The Spinners

Archive for the ‘Dodo Dayao’ Category

♪ Nakapagtataka (Hajji Alejandro, 1979, Rachel Alejandro, 1991) ♪

In Dodo Dayao, OPM, Pop, Richard Bolisay, Track Reviews on December 15, 2010 at 5:20 am

Gladys Knight will tell you, being trapped in a loveless relationship is a bitch. Hajii Alejandro takes the old romantic trope and pulls back. The doo doo chorus girls egg him on to break down, but he holds everything in. No one has mastered the trick of making a love song emote, but Hajii does it here. Briefly. Then loses it forever. The saddest OPM ballad. Ever.

– Dodo Dayao

Rachel’s take on her dad’s signature song is every bit sappy, every bit pressed, and every bit enunciated, but that’s what time does. If nothing happens in the years between then it becomes pointless. It’s longer by a minute—a six-freaking-minute pop single—but Rachel lets it linger because she has all the time in the world to wallow. Which means she has opportunities to do vocal calisthenics, to up the ante, to fail. She’s in amazing control of her voice, quivering at times, but solid from start to finish. Hajji has some girls working for him in the chorus whereas Rachel runs the powerhouse by herself, belting tenderly, letting her own personality seep through with bursts of Wala na! Wala na ‘kong maramdaman, nailing it, crushing it. She’s truly in for the kill. Two lovers’ point of view, a man and a woman, father and daughter, Frank and Nancy, one song, two greatest hits.

– Richard Bolisay

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♪ Never Meant To Be This Way (Betrayed, 1986)

In Dodo Dayao, OPM, Punk, Richard Bolisay, Track Reviews on December 15, 2010 at 5:06 am

Pinoy punk, nutshelled. Others followed, but this is still king in many ways. Piss, vinegar, frustration, fury, three chords, alchemy, hard-on.

– Dodo Dayao

Calling this classic doesn’t mean anything because it only conjures boredom and seriousness while in fact it’s the exact opposite. Both importance and excellence stand, rebelliously sentimental from root to tip, tugging the rope at both ends and wringing the piss of Pinoy punk, unmatched and driven like no other song in our music history.

– Richard Bolisay

♪ Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko (Bodjie’s Law of Gravity, 1994) ♪

In Dodo Dayao, OPM, Pop, Track Reviews on December 15, 2010 at 12:22 am

A fat man torn between two lovers. Not a joke song, no. A love song, actually, a soul song, a bigamy song, obviously. And the most supple soul song about bigamy since Billy Paul fooled around with Mrs. Jones. If any of this is remotely autobiographical, then Bodjie Pascua is the Ron Jeremy of lovestruck nerds everywhere.

– Dodo Dayao

♪ Kwentong Looban (Binky Lampano, 1992) ♪

In Dodo Dayao, OPM, Rock, Track Reviews on December 15, 2010 at 12:19 am

That werewolf snarl, right before it shape-shifted permanently into a blues hellhound’s growl—that’s Lampano shedding the last of his rock singer foreskin. These are dispatches from life in the half-light of the not-quite-there, but it ends on a glimmer of optimism. Inner city blues. With much guitar, looking heavenward. 

– Dodo Dayao

♪ Private Diane (Death Threat feat. Francis M and Ely Buendia, 2002) ♪

In Dodo Dayao, Hiphop, OPM, Track Reviews on December 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

Antiwar soapbox, tricked up with urgent banter, monochromatic beats and that dreamy chorus bleeding color and lifting everything up. Trippy hop from the combat zones of life during wartime.

– Dodo Dayao

♪ Hayop Na Combo (Yoyoy Villlame) ♪

In Dodo Dayao, OPM, Pop, Track Reviews on December 12, 2010 at 4:53 am

Yoyoy’s delivery is slapstick enough that you can’t tell if he’s a savant putting us on or every bit the guy who ran around in an orange caveman shag for a living, but the primary-colored surrealism of this country-honky ditty does Tex Avery for sheer cartoon lunacy.

