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Favorite OPM albums of the Noughties December 5, 2009

Posted by Richard Bolisay in Music, Noypi.

The decade is about to end and seriously I can feel a bug coming- – the laziness to do anything. Everyone’s making a list, from shopping lists to yearenders, and somehow I felt, for personal reasons, I should make one myself. So before the bug comes, tangina, uunahan ko na siya! I cannot do any shopping with the money that I have now, but I will always have music. Music to rely on, music to embrace me, and music to offer me escape. It’s always music to the rescue. And these, from the ten years that elapsed, are the local albums that made me sing, cry, laugh, roll, jump, fly, sleep, pee, poop, gasp, yawn, giggle, levitate, pray, exercise, dance, surrender to life, and appreciate the things around me; in short, the local records released this decade that I love.

Rippingyarns (Cynthia Alexander, 2000) I could put in any album by Cynthia Alexander and it wouldn’t really matter; surely it’s all a virtue of preference, of personal reasons, of love at first listen. Everyone I know who owns the record loves Rippingyarns; even those who haven’t listened to it love it already. And it’s not because of anything but Cynthia Alexander, she who can turn every word into some supernatural creation (or maybe it’s so natural we don’t notice it anymore), into images that define experience, and into sounds that defy our notions of the world. Quoting Cynthia herself, whenever I listen to this, I see sky from end to end.

Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream (Orange and Lemons, 2003) Listening to Clem vs Mcoy through this album is light years apart from listening to Clem vs Mcoy in real life. This debut is nothing short of beautiful- – at times, even brilliant for its softness- – and us, who used to be fans; us, who have been with the band from “Pinoy Ako” and “Blue Moon” to that popsy shampoo commercial hit; us, who used to repress our love for them, pretending to be cool; and us, who truly enjoy ’em when it’s time to be alone and we need some love songs to comfort us- – yes, we hate those who regard Orange and Lemons as mere hasbeens, unaware that this beauty ever existed.

Sa Wakas (Sugarfree, 2003) You will never forget the first time you heard Sugarfree, or the first time you listened to Sa Wakas, or the first time you heard “Mariposa” on the radio, or the first time you cried while listening to one of their songs in this killer album. Oh shit, even the first time you went to their gig and sang along with them, cried your hearts out, and thought you could die right that very moment. Perhaps you even bought your girlfriend this album as gift, and eventually broke up with her while “Burnout” is playing inside your head. Sigh. You will always remember this; that’s the mighty curse.

Take 2 (Imago, 2003) Oh, Imago; my Imago. You know I love you. I could have chosen Probably Not But Most Definitely so I’d look cool and such a digger of obscurity but this is when I first fell in love with you. When you “Akap” me and you gave me a “Taning” the last time I saw your “Anino,” I know that will not be goodbye. I will always cherish this, and I can’t really say how I much I love this because that’s what happens when you really love something or someone and you are at a loss for words, right? Geez, even Blush is lovely even if Zach and Tim and Myrene are all dolled up. (Of course, Aia is a doll already. Doll her up and I’ll wet myself.)

Is That Ciudad? Yes Son, It’s Me (Ciudad, 2003) Come on, admit it, you had, at some point in your life, a crush on Mikey Amistoso. Deny it or that blush will never fade. That will be red for the rest of your life. Mikey likes it when a lot of people are swooning over him- -even silently, even if no one tells it at all and keeps the admiration deep inside- -and that’s great ’cause he looks more inspired, sings like his songs never age, like in Ciudad’s latter albums. Elliott Smith is dead but Ciudad are alive, kicking with a cherry on top (sounds like Shirley Temple now). Oh yes, I’m digressing quite suspiciously. Should I talk about the album? Well, just watch that dreamy road video of “Make it Slow” featuring Master Showman himself, Iza Calzado, and Vicki Belo (yes, Mikey undergoing a much-needed lipo!) and it will pull your heart in.

Influence (Urbandub, 2003) Once, before Embrace was released, I got a feeling that Urbandub would never be successful in Manila. Come on, we already have Chicosci and Typecast (yes, Typecast, don’t misinterpret, the conjunction is never meant to compare you to Chicosci, just to conjoin okay?), why should we need another emo band? Even before Mayday! Mayday! became a rowdy pick-up line of the JJs or before their videos started to look like Green Day’s, Urbandub are already Urbandub- – their diction better, their songs reek of what you call lyricism, and their band members are not wimps. Influence is one of those few instances when the best album of the year in the Rock Awards is won at the right time, and to right acclaim.

