By Jasfher Callejo
Ang Bandang Shirley completely filled Blue Bay Park Garden with music magic as it launched its new album Favorite last March 25. As early as 4:00 p.m., the lines for the merchandise—albums, shirts, and exclusive stickers by 8-bit fiction, Apol Sta. Maria, Hulyen, Manix Abrera, and Rob Cham—occupied the scene while the stage was being prepared for the night’s gig. The album is priced at P500 and it comes with a lyrics sheet and three sticker sets.
On the venue’s vast stillness, people chill by the banig blankets, eating food they bought from surrounding food stalls, playing guitar, reading a book, or simply chatting with friends. At night, it was transformed to a dreamy paradise brimming with bright lights and heartwarming songs from Ang Bandang Shirley.
So what’s so great about this new album? Here’s a preview of what’s in store for you.
“Bawat isa ay maningning”
"Maningning" is this first song is a warm hug that will greet you, “Welcome. I hope you discover yourself.”
"Buo ang loob ko sa iyo
Ganito ako kasigurado
Init, tinig at tamis
Awit yakap at halik
Ikaw ang tubig na papawi sa’king uhaw
Pag-ibig ko’y umaapaw”
"Umaapaw," one of the first songs to be released off of Favorite, is a gem that will leave you yearning for a hand to hold one Saturday afternoon while watching the sunset in front of the balcony. It’s a gift of hope to everyone, as it celebrates the love found, built on trust and contentment.
“Ulitin, Pilitin mong sabihin sa akin
Na ayaw mo rin pag-usapan
At wag mo na sanang ipaalala
Bukas itong sakit ay wala na”
Contrary to the upbeat tempo of "Karamay," the song can slowly kill your martyr self and will help you move forward. Love better be a strong thing, for we are more fragile without it.
“Mahawakan ko sana ang pag-ibig ko sa’yo
Mapalago ng tama
Naitanim man sa paligid ng mga bato”
Have you ever felt the need to tell someone of your feelings, but you always move one step backward because you might not like the way they will react? Yup, that’s that "Makahiya."
“Kanina pa tayo naglalaro sa aking utak
Paligsahan, palakasan ng hila at tulak
Ngunit parang hindi mo naman ata gustong manalo
Wala na ‘to, peraho lang tayong malabo”
I personally think "Alam Mo Ba? (Ang Gulo)" is to pay tribute and homage to all our efforts to people who can’t even see us. Dude, come on. Just look around. Maybe true love is just around the corner?
“Saglit ang oras ngunit hindi mahalaga
May taning ang ginawa
Pinili ang sarili
I’ve never felt personally attacked, until "Siberia." It taught me that you outgrow people and that's okay. You’ll always be there for yourself, after all. Once you listen to this song, you’ll promise yourself that staying up until 3:00 a.m. on a school night with tears running down your face will make you a better person.
“Burning bridges, making plans,
Taking pictures, holding hands,
Naaalala mo pa ba
"Maginhawa" will make you miss how foolish and impulsive things were before. Truly, young love is the most spontaneous (sometimes wrong, but no regrets) memorable decision we’ve ever made.
"Nais ko sanang makapiling kang muli
Kahit saglit lang kahit lamang sandali"
"Relihiyoso" is something completely out of the typical Ang Bandang Shirley sound, but this experimental song will grow on you, and the high feeling will be there forever.
“You are here
This is my favorite place”
The title track "Favorite" will be one of your favorite songs in this album. No questions asked.
“All the notes inside this song are arranged to make you long
For someone who’ll be there all the way
For someone who will actually stay”
"Actually" is a gentle reminder to choose the person who actually stays and to stop cherry-picking memories. If you made the wrong choice before, then memories are pretty much all you have to turn to.
“Di ko alam kung pahiwatig bang
Walang sinasabi ang ‘yong mga labi
Na kay tamis kung ngumiti”
"Ilang Ilang" tells the story of staring at the eyes of the person you love without saying anything. It’s that fleeting sensation of loving someone without demanding to be loved back. And, yes, it’s our favorite type of pleasure in pain.
“Tuldok. Tuldok kuwit;
Tapos na ang usapan?
"Ono" showcases a great play of words and symbols, but is also great with playing with our emotions. Don’t be fooled. You’ve been warned.
“Nakita ni Bathala noong ako’y maging asong
"Palindrome" is proof that whatever Shirley will offer us, may it be a new song to our ears or to our hearts, the feeling would still feel the same—love, hurt, and longing.
“Mas okay ba diyan sa kabilang panig?
Dalampasigan ba nito’y langit?”
"Karagatan" is a lullaby that will lure you to go to the seashore, feel the waves as they gently touch your feet, and become one with the water. The sea will keep all your secrets and inhibitions away.
"Track 15," an additional song in the album, is a treat for everyone who bought Favorite. Definitely a fitting period to all the tears and smiles this album has brought us.
The third and final set of the album launch was a stroll down the memory lane. The crowd went wild when the first notes of "Nakauwi Na", "'Di Na Babalik", and "Patintero" played. People were singing along, jumping, taking photos, and crying all at the same time. The album launch was a roller coaster ride of emotions. From that first touch of the much anticipated album, to listening to the songs live for the first time, until that final bow—when all of us know that Selena Davis will not be singing with them the next time we listen to them, I know all of us wished we could freeze that moment and probably stay there forever. The feeling is wild, yet soulful. The waves of emotions are active, yet whimsical. Long story short: Ang Bandang Shirley is arguably the best OPM band we are blessed to have.
Live on, Ang Bandang Shirley.
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Photographs by Jasfher Callejo