4 Guilty Aural Pleasures

Let’s see. I like electronic music, right? That much is obvious. I eat the stuff up and regurgitate it onto tracks. I buy a lot of music (in the sale bins), download a lot of music (from online net labels), and yet it’s not the only stuff I’m open to. I do have a few musical choices which would probably send you climbing the walls in fear or laughter. But I’m listing it here because well, I really don’t give a pig’s ass what you think. I like the stuff here for various reasons, none of which you may have a say in. (But it’s nice to spy what’s in other people’s guilty pleasure list, right?)


1. Olivia Newton-John
I had a crush on her as a schoolboy. That short 80s haircut, the plaintive voice. The cheesy songs which just so happened to be so memorable I can still sing some of them correctly up to now. And my memory sucks. Ask my wife.

So can you imagine my utter joy in recently finding a DVD of one of her old 1986 concerts? I went home and cranked the DVD up while playing such classics as “Suddenly” and “Xanadu.”


Coincidentally, a month ago I found a sale CD (P150) entitled Magic, The Album by The Olivia Project. The track titles immediately caught my fancy: “Physical (high cholesterol mix)”, “Xanadu (definitive mix)”, “Magic(funky weaponry mix).” How COULD I, a true ONJ fan, resist such an offering? Turns out it’s a 1998 album produced by Pride Music of Australia, which remade old ONJ hits into cheesy trance tracks and actually funky bigbeat tunes. While this would scare away most any true electronic music lover, listening to the album actually makes me smile. ONJ rocks! Hehehe.

2. Kylie Minogue
Let’s face it, she’s sexy. And her music is catchy, funky, danceable. She is THE glam disco queen in this age of grungy crap throwaway music. At the very least she makes danceable throwaway music. Seriously though, listen to her best tracks as a producer and you will discover unbelievable tricks they use to pump up the grooves. Sigh. Genius grooves with mass appeal.


And have you seen her concert DVDs? She draws in crowds from 5-year-olds to 55-year-olds! Maybe if Pops Fernandez forsook ballads and took up serious house music, she might just bring dance music to the local map. Instead, all we have now are the Viva HotBabes singing “Bulaklak” over a 135 BPM cheesy house beat, further convincing people that what the radio stations deem electronic dance music is actually nothig more than novelty music (see “Barbie Girl”, “Otso-Otso” and the latest noontime dance contest tune).

3.Patti Page
Remember Groove Armada’s massive downtempo hit “At The River”? The vocal sample there was taken from Patti Page’s “Old Cape Cod”. The minute I recognized the sample from my years of listening to Patti Page albums, I was hoping someone would dare to make a Page remix album like they did for Shirley Bassey. No go. Still waiting.


The truth is: a lot of Page’s songs were the songs of my grandmother, the songs my mother-in-law used to sing. And a lot of it is cheesy country fried crap. But the gems, ah the gems. The heartache of her lost love anthems, the funky 40s-style perfect trio harmonies, the plaintive singing, the simple arrangements. They don’t make songs like these anymore. Page will always be in my listening list though few other people my age know OF her aside from “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” which was pure, utter crap. If you get a chance fire up the P2P filesharing program and look for “Cross Over The Bridge”, “Mockingbird Hill”, and “Old Cape Cod.” You will not be sorry.

4. Ruben Tagalog
You wanna talk about world music? About ancient, dying music from our own shores? Then let’s talk about the kundiman. Only AM radio stations play kundimans, and even then it’s usually in the very early morning. No one serenades damsels underneath balconies anymore using guitar and violin. Therefore Ruben Tagalog’s recordings (which are now, what, 30 years old?) of these Spanish-style serenades are recordings of a dying part of our culture.


Forget all that acoustic, unplugged nonsense which every local bar riding the bandwagon is offering. You want the real thing, sing a kundiman. Or find Tagalog’s albums which are still available at the OPM section of local record stores here in the Philippines.


0 thoughts on “4 Guilty Aural Pleasures

  1. Bonjour,

    I recently discovered the music of Ruben Tagalog – it took me quite some time to put a name on this beautiful song I accidentally heard two years ago – and would like to know if you have any other filipino singers to recommend me in the same Kundiman vein.
    I also got hold of a Diomedes Maturan CD but I guess it was too ‘recent’ for me : I found the arrangements not to be of the same quality (I put it mildly) as those of the Ruben of old. Do you have any Diomedes’ recording to recommend me?

    Merci d’avance (and sorry for the trouble),



  2. Hello there! Like you, I always loved Patti Page ever since I first heard her songs approximately 45 years ago, Down The Trail of Achin’ Hearts, Croce D’Oro, Say Wonderful Things To Me, Changing Partners, With My Eyes Wide Open, I Need You, Detour, just to name a few. I used to enjoy watching people waltzing along while her record, My Promise, is being played. If my memory serves me right, the song goes:

    Forever my darling I love only you
    And I will be faithful too
    Today and for always my whole life through
    That is my promise, my promise to you
    You are my happiness and you are my joy
    All that is heavenly I found in one man
    Oh, my darling, my darling
    I’ll always be true
    That is my promise, my promise to you

    I have been searching a CD copy of this rare song, unfortunately, it seems unavailable. Can you please help.

    Much obliged.


  3. I have the same opinion too about Olivia Newton John songs and especially with Kylie Minogue’s works (have you listened to her new album? the 2Hearts single is really catchy). And I thought I was too sentimental of a fool to like ONJ songs. :p


  4. I don’t know to much about those other three artists you mentioned, but Kylie Minogue is amazing. Just like you said, she’s extremely sexy and her music is cool too.

    Her last album named “X” was one of her best. And like the previous poster said, her 2Hearts single is one of my favorite sings. and this say’s alot about her music because i usually only listen to jazz and classical music.


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