TRANSLATION: “Pardon me for I will be RANTING…”
I will admit that I rant better in English, but somehow I’ll attempt at my ghetto TAGLISH (as in opposed to other types of -LISH languages all around Asia, such as Singlish, Japlish, etc. etc.).
So, okay, noong nakaraang linggo, ini-introduce ni Yui-chan yung bagong boy group sa Pilipinas, known as XLR8. Just like the Korean groups who have cool abbreviated names such as 2NE1, 1TYM, etc., XLR8 is pronounced exhilarate. Although according to the Viva Records website that the name is derived from accelerate, the word exhilarate came to my mind first. After all, I pronounce the letter X as “eks”, not “aks” (unless if we’re applying the Filipino accent on the letter then… :? ). I’m still sticking to my preference of exhilarate because it has a stronger meaning (to inspire, to influence, to excite, to stimulate) than accelerate (to speed up, to move forward, to go fast).
It’s been a long while since I’ve listened to OPM. Ano na bang tawag ngayon? P-POP?! I’m not even familiar with today’s Filipino artists, bands, groups, etc. Last time I’ve listened (and seriously in to it too) was back in the ’80s (when I was still living in the Philippines) and in the ’90s (during the temporary “rise” of Filipino-American artists and groups in the American R&B/Hip-hop industry). I used to steal my brother’s collection of ripped OPM tracks back then since we didn’t have an advanced PC set (where we can burn CDs or download them from sharing sites like Napster, etc.). I began losing my upkeep with OPM when I got in to J-Pop in the early 2000s.
So, fast forward to eight years later and XLR8 came about. Being somewhat familiar or aware of both J-Pop and K-Pop groups and a few C-Pop groups, I was actually excited that the Philippines are getting in to the influence to the rise and popularity of Asian Pop. In some ways, it’s helping me get in touch with my native roots again, even though my native roots never really left me (or rather, I never left my own roots). Just having this boy group may probably make the Phililppines look cool to the Asian eyes again (and maybe, another heavy reason why I should go back and visit the old country other than visiting the relatives). No?
And as expected, as always, when there are lovers (fangirls?) and enthusiasts, there will always be haters. Yes, we do have preferences in music in general, but what ticks me off is the sheer negative views of these haters towards this group, especially that the one who does the “copying” are those of their countrymen. It’s quite embarrassing if you ask for my view. Even my non-Filipino Asian friends (Korean and Chinese) think it’s disheartening and embarrassing (referring to the haters, not to the artists). With all the stupidity and the lack of concrete support for their hating claims, do you know how I, as a Filipino, would feel about that? Even my sister thinks these haters have lack of national patriotism on their own country than our own cultural patriotism for the old country. Diyos ko day!
There are some of the comments that I’ve seen on YouTube alone regarding their rather empty, snide hate comments about XLR8. They just debuted not too long ago tapos puro na mga hating na. It seriously makes me wonder what really happened to the pop culture patriotism. I’m aware of the emergence of K-Pop popularity in the pop music scecne in the PI, while at the same time, American Pop, Brit Pop, and even other types of Pop from around the world are still in the mainstream. It’s pretty much the same on many countries (including the U.S.). If you ask me which one is the “original” throughout the history of modern pop music (that is, targeting the young audience specifically), it’s U.S. Pop. After all, during the 50s and 60s, jazz, rock & roll, R&B, and such became widespread around the world from Europe and in Asia (Philippines included). Eventually these countries will have their own cultural brand of the same pop genres, which is natural. The originators did not see this as a negative (ZOMG THEY BE COPYCAT RIPPERS, FOO!), but they see it more as a positive (wow! I had no idea that people from all around the world love our stuff!).
