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The Spinners Spotlight: ♪ Five Years (Sugar Hiccup, 1995) ♪

In Alternative Rock, OPM, The Spinners Spotlight on December 15, 2010 at 5:49 am

Download “Five Years”

To think that this was released as a single in 1995, eventually winning the Best Alternative Song in the KATHA and Awit Awards the following year, means the strings back then were a lot more loose and a lot less wimpish. ‘Cause really, when was the last time you heard a three-minute song on the radio full of humming?

Our Spinners were there to witness the unlikely shakeup. Let’s read their journals:

Hypnotic and chilling, “Five Years” never fails to scare me. The most imaginative song I’ve ever heard. – Andrea Nicola (4)

The only problem Sugar Hiccup have with this song is that it’s so good any other song they wrote and will write after this will not be as memorable. – Antoinette Jadaone (4)

To say that, to this day, there is no song as powerful as Sugar Hiccup’s “Five Years,” or that there is no one whose vocal prowess could come close to that of Melody del Mundo’s, is perhaps not an exaggeration. – Ayer Arguelles (5)

. . . a haunting hum of a melody that builds into a primal scream of raw emotion. Sometimes a song is not just a song—it’s a revelation. – Ayn Marie Dimaya (5)

I don’t know what to make out of this three-minute record that consists of a never-ending girl moan and a sudden hair-raising shriek. I will probably listen to this song and pretend to enjoy it only if there is a gun pointed at my head. Otherwise, it is a deadly task. – Christian Cruz (2)

Words fail all the bad-poetry-day Goth-damaged bands that elude me and sometimes piss me off but Sugar Hiccup win me over out of how they’re totally and utterly sonic and how Melody De Mundo’s caterwauling shrieks are somehow both meaningless artifice and poetic gesture without being totally either. Dodo Dayao (4)

It gives an impression of a seemingly delusional romance that is hauntingly—and unfortunately—short-lived. – Eula Gonzales (3.5)

“Five Years” encompasses feelings for the listener that can be shouted and signified in singular words: Banshee, Longing, Destroy, Wail, Despair, Climax, Death, Epic. – Gian Mayuga (5)

The longest atmospheric song with only six words as lyrics. How epic can a humming voice be? – Julius Maraya (4)

A haunting song befitting of massive introspection especially during the first two minutes. I think the likes of Bjork and Annie Lennox would appreciate this. – Juno Barbra Streisand (4)

Kids who probably first heard this song when it hit the airwaves in the mid-90s are probably aware that the vocalist here is going for a solid minute and a half just humming, until the song slowly reaches its crescendo, somewhere around the two-minute mark when she says (perhaps the only intelligible words here): “But he will never be back.” Insert commencement of intense wailing here, loss and anger weaved into the fluctuating notes until the end. It definitely tops my “Don’t Listen to This When Alone” playlist. – Kate Pedroso (5)

It reminds me of a cry of desperation and death. Perfect. – KZ Otarra (5)

After all these years, it still amazes me how a song with a single line can encapsulate how dragging five years could be and how the wait disappoints at the end. “He will never be there.” This is how futility sounds like. Beautiful but awfully futile. – Megan Diño (4)

. . . gut-wrenching sculpture of strawberry sadness. – Oliver Ortega (5)

Melody del Mundo is like a shaman wailing to the gods of rhythm, concord, and syncopation. Her siren call traps listeners in a fugue state, unable to shake the ethereal harmonies that bubble up, making “Five Years” not so much a funerary dirge but a mellifluous hymn to the beauty and power of the human voice. – Rex Baylon (5)

. . . crosses that line between dream and nightmare, and gives you both. – Richard Bolisay (4)

No lyrics needed. I can stand five more years listening to this song. Haunting. – RM Topacio-Aplaon (5)

“Five Years” echoes a haunted dream. Like a low buzz that starts rolling, it escalates to an otherworldly screech, an explosion that is the only thing you remember when you wake up. It’s a fine example why the 90s band explosion is one of the greatest eras in Pinoy music. “Five Years” reminds me of a long-gone era that continues to live on in nostalgia. – Romina Mislang (4)

