Friday, June 4, 2010

Album Review: In Love and War

I spent my whole weekend (Friday is Sunday here in Saudi) listening to "In Love and War". This is the "unfinished collaboration album" from Ely Buendia and Francis Magalona. Thanks to today's technology, Ely together with other talented musicians was able to finish what  him and the late master rapper have started. And as promised, I'll come up with my biased review on this highly anticipated and much talked-about masterpiece.

The album opens up with "Higante", a song which was pre-released last year accompanied with a music video - this is technically, the first single off the album. I was already here in Saudi when I first saw it on Youtube and I guess evereyone in Manila and around the globe got a nice taste on it as it circulated in cyberspace for free. Hardware Syndrome did a great job on the musical aspect of this song. It's pure energy that complemented with the lyrics that talks about a fight with "giants" which represents hardships and adversities in life such as leukemia. Click here to view the video.

"Bleeder" is the song that gave me the creeps. Hearing Francis sing "'coz I'm a bleeder, common stick me with your needle, coz I'm a bleeder so give my vessels some breather" will make you come to your senses that this is the most personal for him. Pupil's catchy rhythm made the track even more powerful.

The third song brings back nostalgia because it is one of the songs that I used to hear from my Tito Nonoy's karaoke when I was still a kid! You will hear the original during Sunday mornings when you tune in to RJFM. This rendition of a Hollies hit is a good one. I guess everyone already agreed because  "Bus Stop" is already  climbing Philippine radio charts.

Gloc 9 and Turbogoth's collaboration on "Buzzkill" is way too cool - I'd give it a perfect ten. This has now become my personal favorite from ILAW. There's that groovy feel in it that relaxes my deaf ears. G9's lead here is awesome too. I have high respect to this guy and to hear him rap in a "classy style" here is a new experience. I am eyeing this as the next single because it can really stand on its own.

"Dreamdate" is a one of those tagalog songs that sticks in your head. The piano rhythm, the playful lyrics, and the "ahaaahhhh....." mixed in one song is enough to give you an "Aneurhythm".

Hilera is one of the young bands of today  that I really admire and their craft on "Hands On" is a living proof that they deserve the following I give them. Their rockbailly style is what they are known for and that is very evident in this song. The guitar riffs are oh so fabuloso. Chris Padilla also had his voice on some parts.

"Bum Ticker" is a very heavy song. And it should be because it is what the title suggests. Ely's screaming his guts out to the exhilarating and aggressive  musical accompaniment done by Hilera (see, they've done two cuts in this album) and Brigada.

After seven loud songs, "Wasak Waltz" relaxes you with its "tame" and "feel-good" sound. I already posted on my FB wall the lines from its chorus: "itaas ang kamay at iwagayway, masarap mabuhay, itaob na ang tagay...". I think this is Ely's personal song for Francis. "Pagkakataong tulad nito, 'di dapat pinapalampas...ang sakit na dinadala, isa lang ang ating lunas". Gives me the goosebumps.

"It's All Right, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" is about acceptance. "You lose yourself, you find that you got nothing to fear". This for me is the "most rock and roll" among the cuts from this album. The talents of The Purple Chicken and Radha definitely helped achieve the fuck I'm talking about. Are you ready to admit to yourself and say "it's all right, ma I'm only dying"?

The last track for me is the song that defines Ely and Kiko's friendship. It also represents the album itself as it talks about the will to fight. I liked the original mix back in the days of the Eraserheads but I have to admit that this remix of "Unstrung Heroes" by DJ Kimosave is better. After the song, you will be surprised to hear Francis M talking and asking for blood donations. It's a chilling way to end an album!

ILAW is a testament that shows that when two geniuses along with other music artists invade the studios, the result is an atomic bomb that could either destroy you when in war or fill you with peace and hope when in love.

Perfect Ten. Plus another Perfect Ten.

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