Noontime Show (Itchyworms, 2005) It’s weird seeing Jugs now hosting Showtime. He’s doing it like he’s never sung that rollicking theme, Ganito dapat ang kulay / para umunlad ang buhay / ganito dapat ang banda / pagkanta may epal na artista– – but, but, but, one has to earn. He looks like he’s having fun after all. Maybe he’s saving up to produce their next album. Anyway, Noontime Show is daring, noisy, unprecedented, and entertaining to the bone; no doubt it’s a critical and commercial success. You can’t keep a straight face while listening to this; and you can’t help but push the repeat button over and over again either. It’s the best concept album of recent years, and that’s just the surface. Listen to the songs and you feel your life is being told, and the people around you start to shape, to manifest, to roll and dance in the street, like a circus. Never speak ill about this album, or I will have to kill you.

Beautiful Machines (Pupil, 2005) You are wrong if you think that I included Beautiful Machines here just because I am a huge fan of the Eraserheads, and they sort of need to be represented yada, yada, yada, but that’s just exactly why this album is here: this is not the Eraserheads. Beautiful Machines blasts with newness, with an ambition so huge it fails in the middle but earns it back again in the end. One can tell that Ely insists on not singing everything- – a déjà vu of his previous band, maybe?- – that he wants his band members not only to co-arrange and co-write the songs, but to sing too- – because he figures this is a band, and this is collaborative. This is corroborative. Some of the songs sound so electrifying Ely was rushed to the hospital while singing them in a gig. Might have caused it? Not far-fetched.

Discotillion (Narda, 2006) One time I obliged myself to consider that my new basis for friendship will be whether or not a person likes Narda. And it still is- -sometimes. ‘Cause really, how can you not like them? They’re crazy, they’re sentimental, they’re lovely, and Katwo sings with a fist in her mouth, like punching you one song after another. Their followup to Formika is surprisingly different, astonishingly out of this world it kicks a lot of ass. I see myself jumping whenever I listen to this. And after too much jumping, I sit down and start to wallow in the thought that awesome bands really need to disband to go on with their lives.

Tanginamo Andaming Nagugutom Sa Mundo Fashionista Ka Pa Rin (Radioactive Sago Project, 2007) The title alone is everything. Then there’s that album cover and sleeve art by Louie Cordero. Then there are the songs, the bombs, the fillers, the homage to pop not-pop-now culture. The dead is the new living. The living is the new dead. There is still that overwhelming angas that Sago are known for; and charged more with formidable political poetry, nihilistic understanding, and social gas that spreads the great fire. There is blood everywhere. Smokes, fumes, and ashes of the Philippine flag. I awake and this plays: right, this is still the 21st century.

Themesongs (Ang Bandang Shirley, 2008) Quite possible that only a few manage to get hold of Ang Bandang Shirley’s first album- – or know that the band even exists- – but hey, you should! In this debut are songs that could be listened to any time of the day, like beautiful ambient music. Light, fun, dorky, and melodic- – these are tunes that you feel you have written yourself, and you start to own them the moment you sing them while you’re riding a jeepney or inside the cramped train while everyone is busy pushing one another. Themesongs is infectious but I’m not telling you to beware of it. On the contrary, I implore you to come and devour it. And isn’t that cover sweet? A candy for 299 pesos- – not really bad if this is how it tastes.

Bipolar (Up Dharma Down, 2008) Just when you thought Fragmented was already great. . . then came, almost three years later, Bipolar. It sort of felt like betrayal, like supposing the wrongest thing in your life, like. . like. . Armi Millare is a wicked fairy who told you that you have to listen to this or you’ll die, which, you followed because you wouldn’t want to die of course. I had a Bipolar day once, listening to the songs the whole day, swimming in the beauty of the arrangements, summoning the gods of nature, asking what have I done to deserve such lift to heaven. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine this decade of OPM without this- – without this- – a decade so turbulent and uneasy that a breath of magnificence like this is such a welcoming respite. And from here- – yes, from here- – we really go sublime.

Lights off, and that’s a wrap!