A humming that escalates to screaming against starry guitars, “Five Years” is the emotional breakdown we hide from our lovers. It’s as if Melody del Mundo’s voice is slowly being pulled and stretched like a rubber band, to the point of shooting or breaking, across time, across the wait. Wong Kar Wai’s films often ponder over how time and distance pull lovers apart. This is how they sound like. – Thor Balanon (4)

“Five Years” is basically a two-minute crescendo followed by vocal chords being played like a violin, which isn’t entirely a bad thing. The song is hypnotic and proves that its musicians are capable and creative. Sadly, despite the obvious talent showcased in the song, “Five Years” fails to really captivate me. For me, Sugar Hiccup (at least in this song) are like a skilled fisherman who, in a moment of absentmindedness, forgot to put a hook on the line. – Tyler Draper (3)

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The Spinners Spotlight: ♪ Bad Romance (Lady Gaga, 2009) ♪

In Pop, The Spinners Spotlight, Track Reviews on April 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

Download “Bad Romance”

Lady Gaga is no longer reaching out. She is now the one being reached. Single after single, performance after performance, video after video, eyes are on her, and she loves those eyes on her, gleaming or not.

For this summer issue, The Spinners are ganging up on her last released single of 2009, “Bad Romance”. Let’s hear their love and hate:

. . . has that hypnotic quality that becomes mind-numbing after a while, leading you to the delusion: this is so bad, it’s actually good. – Andrea Nicola (2)

Another song to be turned into an acoustic version with a slower tempoed LSS. – Antoinette Jadaone (3.5)

Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah, Gaga ooh la la. Say what you want about Lady Gaga, she’s a virus that infects. Love it or hate it, there’s just no cure and it looks like she’s here to stay. – Ayn Marie Dimaya (4)

“I want your ugly, I want your disease, I want your everything as long as it’s free . . .” Her words, like daggers, don’t quite survive the way the reverse-engineered Eurokitsch-by-numbers hooks on parade on this one tries a little too hard, lumbering clumsily where something like, say, “Paparazzi”, hurtled nimbly like a Parkour runner. “Just Dance” had hordes more attack. And, really, La Roux. – Dodo Dayao (3)

Lady Gaga is a media-driven provocateur, thus it is impossible to truly appreciate Gaga through her music alone. “Bad Romance” is not just the song—it is the dance, the video, the fashion, the pastiche. Love, disease, everything “free”—ooh la la, I want it all. – Edgar Allan Paule (5)

No sticky sweet melodrama. It’s simple and straight to the point. She wants him. Damn the consequences. “Bad Romance” feels like taking a headlong dive into disaster while winking at your friends. – Faye Balanon (4)

I wish I could have a bad romance like Lady Gaga’s. If it’s going to be a jaunty, cantankerous ride like this track she sings and gyrates to, then I want to be in a relationship with the same douchebag this was written for. The downside is, the song does not stick as much as her previous ones, so maybe the relationship will also have a short shelf life. – Frances Mae Ramos (3)

Twenty years from now, people will remember this song for its witty lyrics and Lady Gaga’s crazy costumes, not to mention those scary Alexander McQueen shoes. – Janina Vistan (2.5)

Memorably tacky. It’s like another Britney Spears hit with more glitters and wigs. – Juno Barbra Streisand (2)

Gather some twigs. Start a bonfire. Don a tribal outfit. Dance yonder. Rah rah, ra rah rah… Um bah, um bah yaah . . . – Julius Maraya (2)

People ask, what is it about Lady Gaga? Catchy electronica? Brilliant lyrics? Repeated syllables? I say: God, you guys, all of the above. Full disclosure: I’ve loved her since “Just Dance”. She has me twirled helplessly around her Disco Stick. Yeah, she and I could write a bad romance. – Kate Pedroso (5)

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear “Bad Romance” is what Lady Gaga would wear now that Alexander McQueen is dead. I’m her fan but the song is a bit forgettable. – KZ Otarra (2)

