Hearing Winners

Have you ever listened to a song and thought it was a winner? Some months ago, a friend posted “Monumento”, a creation of veteran composer Jungee Marcelo and is one of his two entries for this year’s Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs, a songwriting and music video competition. It is interpreted by two of the […]

Not The Same (Christmas) Song

Yesterday, I was with Marvin for a hefty merienda, which is a whole other story.

While we were catching up with each other and swapping stories, he told me about one Christmas party that he attended. He was actually the one who organized it but, despite that, he never knew what the group performers were planning. So, come party time, he and all the other attendees heard one song for the rest of the night: “All I Want For Christmas Is You” originally performed by Mariah Carey.

Some used only parts of it. Others used the whole song. Whichever, it was the same song for every number. My guess is that Marvin and the rest of the people at the party had enough of it in spite of the song being good.

In a way, I am grateful that I didn’t include it in the list of songs I shared with him. I could only imagine how he would’ve reacted had it been there. So, what is in my list of Christmas songs?

 

Angels We Have Heard On High – The Piano Guys

 

Central Park Serenade – Gregory Porter and Renee Fleming

 

Christmas Is The Time – Katherine McPhee

 

December (September) – Earth, Wind, and Fire with Tyler Ward

 

Elf’s Lament – Barenaked Ladies and Michael Buble

 

Everybody’s Waiting For The Man With The Bag – Seth McFarlane

 

In Your Care – 4Him

 

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas – Harry Connick, Jr.

 

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of Year – Brian McKnight

 

Kumukutikutitap – The Company and The Ryan Cayabyab Singers

 

Let It Snow, Let It Snow – Jamie Cullum

 

Mon Beau Sapin – James Taylor

 

On A Night Like This – Chris Mann

 

Paskong- Pasko – Akafellas

 

Perfect Day – Christ Botti

 

Petit Papa Noel – Josh Groban

 

Rose of Bethlehem – Steve Green

 

Simple Things (Holiday Version) – Jim Brickman featuring Rebecca Lynn Howard

 

This Gift – 98 °

 

When Love Was Born – Dave Barnes

 

And with that, I bid you, dear reader, Happy Holidays!

The Unheard Muse in the Unseen Museum

My mistress – my muse – is strict and fickle.

She pays no mind if I do things by longhand or by the computer. It doesn’t matter to her if it is cursive or print, on a desktop or a laptop. Solitary or company is never an issue to her. As long as I heed the rules of the ritual, she remains my patron.

Always, I must approach cleansed. And I must walk with caution at my feet. I may head to her direction but she may not always be there. She could disappear or just be in hiding.

I enter her temple. Invisible, constant, unmanned, delicate, and bizarre. It is a shrine built by the winds, carried by the sun, and veiled by the moon. She is the muse and the place is hers, a museum. Its windows are on the ceiling. Its solitary door remains on the floor. Without her, the hall is quiet, cold, and dark. But it is not empty. It has never been empty.

Her museum continues to grow every day. She has no regard for the walls for there are none. There are only shelves.

The shelves contain nothing but music of both the living and the dead. The songs could be worded, wordless, worthless, worthy, or wordy. Maybe I should not have said worthless. It could invite her ire.

But that is what all those songs are for: to appease her, to invoke her, and to baffle her. She has many songs because her tastes change. What she likes now may not be the same one in the next second. Sometimes, she likes only one for days on end. To continually be in her good graces, I must remain aware of her shifting or stagnant preferences.

Songs fill her temple. So has silence. But, of all the voices heard there, none of them are hers. She has never spoken—not even to me.

The Perfect Hideout | I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose

Where do you go when you’re having a bad day?

I was having one earlier today. I was feeling so rotten. Radio was one of my refuges but it could only do so much—that was until I heard a particular line.

“Just waiting for the perfect hideout”

That was the only string I caught. The chorus had already ended. The words were silent. Only the music remained. So I searched for the lyrics. I was basically bowled over when I discovered who the artist was: Bombay Bicycle Club.

English indie band Bombay Bicycle Club has been my favorite since I first heard their “Lights Out, Words Gone” a couple of years ago. I fell in love with their music more when I immersed myself in their 2010 album, “Flaws”. And “Shuffle” could never be played just once.

One of favorite bands rescued me today with just one song of theirs: “Luna”.

Immediately, I looked for the song. It wasn’t difficult to find a hit from last year. Easily, I liked it. The recognizable Indian strains made the song all the more interesting. The “Ah-ooo-ooo” is just too fun not to sing. And drum in the chorus is just intense!

Because it has a fast tempo and quite danceable, it’s not surprising that there are a number of remixes for it.

While I love the remixes and the many live acoustic versions, one stands out from the rest.

The In:Demand Uncut version translates the song into an emotion different from that made in the studio. There is an ethereal, almost magical quality about the arrangement, emphasized by the choice of instruments used by Bombay Bicycle Club for the session. It’s like when the moon, while in its fullest, would peek from the dark clouds—but only for such a brief moment, like a short, sweet dream that happened while you’re awake.

Personally, I believe that the version would not be out of place had it been included in “Flaws”.

“Luna” saved me. It got me to shake my blues loose in an existent place where I felt safe.