– Dodo Dayao

♪ Ambulansya (Rivermaya, 2000) ♪

In Alternative Rock, Ayer Arguelles, Dodo Dayao, OPM, Track Reviews on December 8, 2010 at 5:30 am

Arguably one of Rivermaya’s best compositions, “Ambulansya” joins a handful of Filipino songs which, to this listener, have thus far succeeded to dramatize or enact the experiences “captured” in their lyrics. For it is one thing to put an experience into a song and it is certainly another to have that experience come to (another) life through music. In the case of the latter, the song essentially becomes music and not merely an uninteresting combination of sounds and words. It becomes an experience in itself.

“Ambulansya” begins very slowly. With just the synths and piano alternating rather forebodingly in the background, the song sounds as though it does what it says in the opening lines: hindi na tayo gagalaw / hindi na tayo aabante. It does not seem to proceed at all. Vital to this tempo is Rico Blanco’s vocals delivered deliberately strained like it is coming from a place so deep it could hardly surface. Yet the song goes on until it reaches the line ayan naririnig ko na sa hangin / sirenang sasagip sa atin and we hear the continuous wailing of an ambulance’s siren creating an ominous vibe.

This slowness breaks into singing of what seems to be frantic utterances. It reaches a significant turn in the lyrics’ final stanzas, in which the narrative of the tragic road mishap is implied (hesusmaryosep / sa gitna ng kalsada / eighteen-wheeler ang nakabalandra / tapak ng preno / tapakan mo). The second and third voices in this part effectively evoke what might have been the drama of high and mixed emotions present among those who have been unfortunately involved in car crashes. Then it’s back to slowness again as the song comes full circle by repeating the line hindi na tayo gagalaw in closing, only this time hinting at a darker note.

– Ayer Arguelles

A young man lies in the wreckage of his car, his probably-dead or most-likely dying girlfriend in his arms. The suspenseful ticktock piano. The frankly beautiful but traumatic melody. The blood. The gore.  The sound of Chuck Palahniuk fronting Radiohead.

– Dodo Dayao

Aabot Din Tayo (Tropical Depression, 1996)

In Dodo Dayao, OPM, Reggae on December 7, 2010 at 5:20 am

There was a time when Tropical Depression were the MVPs of homebrewed reggae, and that’s not just because they had the rhythm down. Reggae’s stuttering pulses are easy to nick anyway and the overfamiliar loping, lolling signatures can only go so far before it starts to get humdrum, sincere skills or not. It’s the feel that’s trickier to fake. And with Tropical Depression, groove was always in the heart, not only finding an out from the genre’s sonic cul-de-sac but having the pan-cultural imagination to take it places. Cross-pollination is always more fun, more queasily exciting than inbreeding. The last thing we heard from them, Aabot Din Tayo, though, was a cover album, their Labour of Love, if you will, overshadowed by their solid state debut, flying under the radar into semi-obscurity. Listening to it now, though, it isn’t as disposable as it seemed. The three so-what reggae covers are lively albeit redundant. But the way the Buffalo Springfield chestnut “For What It’s Worth” morphs into a schoolyard sing-along alone is almost sublime. Even more thrilling is how the Afrocentric recharge of Maria Cafra’s “Isang Payo” gives its romantic pep talk the conviction it should’ve had all this time. Then they spike the postmod kundiman of Sampaguita’s “Liwanag” with an achy-breaky melancholia for good measure. The pick of the pickings aren’t only canny but, shot almost all the way through with the band’s ethnocentric code, it feels less haphazard, almost premeditated. Aabot Din Tayo may be hit-and-miss but when it resumes Kapayapaan’s discourse on reggae’s boundless spirituality and utopian optimism, it comes profoundly close to sounding like our own incentives to possibility.

– Dodo Dayao

The Best of Manila Sound: Hopia Mani Popcorn (Various Artists, 2006)

In Compilation, Dodo Dayao, OPM, Tribute on December 7, 2010 at 5:17 am

Hal Willner, he’s down with the dogma that God really meant the tribute album for bigger things than just some glorified vanity KTV for pop stars with time on their hands who could use a little extra cash. Took it for the gift it was and ran with it, to extreme avant-juxtapose no less—pitting Keith Richards against Mingus, Michael Stipe against Bambi, Lou Reed against Kurt Weill. Not everyone’s idea of fun but then that Dolly Parton tribute Just Because I’m A Woman, with all those gorgeous female voices singing gorgeous country songs, or that Neil Young tribute The Bridge, brimming with back-in-the-day alt-rock royalty, was down with the dogma, too: reframe the song, push the singer. You do cover songs to untuck unfamiliar wrinkles in the overfamiliar. Re-contextualize, find new frissons. Otherwise, you’re a wedding band only in it for the ka-ching! And, in the case of Hopia Mani Popcorn, it’s the ka-ching! of all those units Kami nAPO Muna shifted. Didn’t take Viva long, eh? Bandwagon-jumping is an ostensibly, relentlessly Pinoy sport. And so is overkill—Volume 2 of this is apparently in the works. The so-called Manila Sound this comp is a valentine to was that relatively fertile stretch in the late 70s when homegrown pop loosened up, expanded its range of tropes, and embraced them full-hilt. Stands to reason, the catalogue would be ripe for re-contextualizing, even extreme avant-juxtapose. Glorious possibilities, nearly all squandered. Rope Manila Sound fetishists Kala in but give “Macho Gwapito” to Protein Shake—which they ruin, of course? Give the funk band and the hard rock band funkified vamp and power ballad, respectively, to play with? OK, Kapatid’s P.O.T.-in-everything-but-name “Hanggang Kailan” and DRT’s Gapo-grimy “Tao” do rise above the dross on nothing more than the give they pitch in with.  Belaboring the obvious a little is all.  Tribute albums come riddled with safety nets already, so whatever happened to that indie spirit of adventurism? The cojones brandished like principles of faith? A little better off with Up Dharma Down, that whip up a thick fugue to swirl around “Bitin Sa Yo,” nailing the unbearable yearning, the determined coyness of the words that disguise. Otherwise, it’s the kind of redundant blah that’s as worth pressing on CD as fart noises. Wedding bands on parade, at turns anonymous and vanilla (Join The Club, Soapdish), middling and half-asleep (Kitchie, Mayonnaise), downright appalling (6cyclemind, not surprising) and pure flatulence (Rocksteddy, even less surprising). “Kapalaran” does mutate wonderfully into blackly comic noir-soap. Radioactive Sago Project, they’re down with the dogma, too, more than anybody else here. “Kapalaran” almost justifies this volume. Nix Volume 2 and line them up for the Rico J tribute.

Dodo Dayao

Luha (Kapatid, 2006)

In Alternative Rock, Dodo Dayao, OPM on December 7, 2010 at 5:13 am

“Banil” does work because it’s the Karl Roy of the old, loosening up: cheeky, slinky, snaky. And sly, as in like a fox and the Family Stone both. The number crackles with the hedonistic glee that made hot shit out of his funk retro shtick, back in the day. The crunchmetal that dampened it, though, is back on offer everywhere else on the record, and with no funk retro for miles—so, uh oh. Revisiting one’s musical past, that’s valid. Belaboring the parts that didn’t fly, not quite. But that’s my side of the story and easy to chalk up to different strokes if Slapshock hadn’t been here done that moved on and grown this thing up. Hell, so has P.O.T., before they self-destructed into one-hit cultdom.

Deploy crunchmetal proper and there’s nothing the matter with it, in principle, in fairness. And Kapatid are not a crew that wants for chops. Rocklike, funklike, jazzlike chops—their arsenal’s thick. These cats can play, dig? Thing is, they wear their virtuosity out by making them go on unimaginative tangents—expertise pursuing technical prowess at the expense of heartfelt passion, melodies that wander off and lose their way never to come back, riffs that smack of tasteful but never really get tasty. The music dominates by sheer virtue of mass and volume but it never asserts itself as an emotive conduit.

Until the repertoire detours. Towards fuzak evoking milder, better Bamboo (“Telegrama”), towards reggaeish that busts a move to groove (“Grace” and especially “Psycho Love”) and towards demented club dub (“Pagbabalik Ng Kwago”). Things happen, in diminished measures. “Banil,” though, is the sole, solid peek into the band’s ultimate could’ve been would’ve been. The two and a half limes pay tribute to it. The other two and a half denied are for all my great expectations dashed.

– Dodo Dayao