Life Sounds: A playlist exclusively made by your favorite musicians

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Diego Mapa and BP Valenzuela are the first two artists to create playlists for Life Sounds. Photos courtesy of DIEGO MAPA/BRENDAN GOCO and JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — It’s tough out there. So much new music gets released every day and you’re noticing that it’s the same songs over and over that populates your Spotify “On Repeat” and “Repeat Rewind” playlists. But worry not! CNN Philippines Life is here to the rescue.

We’ve asked some of your favorite musicians to select a few of their favorite songs and current obsessions — from pop, K-pop, to indie rock — and put them in a playlist. Because there’s nothing like a bunch of songs carefully picked by an actual human who knows that they want and love in a song than a generator run by an algorithm. The new playlist will be uploaded every Friday on the CNN Philippines Life homepage.

The first edition of Life Sounds is by BP Valenzuela (listen below if you missed it), who’s launching her album “half-lit” this Friday. The inaugural playlist has a pop theme, perfectly suited for a musician who has been inspired by pop music all throughout her life. She says, “I'm inspired by a lot of the pop I listened to growing up, which was sappy 2000s pop rock, which was kind of informed by the ‘90s emo and grunge alt-rock rise — but these songs in the playlist are a mix of indie rock, pop, house, R&B, but all very pop in a sense of being sticky in the way that I personally like.”

Pop music though is a very broad category and Valenzuela’s selections are from various subgenres — from dream pop, indie pop to bubblegum pop. The range gets you a gem like Caroline Polachek’s “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” or the swaying gaze of something like “Saw You in a Dream” in the mix with an ubiquitous banger like Normani’s “Motivation.”

She says of her selection, “I like choruses that stick with me visually, like in ‘Dreams Tonite’ or ‘Saw You in a Dream,’ which obviously was anchored on the dream pop haze-like production and arrangement, but also ‘Motivation’ or ‘Cherry’ which are pure pop songs with a 2000s production feel with a modern twist — not just in the production per se, but the way the chorus is written — nothing is out of place, there's a sense of resolution, which is what I feel pop gives, no matter what emotion it's trying to evoke.”

This week’s playlist is by Diego Mapa of Pedicab, Tarsius, The Diegos, and Cambio (which had a special reunion in this year’s All of the Noise). His playlist is a mine of old and new tracks, all under the rock music umbrella.

“Rock could be funk, or anything with guitars,” he says. “Rock also doesn’t have to contain guitars. Hip-hop or electronic music is also kinda like rock. The roots of rock is also the blues. So, I infused those thoughts with what I’m currently listening to now. The rock that I’m listening to now is very different from my taste before. Now it’s close to world music, rare groove, Brazilian, psychedelic folk, soul, etc.”

Mapa’s selection is an interesting mix with picks you wouldn’t think you’d find in a rock playlist but are essential reminders of rock’s breadth nonetheless. From eccentric soul-funk numbers to slow jams perfect to go with a couple of beers, Mapa’s selection is for anyone who wants a good time accompanied by good music.

As for his favorites in the playlist, he says, “I love everything! Check out the new Quantic and Caribou. Brazilian funk artist Di Melo has an awesome earlier catalogue, but this track I put here is from his more current stuff. The Scorpios sounds like a rare groove track but it’s fairly new. The band Sault also is one of my favorite releases this year.”

In terms of how these songs reflect his personality, he shares, “I guess it says that I appreciate all worlds and these influence the ideas I put into my music projects.”


Life Sounds is presented by San Miguel Lifestyle Brews. Check the CNN Philippines Life homepage every week for the featured playlist of the week.