My Top 3 songs from the Eraserheads
The Eraserheads are Filipino music legends whose music first became a cornerstone in the lives of every child and teen in the 90’s from the Philippines. I believe that the music of the Eraserheads has entered the realm of “immortality” meaning that they are still listened to many years after they were first released. Their select songs are still being played in FM stations. All their LP’s are re-issued every now and then. Their greatest hits which are now classic songs can’t be considered “old” by any means because they are still quite popular even with the current youth just as when they were first heard back then by youngsters like me. In fact, their classic songs have become the inspiration for a chunk of our Filipino youth to learn to play the guitar.
The Eraserheads are the equivalent of The Beatles in the Philippines for a number of reasons. There are days when I can spend hours on end just listening to their music. For a band who have not remained fully active since 2001 except for a handful of occasions when they had their reunion concerts and tours abroad, the Eraserheads music still feels as relevant as ever and at times it has become a source of strength for many to carry on. I do not think they are only part of the past as their music will be heard and listened to many decades from now by future generations.
Trying to re-trace the events and highlights of the Eraserheads would not be necessary as every single person who has heard and enjoyed their music has his own story to tell. There will never be a definitive and complete storyline that can ever cover the illustrious career of the Eraserheads as there are only perspectives and accounts told of them through the millions of fans that this band has. I have my own story to tell, too, as indeed every Filipino young or old has his favourite hits to choose from the lengthy catalog of classics that the Eraserheads have.
1) “Ligaya” – This all-time classic song from the Eraerheads which was taken from the band’s very first LP called ‘Ultraelectromagneticpop!’ holds a special place in my heart. It was almost like a lullaby that I would hum in my head before I would go to sleep as a kid. You know, when some people would take sleeping pills to aid them in their sleep ? “Ligaya” was my “sleeping pill”.
It was this song that got me through my sleepless nights whenever things got difficult in school because of ignorant, ill-bred, and low-life classmates and batchmates from my grade school years in a certain private school, including a handful of teachers there like some Ms. Cortero who was a Reading teacher and some Mrs. Mabida who was a Math teacher– who are now thankfully gone from this country–terrors in class during my time, mean and cruel towards students like me who were decent and brought up properly. Yet, they favoured bullies ! Ever heard the saying… “Birds of the same feather flock together?” Para kayong mga vultures diyan!
Maybe, these two teachers should try what they did to me to their students in the States. Let’s see if they will not be properly dealt with by the police and school officials there. Baka makulong pa kayo diyan ?! There are laws in America that do not allow adults, especially teachers, to abuse students mentally, emotionally and damn right, physically!
It was teachers like them who more intent in hitting your hand with sliders used for folders rather than providing you with a friendly, safe and stress-free environment. I pray no student will experience what I went through in that private school who nurtured bullies and let students like me suffer terribly by turning a blind eye and intentionally ignoring you each time you would ask for help ! Cheerful songs like “Ligaya” helped me get through those hellish years when I was surrounded with some people, students and teachers, who were more like the spawns of the devil ! Mga tao pa ba kayo niyan?!
How does it happen that schoolchildren so young and teachers so old can be so consumed with a deadly disease called ENVY they become beasts and gargoyles ? Uh, oh… too bad, you poor things, there is no cure for your disease. Kawawa naman pala kayo… tsk, tsk, tsk.
Now on a much brighter note, and away from those spawns of the devil! I can still remember when I got to first discover this song “Ligaya” even though it would have been a few years later back then after it was first released into the market. Its words and melody are as clear as day in my head. It seems it was only yesterday when I would listen to my old cassette tape of the first album of the Eraserheads in my room. It was not until I had played the Side B of that cassette tape that I would hear a song that opened the floodgates of OPM for me.
On another significant note, “Ligaya” helped me understand how and what it would eventually feel like when I got a little older to chase girls. And then to find that specific girl who would inspire me in school and make me feel how great it is to be in the same classroom with her. To this very day, I still listen to this song. It takes me back to a different time when the definition of love was not that morally corrupted and overly complicated.
Indeed, such songs like “Ligaya” by the Eraserheads is a window to our cultured past as also a stark reminder of the kind of gallantry that is now becoming lost over time.
2) “Maselang Bahaghari” – When this song was released, it was a period approaching the beginning of the end of the illustrious career of the Eraserheads. The way the song was mixed got the attention of listeners that the band was adapting with the times and proving to everyone that they could also be very technically proficient in how they mix their tracks such as was shown in “Maselang Bahaghari”.
Which leads me to this. I just liked how the pace of the song would transition from being mellow and then it would gradually climb approaching the chorus section where the pace picks up. Plus the instrumentation with the usage of the distortion pedal for the lead guitar, then the strumming during the build up to the chorus section, then the switch to another guitar effect with the wah pedal during the chorus section… all of these musical nuances and attention to detail added a funky vibe and a trippy sound to it.
When I was in my early teens, I did not know what “Maselang Bahaghari” meant; I thought it meant precious memory. The word Bahaghari means, I would realize later on, is rainbow.
3) “Maskara” – By the time “Maskara” was released in 2001, we were already in the 21st century and times indeed were a-changing. The Eraserheads at this point were reaching a crossroads in their careers. Rumors were abound even before the release of ‘Carbon Stereoxide’ that this would be the final LP to be released by the band. That this might be the last time we will ever get to hear the members of the Eraserheads perform and make music together?
I remember listening to “Maskara” when I was in my first year in HS and it immediately got to me as to how from the “get-go” it was aggressive as though they were directing the lyrics to a certain person ? Many believe it was about their manager then and how certain aspects of their careers were mishandled allegedly intentionally in favour of the manager raking in more profits than the band would receive?
These controversies would lead to the eventual dissolution of the Eraserheads soon after the album hit record shelves. It would seem that some questionable business practices of a manager would once again put an end to an all time great band and this time the Eraserheads got it, too.
Indeed, “Maskara” would be their last big hit and what a poignant and yet straightforward song it was. It hit all the right keys, and pushed all the right buttons, that indeed Ely Buendia, Buddy Zabala, Marcus Adoro and Raimund Marasigan would not go out without a fight and they let all their fans know that this song would be their “swan song”… and out they went, in a blaze of glory!
From 1989 to 2001, the Eraserheads existed and ruled the radio airwaves, raked in awards, and touched the hearts and minds of every Filipino. ‘Carbon Stereoxide’ from where “Maskara” was taken would be their last album together that the band has run its course and they have come full circle. But honestly, they feel like they have never left us.
It is hard to believe that the Eraserheads were around only for that period. They seem to be still there with the songs they have left behind.
Their songs will still go on long after we are all gone.
That is why they are Filipino music legends.
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