EXCLUSIVE ONLINE PREMIERE: Ang Bandang Shirley’s new video ‘Umaapaw’

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Fresh off their forthcoming “grown-up” third album, Ang Bandang Shirley’s new single comes alive in a music video with handwritten lyrics and visuals inspired by the works of Mike De Leon and Hong Sang Soo. Directed by Shinji Manlangit and Kathy Gener, the clip stars Jes Dy (left) and Glenn Tuazon. Photo courtesy of WIDE EYED RECORDS MANILA

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Ang Bandang Shirley’s music video for their new single “Umaapaw” lays down the line of a short love story that’s as pure and simple as it gets — no overflowing throes of sex and lust or complex put-downs of exes. It’s a love song, all right, in the tradition of the band’s “Sa Madaling Salita” and “Nakauwi Na,” but expanding on it in a music video without resorting to kilig conventions can be tricky. Without meaningful close-ups, walks along the beach, or lovers walking into the shots, you can only do so much.

“I knew I wanted to make something about that feeling that you get when you meet someone new,” says the music video’s co-director Shinji Manlangit, who looked to the South Korean filmmaker Hong Sang Soo and the Filipino auteur Mike de Leon for inspiration. “Tapos parang sobrang umaapaw lang talaga lahat ng nararamdaman mo sa loob. It’s essentially what the song is about. So it’s just two people getting to know each other a little too well. But then you know that it's not going to last very long, so you just enjoy the ride na lang.”

“Umaapaw” is also a sampling of the sound of things to come in Ang Bandang Shirley’s new album. While the earnest lyrics still remain at their core, the new recordings find the band expanding their sonic horizons. “The upcoming album is again about all of us growing up not only musically but emotionally,” says Kathy Gener, the band’s manager, who also contributes vocals and co-directed the music video. “You'd feel with the new songs na even if [they have the] same sentiments about heartbreak and [the] joys of falling in love, they contain much more acceptance of how things are, whether it’s happy, sad, ending, starting, not working out, or working out. Hindi siya whiny, ang matter-of-fact ng acceptance niya.”

Ang Bandang Shirley Ang Bandang Shirley is (from left) Zig Rabara, Ean Aguila, Owel Alvero, Selena Salang, Kathy Gener, Enzo Zulueta, and Joe Fontanilla. Photo courtesy of WIDE EYED RECORDS MANILA  

The clip also doubles as a lyric video, emphasizing how integral words are in Ang Bandang Shirley’s sonic universe. “To see those big-ass words plastered all over the video not only invites you to sing along, it also allows you to connect with the words that Ean wrote,” Manlangit says, referring to the songwriter of “Umaapaw,” Ean Aguila. “That’s really Ean’s handwriting on the video, as well. Yun din naman yung point nung video eh, connecting with someone through words. Usap lang. Walang hubaran.

It may seem simplistic, but this has always been Ang Bandang Shirley’s approach to their brand of love songs. It’s been three years since they released their second album, “Tama na ang Drama,” where they showcased growth with leaner production and more intricate storytelling compared to their lo-fi debut, “Themesongs.” As a preview of things to come, “Umaapaw” boasts of the usual sweet stuff that we’ve come to love with the band: a brave proclamation of love devoid of syrupy sentiments, which is reflected in the setting of the video, shot in University of the Philippines’s Los Baños campus (UPLB), a place that holds significance in the band’s history.

Ang quiet romantic ng UPLB,” says Gener. “Yun ang gusto ko ding ipakita and ipa-feel with the video. When Shirley played at UPLB's Feb Fair for the first time, sobrang warm lang ng mga tao [sa amin]. May nagbigay ng Mer-nel's cake and a heartfelt letter! A lot of kids waited in line just to talk to us. Ibang klase! Ganun yung earnestness din na gusto ko ma-share sa video.”

Watch the video for “Umaapaw” below: