I will be reviewing all of the twelve songs that PHILPOP and Viva Records released early in June. My musical preference will be a hindrance for some songs that aren’t exactly up my alley, but I will try to be as objective as possible.
Moreover, I don’t write about music for a living, so don’t expect flowery bullshit. Go to NME, Radio Republic or some other music blog if you want beautiful words peppering a song review. <3
This will be all about Baliw Sa Ex-Boyfriend Ko.
Like many of the artists who have been called to interpret the songs in this competition, I have no idea who Sugar ‘N Spice are supposed to be. Given my (very limited by today’s standards) experience with KPOP groups and the disparity of talent when it comes to their local counterparts (XLR8, Chicser, Hasht5), my instant thought was this:
“I’m probably not going to like this one bit.”
Feel Na Feel, their first single, is an irritating earworm that gets more bearable with every listen. It feels rubbery and synthetic from the very first note. Not really my thing, sorry.
These five all have the Filipina beauty thing going on, I have to admit. It makes the entire experience less cringe-worthy. Gotta give credit to whoever creates these groups. You know how to make “idol” groups.
I’m not taking anything away from these girls, because they all have decent pipes and the drive to actually pursue their passion. But the song is definitely shit. No doubt about that.
Now on to the composer, Joan Da. Apparently, she’s a former contestant on X Factor Philippines:
I didn’t like her interpretation of Bruno Mars’ heart-wrenching hit one bit. I’m sorry, but she sounded like Regina Spektor singing in the water closet if she was constipated up to her larynx. Or Lana Del Rey if she was asthmatic and always out of breath.
I haven’t seen any YouTube video of Joan Da’s original compositions, save for this political anthem she made with a certain LJ Manzano:
Throwing politics out the window (because there’s enough toxic content online), the song is a decent tune to hum along. I really liked the part where the song suddenly switched up into a hard-hitting rap verse. That section gave the song a pleasant (and somewhat necessary) change of pace.
I’m not sure if this is also an original of hers, but she’s the one who sang it. This was an overly sweet song that had an identity crisis: it wasn’t sure if it wanted to be a decent pop song or a trashy EDM track, so it decided to be both.
Now that I’ve dissected the two parties involved in this thing, I’ll get into the PHILPOP entry.
The first verses are surprisingly delectable. The refrain is lovely, like really lovely. It was turning into a great listen until the chorus kicks in.
The chorus changes the entire tone of the song. From a sweet girl who kinda misses her ex, the song’s persona quickly changed to a needy girl who can’t let go of her former boytoy because he’s a nice specimen to look at. The two of you broke up for a reason, Persona. Let go, that shit ain’t healthy.
The verse after the chorus didn’t help the persona’s case any further. Girl, break na kayo. Bakit ka magseselos? Jesus Christ, are you dumb?
The song recovered when the bridge kicked in. The humu-huhu section actually made me laugh the first time I listened to it. And Joan Da really did well with her bars. She kinda sounded like Nicki Minaj if she spent the last 24 hours screaming at Drake for getting together with Riana.
Sugar ‘N Spice gave the song an extremely sweet treatment. Their sugar-coated interpretation, combined with the song’s very cheesy lyrics, makes the finished product a danger for diabetics like Gary Valenciano. It’s too sweet, my golly.
It’s a tune that’s kinda tailor-made for Sugar ‘N Spice. It’s a terrific addition to their arsenal of songs that they will sing to their fans. Taking out the clingy-ex vibes aside, Joan Da proved that she can actually write decent pop material. Moreover, she can really spit some bars!
I still don’t like the song. Not my cup of tea. Sorry.
Song Title: Baliw Sa Ex-Boyfriend Ko
Composer: Joan Da
Interpreted by: Sugar ‘N Spice feat. Joan Da