Filipinos are the most un-Asian of all Asian countries (see the irony?). Having been ruled and governed by the Spaniards, Japanese, and Americans that totals to hundreds of years, it’s no wonder that we’ve lost the “oriental” side in us. And because of this, we have more Western traits in us than other Asian countries. More than the language, the culture, the architecture, and the food, our music has also been changed in ways far deeper than we imagined.
Filipino music is a unique mix of good, old school traditions and the unbelievably influential musical aspiration of the west. From the lyrics to the melodies, the music video treatment to the cover art, and even the way a local artist dresses up, are highly similar to many Hollywood recording artists. Now you never have to wonder where Filipinos got the concept of dancing with bare midriffs, singing to a glittered microphone, and canoodling under the rain. Then again, you can sue MTV for that because if it weren’t for the Pussycat Dolls parading their glorious talents, we would never have the Mocha Girls. If it weren’t for Josh Groban, who would have imagined that a lanky man with a choir-like voice named Christian Bautista would be a household name?
Going back, this situation goes both ways—good; because this somehow suggests that Filipinos can meet international standards. Yet this is bad too, in a way that several Pinoy artists are allowing their music to follow after Hollywood trends. Haven’t you wondered why more and more Filipino artists are striving to gain international fame and recognition? It’s a mystery to me, why they want to conquer the international stage when the musical stage here in the Philippines is readily available—metaphorically speaking, that is.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be recognized for the unique Filipino sound they are bringing to the table instead of being known as the Filipino sound that sounds like an “American or British band”? Just a thought.
But then again, it’s not only the artists who are to blame in the influx of singing blondes and brunettes. It’s the Filipino listeners themselves who insist on only listening to Britney Spears or The All-American Rejects that drove Pinoy musicians to look to the west for inspiration. Admit it, you don’t listen to local artists that much in fear of being called “jologs”, “baduy”, “corny”, and “kadiri”.
For some weird reason, Filipinos who listen to OPM have been branded as tasteless individuals. Why? Because we did it to ourselves.