My Top 3 Songs from The Dawn
When you speak of one of the most celebrated bands in OPM history there is no doubt that The Dawn is right up there in that esteemed list. Even during the days when they were still heavily influenced by the New Wave genre which resulted in the band releasing one of their all-time greatest hits “Enveloped Ideas” in the mid-80s, music aficionados back then already knew that this would be a band which would make a lasting impact from that moment on.
There is something more I would like to add and it is from a historical standpoint. Upon reflection, I realized that they were more than a band that wore their influences on their sleeve. In fact, they were much ahead of their time here in the Philippines because they became instrumental in “spearheading” a movement in which they were prime movers in the local scene during the mid-to-late 80s.
I have always considered local bands like The Dawn to be one of those “class acts” since they are part of that elite group of artists that everyone respects, or is a fan of, or both. I mean, c’mon, who hasn’t heard of their timeless hit “Salamat”? Other than that, they have a string of other popular hits from each succeeding album they have released in the nearly 30 years–and counting–of The Dawn’s existence.
While their longevity and staying power cannot be questioned, it was when the original lead guitarist Teddy Diaz was brutally murdered that many had thought would spell doom for the band. But The Dawn continued on and in doing so, I believe they have truly honored the memory of their late friend and former bandmate Teddy Diaz.
When I wrap my head around it and just think of how long the band has chosen to remain active, this is so praiseworthy because regardless of the different decades The Dawn have been through and the numerous fads in music that have come and gone, they not only managed to stick around but more importantly, have remained relevant.
Even as the remaining original members of the band got older, they continue to attract younger fans and this fact bespeaks of the universal appeal of this band. Their music is enjoyed by different age groups and is not directed only to a certain demographic.
The Dawn have achieved the kind of rare longevity with sustained commercial success that has become harder to achieve nowadays for other veteran acts due to certain existing “hurdles” that have been beleaguering the local scene.
One reason that the band has lasted this long is that there is still no other band exactly like them locally and while emulators have sprung up ever since they made a “huge splash” at the time of their debut, the fact is that the majority of music aficionados remember them more from that era which only means they were and still are a band that matters to this day.
To show my respect for The Dawn, I have listed below “My Top 3 Songs” from them.
1) “Salamat” [Millenium Edition] – This track is still my favorite from The Dawn because so much more detail was put into this vamped up and extended version of their most timeless hit “Salamat”. At the time of this song’s re-release in the year 2000 from the album ‘Prodigal Sun’ you had twin axe guitarists in the band consisting of Francis Reyes and Atsushi Matsuura. Just hearing the two of them blazing through the track with all the signature guitar work synonymous to “Salamat”–but this time with more personal touches reflecting the artistry from the two of them–is still a delight to listen to.
The album ‘Prodigal Sun’ from where this track was taken marked the comeback of The Dawn after a couple of years of inactivity as a whole band again. Jett Pangan, Carlos Balcells, JB Leonor, Francis Reyes and Atsushi Matsuura formed the line-up of The Dawn at the time. This was also my most favorite incarnation of the band, post-Teddy Diaz years. On an added note, I can still remember purchasing this album at the now defunct Tower Records in my area and it happened to be the last available copy of the album. In fact, I remember walking into the record store and hearing one of the tracks of the said album being played by the sales staff and it was getting the attention of every other customer in the record store. I said I would like to buy the album being played. I was told that it was the only one left. I said, “Well, I’ll get that one.” I knew I immediately had to purchase it before others could. That’s how great that album was!
2) “I Saw You Coming In” – This was track number 5 from The Dawn’s album ‘Prodigal Sun’ and it is my second most favorite song from the band. I can still remember how the songs plays out from the keyboard intro, to the sudden hit of the snare drum, and then the guitar riff follows. This is one of those tracks that I have practically memorized in my head due to my listening to it so many times already. I, in fact, remember hearing “I Saw You Coming In” first being played on the radio at the original Nu107 more than a decade ago.
This song is also significant for me because frontman Jett Pangan sounded absolutely great–his vocal delivery was at its most aggressive here, plus you got one of the most memorable choruses that just added to the memorability of “I Saw You Coming In” thus, making it also a personal favorite for many long-time fans of The Dawn.
3) “Ang Iyong Paalam” – This track was the lead single taken from The Dawn’s ninth studio-release ‘Tulad Ng Dati’ released in 2006.
This essential album for any The Dawn fan marked the 20th anniversary of the band’s existence. While I also enjoyed most of the other tracks from the special double-CD album, complete with the re-recordings of The Dawn’s classic songs, “Ang Iyong Paalam” was that particular track that got my attention the most due to its being totally new.
While it is a love song, it does not border on the cheesiness of other typical songs that fall into that category. Each time I listen to “Ang Iyong Paalam” I am reminded that the “simple, yet crucial things” do matter during the recording process of a song–the selection of various effects that a guitarist would employ; and the choice of sound engineers responsible for optimizing the track. Even when The Dawn would dish out the occasional melancholic tearjerker, it still comes off with much sophistication.
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