It’s a Music Monday Thursday Tunes special today. Let’s call it “Filipino Friday.” lol Today, I am finally checking out some new P-pop tracks that have been in my queue and also some new tracks I didn’t even know existed until I had to look them up.
It’s very interesting for me. Since I did a “deep dive” into P-pop earlier this year, I actually haven’t been keeping track of new releases or even new debuts since then, other than ALAMAT (which I think has become my P-pop bias group… shoutout fellow yKalinga Taneo!) and SB19.
Unlike K-pop, P-pop obviously doesn’t get as much hype. But it also doesn’t have a sort of centralized hub where the latest releases and updates get reported on and posted. It’s all kanya-kanya. Everyone’s on their own. Especially with the Philippines’ fragmented (though slowly opening) entertainment industry powered by #NetworkWarCulture which extends to even management company war culture,
But again, it’s opening up. And artists are able to appear on different networks and programs now. But if you’re not following an artist’s social media, you might not ever know they have a new song out. Heck, apparently even if you do follow an artists’ social media, you can’t even feel that they have new music out. So goes the Philippine entertainment industry, I guess.
Anyway, for this special feature, I’ll start with 1st.One’s “Turn Up,” which I understand is just a “road to comeback” release. Meaning, I guess, a sort of pre-release track to get ready for their full comeback soon.
Since my deep dive in January, it was interesting to learn 1st.One were artists of Korean company FirstOne Entertainment. The company also debuted a new Korean group, NINE.i this year. And I really believe they have the best Korean debut title track of 2022 with “Parallel Universe”. They’re actually #13 on my mid-year list of favorite songs. And will likely stay close to that at the end of the year.
I am eagerly awaiting NINE.i’s comeback. As I am 1st.One’s full comeback as well.
I really liked 1st.One’s release earlier this year “Shout Out.” Everything about it was on such an epic scale. A powerful, charismatic performance with a cinematic music video and an unexpectedly emotional tribute as well.
Their latest release “Turn Up” is quite the opposite in style. The fun dance track is a much brighter concept. But the group has no problem effortlessly conveying the youthful energy and, of course, the talent and skills needed to have “Turn Up” be an easily enjoyable experience. It definitely allows the group to show off their versatility as, from the performances I’ve seen, they’ve mostly projected a more charismatic and mature image. But I’m sure their next comeback will have a bit of both. And I’m very much looking forward to it.
Next up is Press Hit Play. They’ve lost two members since I last watched them. But the remaining four members are definitely not going anywhere as they release the special track “Sambit.” The wonderful midtempo pop track expresses the group’s resolve and gratitude as they move forward. The song itself is a great, inspiring track about never giving up your dreams and being grateful for those who support you.
With the group’s excellent vocal performance of the track, you can definitely feel they are singing the song to their dedicated fans and supporters especially. It is sort of a fresh start as through the song and the accompanying music video, the group looks back at their journey so far. But it also looks forward as well. And the future is bright for the talented group.
“WIN” and “Tell Me” have been part of my regular playlist all year so far.
Finally, I had no idea BINI was releasing an album. And honestly, the only reason I do know is because a hashtag trended on Twitter last week with fans expressing their frustration over promotion of said album.
Frankly speaking, it was a bit amusing seeing that since K-pop fans regularly do the same towards the companies of their favorite idols. So to see it in the Philippines as well was a different, yet familiar experience.
I can understand though that fans want the best for their favorite artists. And I definitely know that the Filipino entertainment duopoly has many shortcomings when it comes to how best to promote and grow their artists. I even talked about that in my deep dive too. So many great artists in the past never getting an honest, sincere chance to showcase their talents.
Anyway, I am definitely aware of BINI’s new album Feel Good now. And I hopefully can listen to the rest of it later. But for today, I watched the two lead singles (I assume?) which had music videos released over the last few weeks.
The first song, “I Feel Good,” is an irresistible pop track. Back in my deep dive, I hoped BINI would do more songs in Filipino rather than English. And this song definitely fits the bill. It’s a total package. The ladies’ vocals glide across the breezy lyrics. And those sweet lyrics and melody are very catchy. You’ll probably find yourself singing the chorus in no time. It’s a top quality track that is certainly influenced by K-pop, but very much retains its distinct Filipino flavor.
Now the next track “Strings,” I’m not so sure of. It’s interesting for me because I don’t listen to girl groups often. But when I do, I tend to gravitate more to the less poppy, bright tracks. And more toward the more charismatic-type of performances. “Strings” definitely fits in the latter category, yet I find myself enjoying “I Feel Good” a lot more.
I don’t know what it is with “Strings.” I think it’s how it borders on that kind of annoying (to me) trend of smashing different genres and styles into one song. It’s become more prevalent in K-pop, unfortunately. Again, for me. But I’m sure many fans love it.
For me though, it comes across as a bit awkward when those different parts don’t seamlessly blend well together. And I think maybe that’s why I’m not feeling “Strings” too much.
I think this is also their “darkest” track, so to speak, so far? So maybe I’m not used to it from them? Granted, I haven’t actually watched or experienced much from them. But the song also has a positive, empowering message. So I’m not really sure what’s going on.
My favorite track from them is still “Golden Arrow.” I love that song. I hope there’s a Filipino-language track on the album similar to it.
But I also get what they were going for with “Strings.” I guess it’s just not my cup of tea.
Moving forward, I hope I can keep up with P-pop a bit better. Perhaps my next Filipino Friday will be to check-in with some other groups that have debuted in the last couple of months. I’m not even sure. Maybe this calls for another sorta-deep dive. Lol But, needless to say, it’s wonderful and exciting to see P-pop continuing to grow. And at a very quick pace too.
Check out 1st.One, Press Hit Play and BINI on Amazon.com:
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