Thursday, June 9, 2011

Masters of Non-sequitur Rock

Parokya ni Edgar has always been a fun, happy-go-lucky band, never taking anything seriously. Their performances always become a ruckus. Their albums always become hits. Their songs always carry that signature Parokya happy (sometimes naughty) taste. When you listen to them, you know everything is for fun, nothing serious.

Their latest album does not stray from their musical credibility. "Middle-Aged Juvenile Novelty Pop Rockers" is a fun album as one can deduce from the name itself. But more than that, it is non-sensical. Everything is non-sequitur. Everything does not follow. Having said that, the album is a masterpiece on nonsensical terms (if there is such a thing) and is a product of a truly genius songwriting.

The first stroke of talent is showcased in their song "Orange". First and foremost, the topic is completely arbitrary, it is about a person's craving for an orange. The arbitraryness of this is even emphasized in the lyrics itself.

("Gusto kong kumain ng lemon/kahit ano kahit melon."
I want to eat lemon/ anything, even melon.)

They are able to make a song from a frigging orange! The melody is very catchy and could compete with OPM classics of Rey Valera or Basil Valdez. There's even a bit of cheesy words reminiscent of the 80 OPM's poetic lyrics.

("Patikim naman ng aking pangarap".
Let me taste my dreams.)

They also have a song entitled "Red Pants". And as you might expect, this song is about red pants and a man's story involving the aforementioned scarlet-tinted lower garments. Moving ahead.

In "Walong Baso", Parokya gives a health and wellness lesson to everyone. This of course refers to the 8 glasses of water that we need to drink everyday, which we all know since we are kids.

("Sapagkat walong baso ang dapat na maubos mo
Dahil sabi sa libro na kailangan daw ng tao
Ang tubig sa katawan halos 70%
Kung hindi mo yan alam malamang ikaw ay absent sa iskul."

Because 8 glasses is what you should drink
Because it says in the book that it is necessary
The water in our body almost 70%
If you don't know it, you're probably absent from school.)

But this song is another display of ingenuity. Sing this song in a bar or beerhouse and everyone would know the "other meaning" of the 8 glasses. The tune is reminiscent of "The Ordertaker", their rendition of System of a Down's Chopsuey.

In "Lolo Bye", the vocalist sings as if he is talking to someone and telling him/her to go to sleep.

("Malambot ang kama/ kukumutan na kita. Ipikit ang 'yong mata/ at wag mag-alala".
The bed is soft/ I will cover you with your blanket. Close your eyes/ and don't worry.)

The entire lyrics makes this a very sweet song, it is basically a lullabye. But it is only sweet if you are singing it to your child, or your girlfriend or wife. In another stroke of non-sequitur genius, they entitled it "Lolo Bye"; a play on Lullabye and Grandfather Goodbye. Suddenly the lyrics becomes very sad and melancholic. It is now almost a requiem. A farewell song. He is telling his grandfather to let go, to rest and sleep. By choosing the title, the song completely reverses its mood.

The mastery for creating amazing non-sequitur compositions culminate in the album's last song, "Pangarap Lang Kita", a reprise of PNE's collaboration with Happee Sy. But in this rendition, Vinci sings Happee Sy's part of the song. Which brings a very surprising twist and gives a different albeit deeper meaning to the song entirely. This version is more rock-sounding, with a helping of electric guitars and splash of drums added. Chito's part remains the same. But it is when Vinci sings when you just get awed by the bands' unique talent for composition. Vinci sings in a very deep voice that might just bring down Barry White or the Righteous Brothers. Yet he sings the lyrics specifically made for a woman with a very serious tone. Which makes a lot of implications. You can't not listen without seeing him as a gay, macho man singing for his secret love. You will feel uneasy or feel pity for this guy or perhaps afraid. The last part sees Vinci speaking Spanish words like a radio DJ or a DOM lover. I don't know what it means but it sure sound good.

All these songs are amazing compositions. All deserving a comprehensive and deep analysis before one can truly understand the real meaning behind the lyrics. Now add a sprinkling of their signature fillers, with the same level of non-sequitur words and sounds and you'll get a work of non-sequitur art that you can post on your non-sequitur museum.

Meaningless lyrics that could only attain their meaning from the interpretation of those who would listen, like Buddhist quotes. Lyrically nonsensical but structurally profound like Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Parokya ni Edgar at their finest. I like oranges.

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