“Bad Romance” takes off in the same vein of her previous bests, and tops them where they merely satisfy. It’s catchier than “Poker Face” and indeed darker than “Paparazzi”. With the irresistible “Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah / Roma-roma-ma / Gaga, ooh-la-la”, she solidifies the return of hardcore unadulterated pop; and with her offbeat lyrics and indulgent vocal stylings, Lady Gaga proves that it need not be generic. – Leo Ray Valencia (4.5)

They say this song wasn’t written for a lover; it was Lady Gaga’s ode to the music industry. But it doesn’t matter: this is the epic anthem of the desperado, with its sappy, dripping-with-despair lyrics and contradictory danceable melody. Because when you’re that desperate, you explode in a song and dance number in McQueen and hope for the best. – Megan Diño (4.5)

The song per se is not so bad. It reverberates with some hellish energy that keeps its nonsense afloat despite its obviousness. What’s wrong is how its listeners, from the innocent children who desperately gyrate to its maddening rhythm to the more mature ones who populate Youtube with various corny versions, MTVs, and other monstrosities, imbibe the Lady Gaga philosophy to disastrous effect. LSS has never been this catastrophic. – Oggs Cruz (3)

Partly because it is the lone noteworthy single in her new album and partly because here, Lady Gaga invokes RuPaul, with one of the song’s bridges actually borrowing a line and melody from the infamous tranny’s last hit “Cover Girl (Put the Bass in your Walk)”. – Oliver Ortega (4)

How much of Lady Gaga’s 15 minutes of fame has she used up already? Putting all her efforts into sounding like a sexy pop diva reminiscent of Madonna in the 80’s, she ends up sounding more like present-day Madonna: musically irrelevant, stale, and very forgettable. – Rex Baylon (1)

Five minutes is all it takes for Lady Gaga to build two blasting choruses, to write verses that allude to the bad romances in Hitchcock’s films, to pay homage to Madonna, to lick the French, to let herself bleed, and to make herself matter. Stanza after stanza, chorus after chorus, threat after threat, she bludgeons every bit of the ordinary, skins her prey, and wears the past decade’s pop crown with only Beyoncé to defy her, promising only what can’t be promised, standing out amid the outstanding. – Richard Bolisay (5)

Catchy, annoyingly catchy. Simple lyrics, not-so-tricky-dance moves, trendy costume and a timely singer—perfect amalgam of an annoying pop song.  But to be fair with her, Gaga can sing way better than Katy Perry or The Pussycat Dolls, especially during live acts. – RM Topacio-Aplaon (.5)

“Bad Romance” reminds me of the 80’s, with the memories it brings of MJ’s famous vid and the insanity of Lady Gaga’s 80’s-inspired vocalizations. Here we see Lady Gaga the masochist preferring excitement to eventual heartbreak. The song is catchy, yes, and the video brims with fashion stylings, although the choreography and the set seem an imperfect fit, with their aspirations to look and feel avant-garde. “Bad Romance” is a staple among people who just have to help themselves with loud and distracting pop music, especially with a kind of love that is not usually good for the health. – Romina Mislang (2)

Donna Summer gone National Geographic, Lady Gaga pounces and screeches for a lover’s revenge in a thick jungle of 70’s diva disco. And I’m quite entangled. Now, I can properly sashay into my own bad bromances. – Thor Balanon (4)

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The Spinners Spotlight: ♪ Bleeding Love (Leona Lewis, 2007) ♪

In The Spinners Spotlight, Track Reviews on February 4, 2010 at 7:19 am

“Bleeding Love” is Leona Lewis’ first single off her debut album Spirit. After emerging as the winner of the third series of The X-Factor, Lewis has pushed her commercial success even more after the release of her second album Echo in 2009.  For this single, which is written by Jesse McCartney and Ryan Tedder, the Spinners share their cheers and boos:

Despite its overwroughtness, you’ll get the irrepressible urge to sing along to this catchy little song. Like a persistent itch you can’t help but scratch. – Andrea Nicola (2)

