XLR8 caps the year with gold award


Are we finally rid of the boy group jinx? I hope so. Indication that there is now a successful song-and-dance boy group in the local charts came when XLR8 was given the gold album award for its self-titled debut CD last Dec. 19. This was held on GMA 7’s Party Pilipinas and the boys, who were in tears, were really happy to know that all their hard work has begun to pay off.

It has been quite a while since we have had a successful boy group. The last I can recall was Apo Hiking Society in the ’70s. They didn’t dance and although Jim Paredes, Danny Javier and Boboy Garrovillo may not look the part anymore, they were the boy-group heartthrobs for many years. A few bands followed suit. These were the ones like Side A and NeoColours which played their own instruments. But even during the heyday of the song and dance boy group era in the ’90s, think Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Boyzone and others, we were not able to duplicate the international phenomenon. That is until XLR8.

We owe a lot to the K-Pop invasion. I do not know how it happened but the kids from the Land of the Morning Calm these days seem to instinctively know what other kids would like. And I do not mean just the music from pop stars like Super Junior or Boys Over Flowers. Koreans are now masters of pop trends as in telenovelas, clothes, make-up, hairstyles, etc. I do not know if you have noticed it but Korean hairdressers and make-up artists are now also in demand.

2010 was a bad year for the Filipino music industry and I honestly did not like the idea that we now have to also contend with K-Pop songs aside from those we get regularly from the US or the UK. These Western forms are now so embedded in our psyche, I do not see any point in dreaming of a totally OPM world. But K-Pop is a new competition that should have been kept in the sidelines while we went all out promoting our own. That did not happen. The Koreans did not only look good they have also mastered the art of music and video production. I hate having to admit this but they are far, far superior to us in these areas. Can we still catch up? I sincerely hope so.

Thanks to K-Pop though, fans gave XLR8 more attention than they did any boy group of these past two decades. And they found out that Hideaki Torio, Carlo Lazerna, twins Meljohn and Melmar Magno, AJ Muhlach, Kiko Ramos, Arkin del Rosario Jr. and Caleb Santos look good and are heartthrob materials, that they can sing and dance well and that they have an album they can enjoy. The Gold Record Award was generated by the hits You’re So Hot and I Love You Girl. Set for release soon is the third, the Vehnee Saturno original For You. Also included in the album are Tonight’s The Night, I Wish Lang, Dance With Me, I’ll Be There, She Was Mine, Anyway, Ms. Beautiful, Precious Love and Money Money.

Meanwhile, here is a look at some of the hits of 2010 by Filipino artists. It is not much and saying that the industry is in dire straits seems like an understatement. Sure, Charice entered US hit charts, but what can you say when you find out that several of the year’s big hits were covers of past hits by Jose Mari Chan or that the most important new music star discovery was only Jovit Baldivino? Please let me know if you can name some new guys who did better or as well as Jovit this year.

Thanks to Jose Mari’s hits, Christian Bautista was the champion hitmaker of 2011. He scored with the singles Beautiful Girl, Please Be Careful With My Heart, a duet with Sarah Geronimo, I Remember The Girl, and Afraid For Love To Fade. Sarah had a cover of Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx and there were also Faithfully by Jovit, Di Lang Ikaw by Juris Fernandez and Neon Lights by Rico Blanco.

Among the bands, the hitmakers were Parokya ni Edgar with Pakiusap Lang; Tanya Markova, Picture Picture and Disney; Hale, Magkaibang Mundo; 6Cyclemind with Kean and Yeng, Kung Wala Na Nga; Sandwich with Lakad, Calla Lily, Gabay and Nananaginip; Slapshock, Carino Brutal; Chicosci, What’s Your Poison; and Sponge Cola, Makapiling Ka.

Here’s hoping there will be lots more to list down next year. Have a blessed 2011.

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