There was a point in the not-so-distant past when people would declare, “OPM is dead.”
While it’s a pretty big statement with a lot to unpack, one major takeaway from it is the sense of frustration and insecurity that comes along when your music enthusiast friend says it. International acts were dominating local charts. Our local mainstream music was a mess. You’d have to actively explore the internet to find original Filipino songs worth listening to.
But that was before Spotify and other streaming platforms came. That was when artists did not have any easily accessible platforms other than TV and radio– which mostly favored already established acts that guaranteed financial gain (even though their music didn’t age very well), or if you had the looks.
Today, OPM has never been closer to its glory days. In the last few years, we’ve enjoyed an influx of OPM songs that are legitimately good and can even compete on the international level. The likes of Ben&Ben, IV of Spades, and Moira Dela Torre bannered the renaissance, serving as beacons of hope for their fellow artists in the country. The local indie music scene has been bleeding into the mainstream, and our small, independent musicians and artists have never been presented such a wide space on the popularity podium. The best part? The Pinoy audience is taking notice.
And then, there are, of course, music labels and talent agencies continuing to ruin the momentum. Well, actually, they have been doing it for as long as we can remember, taking away the spotlight from those with real talents to give it to the charming and pretty, and they succeeded before. They filled the scene with substandard and cringe-worthy music. The quality of art has been compromised in favor of $$$.
But can they still do it now?
Ivana Alawi debuts as a ‘recording artist’.
Ivana Alawi is one of the biggest internet celebrities today. In a span of seven months, her Youtube channel earned over jaw-dropping 6.2 million subscribers. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why: she’s beautiful, charming, brave, and sassy, and with these features of her, people are lured into flocking to her channel. Mostly, it’s your kuyas and titos who have fallen into the trap.
While the official lyric video for her debut single ‘Sana All’ was released on February 21, 2020 on ABS-CBN Star Music’s Youtube page, it was only recently when it made rounds on social media. The teaser for the official music video was posted on April 14.
People reacted the same way they did when Loisa Andalio made ‘ Sasamahan’. They responded with a similar amount of cringe they typically give to Vice Ganda’s songs, or when a newly crafted marketable doll from some reality TV show launches their debut single, officially earning the label as a ‘recording artist’.
The song got ridiculed for its lack of artistic value. People pointed out the flaw in the song’s message, which seems to underestimate the value of being single. Another detail worth calling out is how the lyrics started out celebrating strong, independent women, only to contradict it in the end by expressing desperation for a capital J-O-‘DOUVLE U’-A. (Seriously? No one from Ivana’s team even bothered to correct her here?) Music-wise, ‘Sana All’ is plainly bad. It isn’t really aiming to establish Ivana as a music artist– anyone with a decent judgment can tell she wasn’t meant to do this. It’s just milking the popularity the Youtube star is enjoying today.
‘Sana All’ is just another Spaghetti Song or Totoy Bibo, except these examples became a massive hit because novelty songs were a craze back then. In this digital age, with Youtube and Spotify presenting millions of good songs to choose from, produce bland, silly music and you’ll most probably trigger people, especially Filipinos who have just gotten out of OPM’s darkest era. We’re still in the recovery phase. Don’t make us relive the trauma.
After all, Filipinos, in general, are music lovers. And so, you’d understand why ‘Sana All’ wasn’t well-received. It’s nothing more than an obvious attempt to maximize the attention they’ve been getting from Ivana’s target audience. Whether or not the marketing team behind this project got what they were looking for, we know what’s better. We know that Ivana Alawi could have done better– by staying out of music and just sticking to what she does best: produce videos, make pranks with her family, entertain people with her content.