1. kat - December 5, 2009

Awesome post. Great list. My 2 all time fave Narda songs are Kusina & Molotov
P.S. I think you’ll like this remix version of themesong


2. Richard Bolisay - December 6, 2009

thank you kat. yeah, that remix is awesome. :)

3. ayer - December 7, 2009

hesus, wala pa akong bipolar! laging nakakaligtaan :(

4. ayer - December 7, 2009

ba’t walang ? hehe

5. ayer - December 7, 2009


6. Richard Bolisay - December 7, 2009

bili na! amm, sandwich, okay naman. gusto ko sila. hindi lang ako ganun ka-fan. hehe. anong mga paborito mo?

7. ayn - December 7, 2009

gustong gusto ko bumili ng land in the time of rubber shoes and dirty ice cream dati dahil lang sa title niya kahit di ko kilala ang orange and lemons, pero namahalan ako. same goes for tanginamo andaming nagugutom sa mundo fashionista ka pa rin but of course kilala ko ang radioactive sago project. parang nakakatakot kasi ang packaging, kahit cute, mukhang masisira.

as you know, sugarfree + up dharma down <3 <3 <3! was just listening to sugarfree's concert with MSO yesterday. grabe, nasan ba ako nung nangyari yun? nasan ka ba nung nangyari yun?

i still don't have the cynthia alexander or imago albums. i remember trying to find copies years ago pero hard to find na siya. :(

8. Richard Bolisay - December 7, 2009

^^land in the time of rubber shoes and dirty ice cream – hehe kala ko love in the time of cholera. i can burn a copy for you if you want.

yung kopya ko ng album ng sago, not the usual terno records na cardboard, eto medyo sturdy naman in terms of packaging. nakakatakot nga yung sleeve art, pero astig. it complements the songs.

inimbita ako ni tonet nun! kaso ako’y nagmomoment ata somewhere. hehe.

the cynthias and the first imago are hard to find, but i spotted them sometime. by the way, you could find most of cynthia a’s albums here: http://byr3qu3st.blogspot.com/. just search. i know, let’s support original music, but we can’t find them to support them. hehe.

9. ayn - December 7, 2009

oops. bwahahaha. i was thinking love in the land… nalito din siguro fingers ko.

i have mp3s of their songs naman, just not the full albums. kasi nung naghahanap ako dati, di pa ako marunong magdownload sa internet. haha. at gusto ko lang din ng concrete copy ng album. para masaya.

10. Richard Bolisay - December 7, 2009

incidentally you were reading the marquez book, right? hehe. yes for the concrete copy of the album. now it will be not be ondoy-ed anyhow.

11. ayn - December 7, 2009

no. haha. pero kasi naman yun talaga maiisip mo kaagad. oh yes, no more ondoy-ed. in fairness yung beloved CDs talaga ang unang sinave ko bilang sila yung nasa pinaka ilalim na drawer.

12. ayer - December 7, 2009

uhm, five on the floor at s marks the spot. pero fan ako e, so lahat haha

13. Richard Bolisay - December 7, 2009

mas gusto ko yung grip stand throw at gravitational pull. okay, don’t mention that those are with marc abaya. hehe. raimund’s side projects are good too- -pedicab, squid 9, cambio, etc.- -but sugarfree and imago are here. they wouldn’t have been recorded without him.

14. ken - December 8, 2009

wow!halos pareho tayo ng pref sa lokal musik.
dahil wala akong blog… dito na lang ako magpopost/comment
Rippingyarns – napakinggan mo ba yung Magkabilaan ni Joey Ayala?
I’d prefer Strike While the…over Love in Land..
Talaarawan has the best production and very consistent songwriting, pero mas ok pa rin ang Sa Wakas…
PNBMD pa rin…Take 2 isn’t bad album, but it’s also not that good.
Is That ciudad? – in terms of pop genius, kasama to ng Cutterpillow at It’s not easy being green
Influence – you might want to try Shiela and the Insects’ Flowerfish though their new wave/post-punk unlike Urbandub
NTS – well, Jugs is already on Showtime…should’ve have made Itchworms Eheads-popular, or at least 6cyclemind-popular…
Beautiful Machines – you should add Buddha’s Pest as well, technicaly they’re two different bands naman e.
TanginaMo is more accomplished, pero Urban Gulaman pa rin…

15. Richard Bolisay - December 8, 2009

hello ken, thanks for dropping by.

haven’t heard that joey ayala album, but i do adore the guy’s music.