Music should always be universal. I remember somewhere in an interview that the phenonomenal Japanese-American singer Hikaru Utada said once that “Music, not English, is the universal language.” That being said, what she said was proven with the emergence of K-Pop (as well as J-Pop) popularity in the Philippines. People didn’t have to understand the language just for them to like the songs. Am I right or am I right? Here in the U.S., people didn’t have to understand Spanish (though many Americans do understand it), French (though many also understand), and other languages for them to love the songs. It’s pretty much the same with many of the other countries. Look at the international fandom of J-Pop and K-Pop, as well as C-Pop and other types of Pop. Isn’t that proof enough?
But who said that you shouldn’t support artists of your own country, just because their tracks sound familiar with another country’s pop music? I admit that my first impression of XLR8 the first time I saw them, Super Junior came to mind. Even their debut single (You’re So Hot) sounded something that Super Junior would sing. But I never said they were copycats because it is a norm in pop music for each country to be influenced by another country’s sound. Americans aren’t complaining if K-Pop or J-Pop sounded awfully like their own pop music from the past (then again, there aren’t too many Americans who even listen to K-Pop or J-Pop anyway). No one from outside these countries complained that they sounded alike from western pop (unless if they’re super-patriotic with their country and have no clue what is original and what isn’t anymore…). Being a fan of general pop (more like selective, but general anyway), there’s always going to be artists similar to one another, even in their own country, so I don’t know where on earth these haters be coming out with the definition of original, really.
And then, here are the misconceptions coming from the haters…
Gaya gaya naman sila! Parehas yung single nila na “You’re So Hot” sa “Sorry Sorry” ng Super Junior!
Haters sometimes amaze me, you know? There’s a lot of today’s pop songs that do sound similar to one another. In fact, back in the ’50s and ’60s with the emergence of youth rebellion with pop music, many of them do sound similar. That’s nothing new with this case. My advice to all the haters and doubters out there— listen to more music. Listen to as much music as you can from as many countries as you can. You’ll notice that there are a lot of similarities to one another. This is what you call influence. They may sound similar but songwriters and composers find original ideas to create this similar sound as their own. And you know what? No one’s complaining about the similarities, but you complain with XLR8 and Super Junior….? Hypocrites much…?
TAGLISH?! So baduy!
Seriously, where on earth do these haters been living at? As far as I know, all the way from my childhood in the ’80s, OPM has always been dominated by the TAGLISH. I mean, Mr. DJ by Sharon Cuneta (a ’70s song I think?) was one of my favorite childhood songs by heart, has plenty of Taglish present in the lyrics and they pretty much flow together. And there’s also a few of the Eraserheads songs that also had Taglish (Toyang is a very good example) and I don’t remember yung mga kapwa-Pinoy/Pinay na nagrereklamo sa Taglish lyrics. Tapos ngayon may nagrereklamo dahil K-Pop, as well as J-Pop also use a few English words and phrases in their songs? Where the hell have you haters been? Seriously… :|
Anyway, I think I’m repeating myself at the moment, but I would seriously like to ask these haters (I’m talking to you all native Pinoy and Pinay haters at the PI!) how it feels to be colonized again. Sure, political-wise we’ve been colonized by two (possibly three thanks to WWII) nations, but there’s also the colonization through music. Sure, whatever pop culture we have may not be as appealing as the pop cultures of other countries (even the pop culture isn’t as appealing as the pop culture in Asia and I’ve been living in this country for most of my life), but that doesn’t mean that we can’t influence each other to give a bit of improvement, and work around with them by adding our own cultural patriotism and flavor to them. It’d still come out cool, just like how the Japanese and the Koreans and even the Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, etc. have done with their own pop culture.
Where’s the love, yo? Whatever happened to musical equality and music as a universal language? Most of all, whatever happened to national and cultural pride through pop culture? With all the hate going on and considering pop tracks from other countries as “original”, I’m really feeling that as a once-popular pop culture in the past that we are seriously losing our own pop culture identity. With XLR8 now emerging in the OPM (P-Pop?) scene, here’s our chance to show what our type of cultural flavor we can integrate with what’s already popular around Asia, if not the world.
Right? Di ba? Ne?