It is so sad that we did not get to watch the awards night of VisPop 2.0 last year. I could not recall what happened but Floyd and I do not consider ourselves failures for missing that night. As you know in the VisPop 1 review, we have been playing the VisPop winning songs for about two years now almost everyday (via YouTube and SoundCloud). Please refer to the previous post disclaimer. 😉 I forgot to mention that we came up with the review in preparation for VisPop 3.0.
Dili Pa Panahon
This song was our winner (although later on, we think it’s a tie between this and Kasikas). Dili Pa Panahon simply tells us about a love that’s happening too early. A boy tells his girlfriend, “unahon ta ang pag-eskuwela”. While it does not happen very often that this initiative comes from the man in the relationship, it still happens anyway. The song also does not use big or deep Visayan words making the song believable. It has the voice of the youth, indeed. When your song tells a story that you know exists, you get attached to it. I think this is the magic of the songs of E-Heads or even the local, Missing Filemon – they sing relatable stories. That’s just one major thing though. Dili Pa Panahon is also upbeat that is so fitting to its theme – youth.
The use of hyperbole at its best, Kasikas knows what it is singing about. We can even say that it does not use exaggeration – you know the figuratives actually meant the truth not only because of the appropriate use of the language but also the incorporation of its melody. There’s this Noel Cabangon drama in it too, the kind of drama that you can succumb to. I would kill to see this song performed live with an orchestra to accompany it. That will leave me weeping, probably. There’s one miss in this song that Floyd and I forgive, “Kay ang kinabuhi, magasugod human sa kahadlok”. We wish it was “magapadayon” instead of “magasugod”. But that’s just us.
Labyu Langga is one of our least favorite in this second VisPop competition. While it is cute and catchy, you can also mistake it for a song you may have heard before. We also find the lyrics contradicting. In the first few parts of the song we thought that this girl is secretly loving someone who is distant, as the refrain suggests, “Ka’baw kong di ka mutagad ning simple nga magbabalak, apan awit ra gyud ang akong mahalad”. Yet, later on you’d realize that the two persons are actually connected to each other with the claim that “ako nang gihatag nimo akong kasing-kasing, ikaw na ang bahala sa pagtipig ug pag-amping”. The implied relationship was confirmed by the endearment “Langga”. Much later in the song, there are more supporting manifestations as it already says that they are together day and night, the “speaker” even accepts the “yawyaw” of her love interest. We can’t discount that these are mere signs and that the song could even be spoken or sung in a futuristic or dreamy perspective.
We like this is song because it is rock and not the kind of rock that becomes cheap novelty at the end. I personally like the theme of this song because it reminds me a lot about my grandmother and her mystical stories about black magic and occult. No, of course she wasn’t a mananambal and all of that sort. But you know the beliefs of our folks. The thing about this is the lyrics. In the lack of appropriate Visayan words, it uses “gyud” (or “gyung” or “gayud”) as fillers. Later it is already distracting and eventually becomes less communicating. Then again this is understandable. We Cebuanos or Visayans are not good at speaking our own language. But at least “kapre” could’ve been “agta” maybe? That would sound a little bit more authentic.
This is one of the songs in this batch that did not use Visayan words wrecklessly. While writing this, Floyd and I realised that Bayani is the aftermath of the song Habak, haha (after this part happened: “Bay, taga-I ko…sa habak nga imong gibakos-bakos kanunay”)! The Anting-anting Saga! We were just having fun. Really now, the thought expressed in Bayani is not new but the words used are dynamic – katambayayong, kaharuhay, kalisdanan, taming, hinagiban, amomahon – these terms are not used commonly anymore but are understandable to me so that’s a major plus. Yes, for someone who has very limited Cebuano vocabulary.
Our first impression of this song was already not too good because the song oddly sounds similar to a popular hit some years ago. Although, we appreciate that Visayan musicians are now exploring electronic music. But this was not all; “intergalactic” is a big big word that it set high expectations. Honestly, it had me at hello.
As Floyd would say, it is not enough to mention the moon, Jupiter, and Mars and then claim that you are talking intergalactic. As a matter of fact, these things are found only in our own solar system. Having invested on an enormous title, the song should’ve signified something waaaay beyond our own galaxy to suffice. Like, what? It feels alien loving you or loving you is like being abducted by an alien that my senses do not feel earthly? Or, “mingaw ang langit kung wala ka, basin tua ka sa Andromeda? Naa pa lang ko’y spaceship, giapas na tika. Mosulod kog wormhole, bahala na. Intergalactic Gugmaaaaaah…” Siguro lisod lang gyud kung Binisay-on ning pulonga.
Oh well, it does sound good and feels techno so maybe that was it. I still like singing it. But I can’t change Floyd’s mind, he gets uncomfortable all the time. Blame it on his recently acquired surface knowledge/addiction from YouTube about “The String Theory”. Little knowledge is dangerous, huh? But it has a point.
Overall, we can’t avoid comparing this second batch with its excellent precursor. The previous batch was diverse but its main weakness were the female singers having the tendency to sound alike (the first time I heard the songs in a playlist, I could not determine whether one has ended and another one has started playing). Yet lyrics in the previous batch were not carelessly put in place and were not awkwardly written. The rhythm sounded so new, they were heaven to the ears.
This second VisPop offered a more modern feel but the lyrics fell short in sense and construction if there’s such a thing in songwriting. This concerns me because I myself am learning the Visayan language and VisPop is also an avenue for such learning by many of its listeners. I feel that there is a need for VisPop to have a language coach if there is none yet.
In addition, at least three songs easily sounded similar to popular foreign tunes so that is risky.
We would still like to emphasise that we look up to the music campaign that is VisPop, our support is unwavering. I must say again that this was one reason why Floyd and I have decided to express our thoughts – this means that two little Cebuano spectators do get affected by the songs one way or another and there could be more like us.
Photo from the FB Page of VisPop