The Spinners

♪ Hinahanap-hanap Kita (Regine Velasquez, 2003) ♪

In Cover, OPM, Pop, Track Reviews, Tyler Draper on December 8, 2010 at 5:43 am

I have a dark secret. As a kid, my favorite singer was Celine Dion. I can’t blame my infatuation with Celine on the female influences in my life at the time. My older sister was listening to grunge, and my mom was listening to Dave Matthews Band. I remember hearing Celine’s “Because You Love Me” on VH1 and being strangely drawn to it. I just wanted to hear it all the time. Up to now I still make fun of my youthful crush/enjoyment/obsession with Celine Dion. My current Animal-Collective-loving, mainstream-radio-scoffing, indier-than-thou self is confused with the ten-year-old me who used to sit cross-legged on the blue carpet in my bedroom singing along to “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.”

Then I went to the Philippines. Then I heard Regine Velasquez. And now I have to face my demons. I actually heard the original Rivermaya version of “Hinahanap-hanap Kita” first, and I liked it. I thought the songwriting is solid, the lyrics are romantic without going overboard, and the few Taglish lines are clever. To me, the Rivermaya version was pleasant, pero di naman ako na-inlab. When I heard Regine’s version, I was enamored. I didn’t want to like it. I wanted to laugh at how soft and safe it sounded. Despite my head’s initial rejection of the song as another boring, radio-friendly song, I couldn’t shake the same feeling I had when I first heard “Because You Love Me.” To quote Ms. Dion, I felt like “it was all coming back to me now”: my buried musical past, the texture of the carpet in my childhood bedroom, the strange feeling of being lifted by a song that I thought had no artistic strength. All of those old emotions came back. “Hinahanap-hanap Kita” found my demons, convinced them to play nicely, and let them back into my life.

“Hinahanap-hanap Kita” is a simple song—or at least it should be. Like most pop songs, the key is major, and the melody is polite. I would argue, though, that the song has some hidden complexities that make it appealing to me. Regine sings the ballad in her typical powerhouse voice, but there is an underlying vulnerability that comes from the lyrics. Despite its apparent simplicity, the song contains an interesting duality. Regine is singing submissive lines like adik sa ‘yo but sa totoo lang, ako ang adik sa kanya. At one point, she insists that her male counterpart is the one bringing ligaya to her life, but she’s actually the one bringing ligaya to me. And she sings it all so powerfully. She doesn’t pout when she says—and this is my favorite part of the song—sabay goodnight, sabay may kiss, sabay bye-bye. She could easily sing that line with her bottom lip sticking out and whimpering, but she doesn’t. She crescendos through the line. It’s lyrically meek but vocally commanding. I can’t stop listening to it.

I wrote this review thinking I would just hide behind the “guilty pleasure” tag. Everyone is entitled to guilty pleasures, so I figured I could just do this review with a wink and my tongue in my cheek, therefore escaping any scrutiny that might come from admitting how much I like Regine and her song. However, calling it guilty pleasure is not fair. It’s better than that. It’s an example of a great singer singing a well-written song about infatuation that just happens to follow the conventions of the oft-boring, radio-pop genre. I can safely say I won’t ever need to dig up my old Celine Dion albums, because I can just listen to “Hinahanap-hanap Kita” instead.

– Tyler Draper

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  1. I love regine too…i always listen to regine^s songs before i sleep…it^s like,priests pray before they sleep…and me,i listen to her song before i sleep.

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