. Hehehe. At mag mo-move on na ko.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grabe nakalimutan ko nang nag-exist pala ang 6cyclemind! At actually natotolerate ko naman ang “Stars” at “Magbalik” ng Callalily. Siguro kasi sa dami ng naglipanang pogi rock bands noon, sila ‘yung may karapatan talagang mag-claim na “pogi.” Hehe.

      Wait, ano ba ang depinisyon ng ripoff? Kaya ba hindi ripoff ang “Stay” kasi medyo similar lang ang tunog d’un sa alleged original? Tingin mo ripoff ba ‘yung “Alapaap” ng Eheads sa “Reach” ng Pale Fountains? Tas paano ‘yung mga kanta ng Parokya na kinopya sa SoaD? Parody ba ‘yun kaya hindi ripoff? Haha sorry andaming tanong!

      Tsaka sinong blog ito? Naisip ko ‘yung twoisequaltozero dito sa WordPress kasi hate niya ang Cueshe — siya ba? Or hindi na accessible ‘yung blog na tinutukoy mo? Share naman d’yan! 😀

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      • http://no-benta.blogspot.com/2010/11/banana-q-that-tastes-like-silver.html

        Yup. As in one line lang yung may kahawig na melody. Unlike Pinoy Ako at yes, Alapaap. Pale Fountains yung simula tapos galing kay Morissey yung melody nung paparap. Inamin din ito ni Ely na ginaya nya talaga. Pero ang point nya mas naging creative sya sa Alapaap (which I agree, syempre) at medyo tinamad lang si Clem sa Pinoy Ako.

        Yup. Parody.

        Naalala ko tuloy ang Narda kay twoisequaltozero. At naalala ko din yung video ng UdD na pang hipster na ayaw din nya.

        Like

      • Hindi ko alam itong no-benta! Iba-backread ko haha, salamat!

        I just listened to “The Greatest View,” parang mild nga lang talaga ang similarities. Si Clem ba ang nanguna sa “Pinoy Ako”? All this time, ang impression ko ay mas may music cred siya kumpara kay McCoy.

        At ikaw ang naaalala ko sa Narda! Haha. Nabura ko sa computer ‘yung buong discog nila, grabe. Tas ngayon hindi ko alam paano ako makakabili ng mga kanta nila, grabe talaga. 😦

        At hoy, salamat sa “pakikipag-usap” ha? Nakaka-miss ang “unang panahon” hehe, ngayon halos hindi ko na alam ano ang nagaganap sa musika sa atin.

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      • What if i-message natin si Katwo/Ryan/Wincy na kung pwede i-upload nila sa bandcamp/itunes music nila?

        Tingin ko si Clem nga. Check mo din The Dragonfly Collector angganda.

        Pwede ko i-upload mga mp3 tapos DL mo na lang. Hehe.

        Like

  4. Oil has been used for lighting purposes for many thousands of years. That is, until some bummer college dropout discovered electricity. Imagine if we’re still using oil lamps at this age. Imagine your candle-lit dinner every night. On the side of the bed, she’s shadows and silhouette, almost see-through nightgown hanging on those curves. Imagine those black little circles you make on your white handkerchief every morning you pick and clean your nose.

    Wala akong books dito. Kaya ayun. Lumampas din ako sa 5 mins. Dito ko na lang ni-post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ❤ I love it! Gusto ko ang medyo "distant" attitude ng narrator, pa-deadpan. Gusto ko rin 'yung alternating tone ng bawat sentence. Parang 'yung heartbeat monitor sa ospital (ano tawag d'un). Una flat, tapos pataas ("until some bummer"), tapos baba ulit ("imagine if…"), tapos pataas ulit sa candle-lit dinner, tapos balik baba sa kulangot. Lakas haha. 😀

      Like

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