10 Filipino celebrity pop songs you should listen to

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Filipino pop music gems are found in the unlikeliest of places — sometimes in your favorite local celebrity’s overlooked musical repertoire. Here are some of them.

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — It’s easy to dismiss celebrity pop as fluff, as mere marketing strategy to keep their names rotating in cultural clockwork. Some people ask, what gives James Reid the right to sing aside from mere popularity? Did Daniel Padilla ruin a classic ‘90s rock hit by doing his own version of it? What are “No Erase” and “Tumalon,” other than vehicles for their respective love team singers to reinforce a possibly marketing-driven image?

The role of taste may play a significant part in these questions, but taste sometimes equates to posturing, a ready-made shield for those who willingly trample on someone else’s pop cultural obsession by easily dismissing it as insignificant. When someone professes their love for One Direction, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bailona, or Yassi Pressman, it might be — to some high-minded people — a reflection of lowbrow tendencies. But what these no-fun people might be missing out is the sheer pleasure of listening to pop music for what it’s worth: a kind of three minute bliss that offers journeys into love, pain, and heartbreak.

Case in point: James Reid. He’s been putting out good pop songs since his debut album in 2013 (his cover of “Rock With You” is a predecessor to the nighttime vibes of “Palm Dreams”) so it shouldn’t be a surprise that his 2017 album is actually a good pop album. It’s been two years since “Reid Alert” was released and it remains an excellent record, a brief and concise showcase of Reid’s ability to transcend his heartthrob status to serious pop stardom.

Each song in “Reid Alert” is perfect — from the precious romance of “Hanap-Hanap” to the bittersweet release of “Babalik,” but “Randomantic” begs to be singled out for its sultry and unabashedly cheesy ways of winning over your target of affection, “dahil wala lang.

Like Reid, this generation’s current crop of celebrities has benefited from working with producers who have explored new byways for Filipino music. The duo of Thyro Alfaro and Yumi Lacsamana are responsible for game changing songs such as Sarah Geronimo’s “Ikot-Ikot” and “Kilometro” as well as Reid and Nadine Lustre’s “No Erase,” Yassi Pressman’s “Seryoso Na ‘To,” Donnalyn Bartolome’s “Kakaibabe,” Julian Trono and Ella Cruz’s “Tumalon,” as well as Reid’s “Reid Alert EP.” Alfaro and Lacsamana are probably two of Viva Music’s secret weapons, along with the host of producers that work with them.

Elsewhere, Daniel Padilla has something like “Simpleng Tulad Mo” to bolster his Pinoy pop arsenal, which includes “Nasa Iyo Na Ang Lahat.” “Simpleng Tulad Mo” is composed by Meljohn Magno, and was a finalist for the 2014 Himig Handog P-Pop. It was extensively used in the 2016 romantic comedy “Vince & Kath & James,” which soundtrack includes another pop gem: “O Pag-ibig” by Ylona Garcia and Bailey Mae.

Other artists have also stepped up their music game in the last few years, by working  with foreign artists and producers (like Julie Anne San Jose in “Not Impressed”), recalibrating approaches to the age old love song (Gimme 5’s “Hanggang Tingin na Lang” and Maja Salvador’s “Dahan-Dahan”), and even creating meme-able bops (the aforementioned “Kakaibabe”).

Here are 10 songs you might have overlooked because of your fluff allergy. Be warned, they are highly catchy and infectious.

“Randomantic” - James Reid

“Simpleng ‘Tulad Mo” - Daniel Padilla

“O, Pag-ibig” - Ylona Garcia and Bailey Mae

“No Erase” - James Reid and Nadine Lustre

“Not Impressed” - Julie Anne San Jose

“Hanggang Tingin Na Lang” - Gimme 5


“Tumalon” - Julian Trono and Ella Cruz


“Dahan-Dahan” - Maja Salvador


“Seryoso Na ‘To” - Yassi Pressman


“Kakaibabe” - Donnalyn Bartolome