An unfiltered view of how SB19’s song ‘What?’ is setting the standard for P-pop boybands and globalization everywhere. SAKALAM talaga.

Boybands aren’t a new concept for Filipinos. Even when they had yet to get the ‘boyband’ label, the Philippines had them everywhere.

Considering the essence comprising a boyband, which is a band of pop musicians with male-born members, Apo Hiking Society, Hagibis, Hotdog are the groups that come to mind breaking into the pop scene with the kind of meaningful music that sustained their fame to this day as well as it had shot them to it back then.

Their songs and performances required as much vigor to perform as it had for them to write their soulful prose into lyrics of songs that just throw you into the “LSS” state. It wasn’t so much a formula as it was a quality and passion they had to have immense amounts of grit to their teeth and grind their way through the rigorous terrain of popular music in the Philippines no less.

And it is this quality and passion that was lacking in new “boybands” formed in the Philippines who unfortunately have failed in their intentions to break through the harsh surface of this industry.

That was until SB19 showed us exactly how they did it in “What?”.

SB19 and their Game Changer Track: What?

1.They’re P-pop NOT K-pop. Let’s just set that record straight first and foremost. People shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss SB19 as a manufactured K-pop band just because they operate under a South Korean label.

The overall message of the song and imagery which reflects the Philippine society and even going so far as to sprinkle undertones of hard-hitting struggles as a Filipino going global should be more than enough to convince even the narrowest of minds of their deep-seated intentions to put Filipino culture at the forefront of everything.

The members and the management have been very clear in their actions, their messaging, their songs for-christ-sake that they uphold the Filipino culture to the highest degree and will still be at every global stage they set foot on.

2.Yes. “What?” is going to take SB19 global. This much is obvious, from the masterful mixing comparable to the K-pop songs they took inspiration from, to the well-planned concepts that were executed all too well!

They also found a way to showcase the talent of each member so insanely well that none of them outshine the others– they’re all so equally talented in all aspects it’s very insane. As they make their way to the global stage, best believe they’re taking their Filipino heritage with them and haters could hate, but the fact of the matter is, you probably shouldn’t because they’re doing us some good.

3.While the editing and visual effects could go for another run-through, it still set the bar WAY too high for the quality of our pop music videos. Just like the dynamic flow of the song which seems to paint a cinematic story, the music video and every concept that went into its creation oozed with a powerful narrative that supplemented the track is so sinfully good, they give everyone goosebumps.

Admittedly, no one expected this caliber of work from 21st century Filipino boy bands who everyone expects to be “cringeworthy” and from that low bar alone, SB19 absolutely takes the grand prize.

This doesn’t have to mean that all other Pinoy boy band music videos that came before were left in the dust, we must take this to mean that there’s this level to which we can elevate our craft and so elevate it we all shall.

4.It’s true that SB19 talks about the challenges they had to face to get where they were for the most part of the song “What?” but they have my utmost respect for injecting a few drops of political juice into a song that would’ve done equally well without it.

Although it might just be me looking into the song through my political lens, I don’t really mind as long as I can revel in the fact that a supposedly “shallow” bunch of pop singers talked about the upper echelon of society having a skewed view of the struggles of life from down below. So there’s no point in convincing me otherwise.

5.“What?” is SB19 putting their own spin on “I Got a Boy” by Girls’ Generation. This might get me in trouble with a lot of K-pop veterans out there but here me out. I Got a Boy by Girls’ Generation was a landmark song at the time of its release.


I’m no musical expert by any means but as an enthusiast, in I Got A Boy, I can point out at least 4 different genres and beat changes– this was a bold move for a pop song at that time. And while many critics listed that as a messy way to mix a song, all of them still agreed that I Got a Boy was a turning point in Kpop music production.

Now listening to What?, one might also get the feeling that it’s messily laid out but you can still agree that it works and is probably one of the main reasons why this song feels like a hallmark song not only for SB19’s music mastery but for all kinds of music produced in the name of P-pop as well.

Disagree with me all you want about SB19’s important role in leading this pivotal moment in the globalization of Filipino music but you can’t deny them their hard work, blood, sweat, and tears they shed to get to where they are today. Although the SB19 boys have been clear in their stance toward ignoring haters, I think Pablo, Stell, Ken, Justin, and Josh don’t deserve it.

Just as SB19 so clearly depicted pushing through adversary to rise above and lead the crowd with their own flags still at their stake proudly billowing, so do I wish the same for the fate of our P-pop industry as we hope to look up at our Philippine flag waving proudly from the global stages we will soon make our mark on.

Recommended: Who’s Jojo? Ken with 11 fingers? Watch SB19 as they get hypnotized in new video

How did this song make you feel? Tell us in the comments below!

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