It’s back to the 60s with Orange & Lemons’ video for its record Yakap sa Dilim (Embrace in the Dark), which is set at a traditional diner where high school students share stolen glances, sugary words, and milkshakes during dates.
There is intentionally no edge or anything sleek and sharp about these three songs, which slurpily relish in their saccharine sentimentality – an identifying feature of Filipino music in general, which is perfectly at home with the ultimate sentimental decade: the 80s.
From Orange & Lemons’ diner, Moonstar88 shifts to the lonelier venue of the store, where an “embrace in the dark” moves deeper into the fantasy of “Dream”. A mannequin takes the place of the object of affection, comes to life, and even becomes a companion to an amusement park.
From excursions into past decades, the Eraserheads’ “Huling El Bimbo” (“The Last El Bimbo”), launches into a young manís reverie of his childhood, when his sweetheart taught him how to dance to El Bimbo. The imagery is near-sepia, and captures innocent puppy love, but the darkly-lit scenes also foreshadow a future tragedy.
Though often fatalistic and mainly helplessly sappy, the bulk of Filipino pop retains hope and carefree cheer, and more importantly, doesnít lose the ability to laugh at itself.