Thursday, March 31, 2011

The best Original Pilipino Music--in English

Or, some of the best, at least--those that would be top-of-mind for a 10-minute-plus medley. The description is no oxymoron. Jim Paredes himself told me once that OPM was coined by his co-Apo Danny Javier in the '70s to describe not only songs in Filipino, but also English-language songs written by Filipino musicians, composers and lyricists.

Even as they helped change the sound of local pop music with their cavalcade of Filipino hits (where would the Eraserheads be without the Apo?), Jim, Buboy and Danny also dabbled in the occasional English song, e.g., Anna and Just a Smile Away. Then there was Jose Mari Chan, who was responsible for Deep In My Heart, Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile, etc.

In the '80s, arguably the golden age of OPM, songwriters such as Odette Quesada led the way with now-classic ditties such as Don't Know What to Do, Don't Know What to Say, popularized by Ric Segreto, and Till I Met To You, which Kuh Ledesma sung to a first-prize finish at the Metropop Music Festival. Willy Cruz had a massive hit in Never Ever Say Goodbye, while Ryan Cayabyab churned out the challenging pop melodies How Can I, Once Upon a Life, Sometime, Somewhere.

And how can we forget composer Louie Ocampo and songstress Joey Albert, their partnership spawning the likes of Tell Me, Points of View, Without You. And the list goes on.

Anyway--the trigger for this reminiscin'? A video I found in my baul, of Martin Nievera, Roselle Nava (in peak voice here--where is she now?), Geneva Cruz and The Company singing songs from the the Great (English-language) OPM Songbook, at the Kulturang Handog sa Bayan concert many moons ago. [Mickey Munoz, thank you as always!]

Ah, those were the days. You've heard the medley. Now, if you were to do your own mash-up, what favorite OPM songs in English would you put in?


mike said...

how about songs like 'till my heartache end and if the feeling is gone by ella may saison...

Paolo B. said...

The Smokey Mountain songs in English are (almost) all great! "Mama" and "Better World" are really good. But for me, the best in the bunch is "Paraiso", arguably Ryan Cayabyab's finest song in English. To me, it should be on every Pinoy's playlist :)

Nelson del Castillo's "If" is also a good one from the 1990s. Perhaps one of the better OPM love songs in English, besides "If the Feeling is Gone". I like how e manages to pull it off in the refrain: "Dreams are there for us, dreams sometimes end, don't ever think that I am just a dream." :)

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