Filipino Friday, February 2, 2024 – “20:20” by VXON

VXON’s January 2022 debut is mostly what motivated me to finally and truly check out the then-emerging P-pop scene. I absolutely loved their debut title track “The Beast”. And the week after, I did my Kinda Sorta Deep Dive into P-pop. And since then, I’ve enjoyed and been excited to see P-pop’s fast-paced growth both in the Philippines and (surprisingly) the world.

Since VXON’s debut, they’ve released some solid follow up tracks. But perhaps none that truly caught my ears and attention as much as their debut. Not to mention the many other P-pop groups also releasing good music too.

But finally, VXON has released their first full album. And all nine tracks on 20:20 reminded me of what excited and surprised me the first time I watched and listened to them.

It’s hard to pick a favorite track. Each one creatively and cleverly suits the album title with songs fondly reminiscing about past relationships or confidently acknowledging a clearer picture of those relationships, good or bad. All songs allowing the members to showcase their talent, charm and charisma. And all worthy of a spot on anyone’s repeat lists this year.

The album opens with the rock-infused “SSP (Saksak Sa Puso)”. The catchy melody and conversational lyrics directed at a snake of a former partner is the kind of song that will easily get you nodding along. It has a sort of anthemic vibe especially in the chorus with the biting title lyrics encapsulating the song’s bitter (and valid!) emotions.

“Kalaw” slows it down a little bit with the R&B-powered track having the boys fondly looking back at happy, but fleeting memories of a relationship.

The next four tracks are solo collab songs for each member.

Sam is joined by MC Einstein on “Gamu-Gamo”. The R&B track is from the POV of the proverbial (and titular) moth to the flame. Sam and MC Einstein effortlessly deliver bars of creative and perfectly flowing lyrics in a captivating way. And you can easily visualize the images the song tries to evoke.

Patrick joins Vince on the seductive “Coco” which definitely calls for a charismatic performance video or something in the future. It’s a great song that follows in the footsteps of VXON’s recently released singles “Pretty Please” and “Sandal” too.

G22’s AJ joins C13 on the groovy “O Kay Sarap”. C13 and AJ’s vocals blend perfectly and it’s easy to get swept up in the laid-back and nostalgic summery vibes of the track.

Franz and Zephanie come together for the pop ballad “Miss Na Kita”. It’s a wonderfully soft performance from the two talented vocalists that perfectly suits the song’s emotional lyrics.

The full group comes back together for “KNT (Kanta Ng Tanga)”. Another catchy track with the group delivering the playful and clever lyrics about an unrequited crush in a nostalgic and youthful pop vibe.

A special stripped version of the previously released ballad “Lisan” and the confident R&B track “Sandal” close out the album.

Cornerstone has done so well in many ways with their four P-pop groups so far in VXON, G22, Yes My Love and AJAA. Though I was a bit disappointed learning there wouldn’t be a title track or accompanying music video for a moment as significant and meaningful as a first full album release for VXON. But that doesn’t take away from how great this album really is.

For anyone who may not have checked out VXON yet, 20:20 is an excellent introduction to what they are capable of. For fans and those who have listened to them since their debut, it’s a long-awaited and fulfilling showcase of the group’s talents. And for me, it is an awesome reminder of not only what captivated me to the group on their debut, but what ultimately drew me in to the wonderfully developing world of P-pop.

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