. . . yet another sad love song, catchy if considerably cliché. – Ayn Marie Dimaya (3)

Mariah meets The Knife, sort of—warmed-over synths shadowy with paranoid throb and the anguished way she moans through the song exquisitely teetering on the edge without spilling over into melodrama or totally losing it (“ . . . everyone around me thinks I’m going crazy,. . maybe. . .” ). We’ve all been here before, sure, but when Leona sings   “ . . . my heart’s crippled by the vein that I keep on closing  . . .” it’s as if she finds the words we never could when we were. – Dodo Dayao (5)

A catchy tune about how people can become so freaking stupid and irrational when it comes to love. – Faye Balanon (3.5)

Personally I find nothing to bleed about on the topic of love. But this song’s performance is delivered with roughly the same heaves during the worst agony of hemorrhoids so the title must be fitting.  – Frances Mae Ramos (2)

LSS till you bleed your ears off. – Glenn Ituriaga (2)

One of those pop songs with an infectious hook that can drive anyone to sing it unconsciously. – Janina Vistan (2)

A simple guide for the cardiologist and the masochist. – Je Lapegera (3.5)

I didn’t like it. I don’t like it. I won’t like it. But I can date Leona. And then we can talk about rehashing the song. Or turn it J-poppish. Or Korean. – Julius Maraya (2)

“Bleeding Love” is the stereotypical song that makes youngsters jump in the bandwagon of cliché pop hits. – Juno Barbra Streisand (2)

This one spares none of the hyperboles: yes, love is just like basic surgery. Not a big fan, but once it gets to you it sticks and stays, like ghosts of old lovers you can’t shake off. (Yeah, it cuts me open and I…) – Kate Pedroso (3)

This is one perfect song to sing during karaoke parties: emo lyrics and birit notes. – KZ Otarra (3)

Leona Lewis couldn’t have debuted with a more impressive single: a dark and rousing rhythmic ballad that flaunts her X-factor, champion-worthy vocal prowess, and soul. While “Bleeding Love” is a bit predictable, it gives her enough credibility to keep us from writing her off as another run-of-the-mill diva wannabe, and leaves with enough musical mark for us to remember her. – Leo Ray Valencia (4.5)

“Bleeding Love” is a song in denial: Lewis is actually emo, the slash-my-wrists-eyeliner-abusing kind. She hexes the ex, I’m assuming, by packaging her message in a tune that would make him writhe in pop diva disgust. – Megan Diño (2.5)

“Bleeding Love” is the type of song that causes your ears to bleed, with lines such as “my heart is crippled by the vein that I keep on closing”. May I suggest, therefore, that they change the title to “Bleeping Love”. Monchito Nocon (1)

Two notes better than Tina Arena’s “Burn”, but the Tagalized version is really the perfect piece to beat. Oliver Ortega (3.5)

A lot of publicity has been devoted to crowning Leona Lewis as the next Mariah Carey; and after listening to “Bleeding Love”, the comparison is nothing but apt. Like Mariah, Lewis utilizes her voice to sing bland routine R&B ballads that lack the soul and originality that is the hallmark of any good R&B track. – Rex Baylon (1.5)

It feels like a torrid kiss from Leona. . . how her tongue glides to the point of hurting, wounding our gums, reaching our throat. The lyrics were made more revealing when Piolo and Sam sang it on ASAP. Oh—how painful the bleed was for them. – Richard Bolisay (4)

Bleeding ears, my ears keep bleeding. Just like Spice Girls did, it was splendid bleeding auditory nerves for me. Basic beats, sexy outfit, and British accent are always equal to one predictably girly pop tune. – RM Topacio-Aplaon (2.5)

Where there’s love, there’s blood. “You cut me open and I keep bleeding”, Lewis sings in sexy-masochistic coo-to-wail while the synth thump-thumps to a soaring breakdown. “Bleeding Love” beats “Love Hurts” to a bloody pulp for the throne of go-go dancing favorite, and it’s actually a song I could learn to love. – Thor Balanon (3.5)

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