My friend Chris Cahilig is on a mission to discover the next OPM star, and he’s not very shy about it.
“The problem with a lot of Filipinos”, he says, “is that we automatically assume that OPM, or at least the type that gets the most airplay and which our poorer countrymen enjoy, are inferior compared to its foreign counterparts, which I believe isn’t true.”
“OPM is a victim of bad marketing really, and I think it’s just a matter of pushing the idea that Filipino pop has a place and a role to play in our music industry, and it is neither superior nor inferior to foreign pop acts. It should be judged based on its own merit, and on its own strength.”
I honestly don’t know how to feel about 1:43’s new single, Hayop sa Ganda, and mostly because I grew up thinking that straight guys, in general, cannot talk about gay men and transgenders without mockery and derision. But, especially in recent years, this has stopped being true (in music, Macklemore’s Same Love and Gloc-9’sSirena are particularly poignant counter-examples).
The state of Original Pinoy Music (OPM) is currently in tatters, and needs artists with a willingness to embrace both artistic experimentation and popular mainstream support. Simply put, OPM needs fresh, commercial, and original songs created by unpretentious artists who love making and performing music.
The old OPM formula–ballads with heavy themes, or covers–no longer works. The market today likes mid-tempo music suited for easy listening, with lyrics that are either full of emotional fervor, or infused with a tongue-in-cheek playfulness.
In this spirit, I am giving you my predictions for the five biggest OPM hits of 2013. Considering that we’re only halfway into the year, this list is bound to be incomplete, but these five, I think, will mark a second golden age of OPM with local artists finally taking risks by releasing solid, original songs and avoiding revivals. Note that most in my list are from emerging artists. Singing superstars, sadly, have not produced potential hits in a while despite their star power and massive following.