Against my better judgment, I decided to listen to Callalily’s new album, Fisheye. Gaining massive popularity because of a big debut single Stars, the band now has legions of fans and strong album sales. They also have a male contingent calling for their heads. People would most likely put me in the latter party. After all, I’ve lambasted them time and time again. They are getting highly undue spotlight and are depriving more deserving bands of it as well. Still, when everything is all said and done, is all the badmouthing for all of this commotion well-deserved?
Why, yes, of course. What did you think I would say? Although, it might be for reasons different from what you may have expected.
Being well-insulated from mainstream media (thankfully), I hadn’t heard anything from Callalily for about half a year. The lack of MYX from my cable provider (mixed blessing) protected me from seeing and/or hearing then next corporate media “sensation” and avoiding masa radio also shielded me from any offending rock. I hoped that would allow me to listen to the album without any MAJOR biases. That said, I braced myself for the very real possibility that the album would be ear-piercingly bad.
After listening the album for a couple of times, I have to say: Meh. It’s nothing particularly outstanding. 16 pop-rock track, 0 fresh ideas. Basically, it’s your run-of-the-mill “alt-rock” mixed in with EMO vocal stylings and quite probably, lots of polishing effects. Apparently, Susundan is the carrier single, and it is probably the most pleasant of the tracks. Not too whiny, not particularly offensive. Trapped Inside a Moment isn’t bad either. Fast-paced pop, though the songwriting could use an upgrade. The rest of the tracks are generic, though nothing THAT bad. One caveat though is that last track, Song for the Youth. Awit ng Kabataan anyone? That song title, as well as the folksy song arrangement are all too familiar, though the song message thankfully isn’t.
Nonetheless, the album is decidedly mediocre. Which doesn’t really deserve lambasting. After all, generic rock is a dime a dozen these days. Still, expect the album to dominate record sales and TV spots for the next 6 months or so. And therein lies the problem.
Remember the line “too much of a good thing is bad”? How would you feel if something you are completely indifferent to is repeatedly shoved in your face? More than anything, the inane repetition of unappealing but not appalling rock is creating the backlash that results in Cueshe hate sites and more Cueshe hate sites. (I do regard Callalily a bit better than Cuehse though) After all, rockers are an aggressive bunch, aren’t they?
When the airwaves and television are dominated by unexciting, or even annoying (like that blasted Stay), songs, it results in jaded bastards like myself, who will lambast, badmouth, and basically rebel against what has to be considered mainstream media. Especially when you also hear it on the jeep, at school, and at the local cafeteria. You also see their faces on posters, ads, T-shirts, and magazines. At some point, one will get annoyed, a point I reached when 6cyclemind’s Sandalan was being continuously sung in my classroom. And it’s funny because my classmates always questioned why I kept listening to my iPod.
Basically, what I’m saying is that the key problem with the pogi rock thing is that some of us are smarter than just accepting what mainstream media regards as good. A lot of people DO still have a discerning mind. That doesn’t mean that media execs will stop trying to shill us their newest signee though.
Which brings me to my next point. Are we to blame bands like Callalily and Cueshe for not turning down big offers from major record labels to promote their music, no matter how bad we make it out as? To hell with so-called musical integrity, they haven’t done anything morally wrong. If anything, it’s the record labels that are to blame. After all, they are the enablers. They are also to blame for the OTSO-OTSO, SPAGHETTI, and other crappy jingle phenomenon, the Pinoy idol phenomenon, Gretchen Barreto’s latest humiliation, and the like. Just some food for thought.
So, the next time you think of criticizing pogi rock, don’t forget to blame the media as well. 6cyclemind, Cueshe, Callalily, and the like may all be sellouts, poor musicians, etcetera etcetera, but it’s the major labels that are bombarding us with uninspiring music and cash-in acting-singing-dancing-tumbling (thanks, Jessica Zafra ) “sensations”.
That doesn’t mean that the Callalily album is good though.