Strike Whilst the Iron is Hot is good too (umuwi ka na beybeee.. haha) but i prefer the previous album for all its goodness. at saka wala pa sila masyadong “image” nun e. mas tipo ko.

di ko pa napapakinggan ang Talaarawan. recently wala na ‘kong pera maski pambili ng album e, but i heard good things about it. plus i love the packaging, talaarawan talaga.

I dig Sheila and the Insects’ first and second album but I wonder where are they now?

That one and only Mongols album actually had me thinking of putting it here, but I felt Beautiful Machines has better-sounding and better-written songs. Not that I cannot put them both, sure I want, but well, I decided against Buddha’s Pest. But it’s all good. Di ko lang masyadong napapakinggan tulad ng iba.

And we all love Urban Gulaman! :D

16. masturmind - December 8, 2009

indie hipster ka talaga. haha.

17. Richard Bolisay - December 8, 2009


18. ken - December 9, 2009

ei, lurking again…

you should buy Talaarawan (me too!) or at least DL it somewhere…it’s better than Dramachine, and the themes are deeper than some songs on Sa Wkas

Sheila & the Insects somewhat didbanded late 2008/early 2009 because Ian left. But their back together again and working on their 5th album. You should get Flowerfish – I highly recommend it.

About NTS, well maybe they have or have not foreseen that they are not immuned to their own satires – bounces back right on their face. Kinda makes me sad to see them try so hard, and really don’t seem to get where they reaaly deserved to be. I didn’t speak ill about NTS, so don’t kill me. how could I, upon learning the concept, I already loved the album before even owned it. However, my love for the band starts to diminish after its release. I don’t even want to talk about repacks…OH WTF I JUST DI

@Narda – I’m curious about Duster – sana bigyan ako ni Santa ngayong Pasko ng CD nila..I loved formika and Discotillion…si ryan ba nagsulat ng Kusina?

Di pa ko makapagdecide kung bibilhin ko yung Themesongs. Baka kasi parang Broken Social Scene yung sound nila kasi dami din nila member..hehehe How will you describe their sound? twee-pop?

And lastly, my list would have The Purplechickens’ Here’s Plan B and the most important indie-album of the noughties – Dong Abay’s Flipino. Siguro yun no. 1 ko. No 2 yung Ciudad..=)

19. Richard Bolisay - December 9, 2009

I second the motion on repackaged albums. Nung nakita ko yung bagong Wildlife ng Pupil, napasigaw ako sa Music One. As in Sigaw Iza Calzado. Rrrr.

I came across Ang Bandang Shirley after watching Endo. I think one of the band members (or maybe the band itself) provided the film some music, which is kinda dreamy and twee-pop as you said. Well looking at the album cover, they seem like child-like and all pero fun naman. My friend said she was reminded of Radio Dept. Napanood ko sila live- -they sound better not live hehe pero baka nung time lang na yun. And I promise you, hindi sila kasingdami ng Broken Social Scene. May space pa naman sa stage at puwede pang tumambling at gumulong sa damuhan.

Purplechickens- – wala akong album nila but I always see their videos on MTV dati, as in dating-dati pa. Bigyan mo ‘ko? Same goes to Sheila and the Insect’s videos. Ano yung album bago yung Flowerfish? Yun ata yung meron ako. Glad they’re back.

20. eric p - December 9, 2009

how about the decade as a whole, richard? what’re your picks? i am curious.

21. Richard Bolisay - December 10, 2009

Oh. Could I pass? Hehe. Okay, to reveal my hardcore hipsterness, here they are, off the top of my head, not in any order but maybe unconsciously they are:

Amnesiac, Kid A, In Rainbows (Radiohead)
Greetings from Michigan, Seven Swans, Illinois, The Christmas Albums (Sufjan Stevens)
Feels, Sung Tongs, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Fall Be Kind (Animal Collective)
I’m Wide Awake it’s Morning, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn (Bright Eyes)
SMiLE (Brian Wilson)
Ten New Songs (Leonard Cohen)
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, A Ghost is Born (Wilco)
Per Second, Per Second, Per Second. . .Every Second, Everyday I Said A Prayer… (Wheat)
Storytelling (Belle and Sebastian)
Pet Grief (Radio Dept.)
Hissing Fauna…(Of Montreal)
Alligator (The National)
Think Thank (Blur)
LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver (LCD Soundsytem)
Hot Fuss (The Killerss)
Funeral, Neon Bible (Arcade Fire)
Talkie Walkie, Moon Safari (Air)
The Flying Club Cup (Beirut)
Bring it Back, Re-arrange Us (Mates of State)
The Crane Wife, Picaresque (The Decemberists)
Plans (Death Cab)
Greatest Hits: Chapter One (Backstreet Boys)
Magnolia OST (Aimee Mann)
Graduation (Kanye)
Stubbs the Zombie Soundtrack (Various)
About A Boy OST (Badly Drawn Boy)
Kala (M.I.A.)
For Emma, Forever Ago (Bon Iver)
Pockets (Karate)
Fever to Tell (YYYs)
Dark Was The Night (Various)
Myth Takes, Louden Up Now (!!!)
Baby One More Time (Britney Spears)
American Idiot (Green Day)
Turn On the Bright Lights, Antics, Our Love to Admire (Interpol)
The ’59 Sound (GAslight Anthem)
Ok Cowboy (Vitalic)
Visiter, Time to Die (The Dodos)
Get Guilty (AC Newman) – and those albums of he with New Pornographers which I forgot the titles
Whatever they say I am….(Arctic Monkeys)
First Impressions.. (the Strokes)
Veckatimest (Grizzly Bear)
Youth Novels (Lady Lee)
Scouting for Girls (SFG)
The Eraser (Thom Thom Thom Yorke)
Yoshimi…(The Flaming Lips)

Oh, that’s enough for noww.

22. ken - December 10, 2009

sure, i’ll give you CD-r copy. I knew Ang Bandang Shirley bago pa sila nagka-album. One of their member drums for Purplechickens. Meron yata ako nung Radio Dept. Siguro nga tipong Pete John &Bjorn ba (whistling…) sound nila (isasama ko na sa list ng pag-iipunan ko.)

Btw, my book na rin yung Pupil. At wala pa rin akong Wildlife. Hehe, parang di masyadong pulido yung live recordings sa bonus disc (base sa narinig ko sa radio). At may narinig ako na panalong versions ng Dianetic sa NU pero wala sya dun sa repacked!

23. Richard Bolisay - December 10, 2009

Oh. Inaantok ako sa PBJ, sa Shirley hinde. Anung klaseng libro yung sa Pupil? Ang ganda lang kasi nung packaging at cover. I am judging it. Hehe. Paborito ko yung Dianetic pero sorry Ely medyo chaka yung video. :)

24. kathy gener - December 23, 2009

Hi Richard! this is Kathy of ang bandang shirley :) Wowow! thank you for the kind words, sir! and for buying the album and including us in your decade list :D

25. Richard Bolisay - December 23, 2009

You’re welcome, Kathy. When’s the next album due? Hehe.

26. Ash - December 23, 2009

I remember asking for Rippingyarns from my Mommy in Christmas of 2000 I think. Cassette syempre dahil Php100 lang ang budget sa exchange gift noon pero Php120 o 130 yata ang kopya ng album. Nahirapan pa nga yata siya maghanap pero nabili naman niya. Cynthia Alexander is amazingly talented!
Sugarfree’s music is <3! But it's actually Dramachine that made me a huge fan. Nasa ibang planeta yata ako nung lumabas ang Sa Wakas. I really like "Mariposa" and "Burnout" too (Who doesn't?) XD
Nice list you have here.

27. Richard Bolisay - December 24, 2009

Hi Ash, long time no see! Thanks for dropping by, and great stories! I don’t actually have a copy of Rippingyarns, can’t find any now.

28. eric p - December 26, 2009

wow, that’s too many to mention! wonderful list, btw.

29. Tyler Draper - June 4, 2010

Nice list of kano bands. Hipster ka nga, eh. I agree with basically all of them (lalo na si Brittany Spears hehe). Isa lang ang itatanong ko: where is Modest Mouse? The Moon and Antarctica is an absolute must. I realize that you couldn’t really mention every album you love, so I’ll just hope na isa sya sa mga paborito mo, at di mo lang nabanggit sa sobrang daming favorites.

30. Richard Bolisay - June 4, 2010

Love that Modest Mouse! it’s the first album of theirs i heard. from there, i floated on na. hehe. syempre it’s a bonus when johnny marr joined in. reading that list above, i kinda felt ashamed that i missed a lot of records i also love. more pop! Brittany Spears!

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