Going through a specific feeling? There’s a P-pop song for that
One moment, your friends are religiously memorizing the lyrics of (and even dancing to) “Pag-Ibig Fortune Cookie” by Filipino idol group MNL48. The next, they’re shedding a copious amount of tears as SB19’s “MAPA” plays on the radio without prior warning. Well, that’s exactly the magic of P-pop—especially at its current rise.
There’s nothing more high key relatable than the discography of P-pop acts. With themes tackling growth, struggles, self-identity, freedom, heartbreak, friendship, family, and more, these artists serve a distinctly Filipino lens on topics we’d often shrug off or sweep under the rug. Their songs can go from explosive to vulnerable, from body-moving to cathartic.
Dipping your toes into this lair can get a bit overwhelming, though. There’s a huge list of acts and groups to explore, and an even bigger roster of tracks that deserve your time. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve listed songs that can possibly match your (hyper)specific mood.
(Note: This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of all P-pop groups and songs worth checking out.)
If you’re at the first stage of infatuation: “Lagi” by BINI
In romantic movies, the side character who stereotypically has “more wisdom” than the two main leads would usually say something like, “Love is not complicated. Only life makes it so.” The imagery BINI paints in bubblegum pop track “Lagi” is something I could associate with that no-fuss stage of romance.
In this 2022 track, the eight-member girl group composed of Aiah, Colet, Maloi, Gwen, Stacey, Mikha, Jhoanna, and Sheena will take you to a dreamy and giddy headspace, perfectly capturing the imagination you create when there’s a new person that’s overstaying in your head.
Feeling ashamed for making up scenarios? Feeling shy to admit that their name crosses your mind while doing daily mundane things (that have no relation to them at all)? “Lagi” lets us embrace that strange feeling and further reminds us to make the most of it—at least until things get much more complex.
If you’re moving past your people pleaser tendencies: “Boomerang” by G22
In this house, we’re unlearning behaviors that no longer serve us well—and one of them is people-pleasing. Look, it’s definitely a challenge not to succumb to taking care of others’ needs before your own, forcefully align with them, and say “sorry” multiple times. But if self-respect is the goal, four-member outfit G22—composed of Alfea, Bianca, Jaz, and AJ—can give you that nudge.
In “Boomerang,” the girls fearlessly tell you that if someone (or something) is on the verge of leaving, just confidently let them be. This wake-up call even offers a danceable rhythm, perfect for letting you feel the freedom that comes with removing unwanted burdens.
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Though its narrative assumes that the person who isn’t good for you might find their way back to you, just remember that you’re not obligated to accept them again. In the words of G22, “You wanna leave? Kbye.”
If you’re pushing yourself towards the acceptance stage: “Sa Panaginip Na Lang” by Alamat
Who needs an emotional support item when Taneo, Mo, Jao, Tomas, R-Ji, and Alas of Alamat can offer that warmth and “we perfectly understand you” atmosphere?
“Sa Panaginip Na Lang” is for the folks who’ve exhausted all means to get what they wish for, only to find themselves missing their shot. In the story, the person imagines an alternate universe where they’re able to pursue the one they love and provide everything they need. Although it’s written in that specific romantic context, this song can be for anyone who’s crawling their way toward any form of acceptance stage.
With this track’s heartfelt vocals and morose soundscape, it can help you sit down and have a little hope for the future, without neglecting your need to process those heavy emotions.
If you feel like you can only count on yourself: “5678” by KAIA
Life has the tendency to throw us curveballs. To rub salt to the wound, we catch them at the most inconvenient time (a.k.a. when we’re feeling alone and lost).
Navigating unfamiliar things on your own is a whole different monster. While moments like these remain inevitable, at least you can turn to KAIA for help. In the five-member girl group’s discography lies “5678,” a song that can pump you up during uncertain times. Its title plays like a cue for when you should be ready and face whatever’s thrown at you, especially if you really can’t depend on anyone else but yourself. Just remember: “Hingang malalim (take a deep breath)” first before bringing your A-game.
P.S. Charice, Angela, Alexa, Sophia, and Charlotte’s ‘fits in the music video? The dream school wardrobe.
If you just need more energy: “Turn Up” by 1st.One
Contrary to what some cheesy teen shows suggest, getting up from bed can actually be more daunting than the tasks that would follow thereafter. How do you put yourself in the zone? How can you truly prepare yourself for all the unpredictable things that will happen throughout the day? It’s tempting to press “snooze” for the seventh time.
Well, if the going gets tough, maybe that’s the time we can take notes from those cheesy shows. According to them, sometimes you can just break into dance.
To get you moving, 1st.one’s “Turn Up” can serve that boost (literally—the first lyrics say, “Come on everybody, put your hands up”). In the song, Ace, Max, Alpha, J, Joker, and Jayson highlight how unexpected daily events can be, but the most rewarding thing you can do is show up. It sometimes can be a tall order, but it’s nonetheless possible, don’t you think?