Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Country music in Cubao

One thing I notice about jeepneys that travel the Cubao-Rosario route is that all of them have custom-built sound systems with stereos that could make the normal street noise mute by overpowering. You could feel the music shaking the whole metal box of a vehicle; it makes it hard to tell whether your heartbeat is getting louder or it's just the drum beats, uh, beating.

Usually, the jeepneys are tuned in to Love Radio 90.7, which is ideally not the station to listen to FULL BLAST! if you should listen to it at all. There are those annoying dance mixes made with children's play songs, movie quips, DJ quips and beauty contest blunders. (Yes, they play those over the radio too.)

Anyway, because of these jeepneys, you can guess how much noisier traveling along Aurora Boulevard could be in the Cubao area. It's a my-radio-is-louder road war--no driver even cares about how slow the traffic gets. This is another way of saying you're not only compelled to sit through Saging Lang Ang May Puso (Only Bananas Have a Heart), you're also left with no choice but to listen to the whole dance mix word for word.

In this way, I must say I was luckier yesterday when I caught a jeepney that wasn't tuned in to Love, even if it was playing country music. I have nothing against country music; all I thought was how odd it was to hear country in the middle of comedy-dance-music-playing Cubao. Because of the obligatory amplified to the mega-decibel music, I heard every word of every country song (and I think they were all from a Kenny Rogers CD). This is the first time I heard the song The Last Ten Years (Superman), which I think is a song dedicated to Christopher Reeve:

The Last Ten Years (Superman)

Oh, the last ten years, it's been quite trip
Over thirty-six-hundred spins around without a cosmic slip
But within the realm of our atmosphere
We're 'bout as out of whack as we've ever been in a million years
We watched the Y2K scare in a panic
An' we watched as time proved Nostrodamus wrong
An' we watched as Mother Nature shook the planet
An' cellular replaced the telephone
We lost Charlie Brown, Ray Charles an' Johnny Cash
We even lost Superman, mhm.

Well, the last ten years, look at the hills we've climbed
The best golfer's black, the best rapper's white an' it's about damn time
But we best beware, there's a brand new fight, you see
An' I hate to say we might be our own worst enemy
We watched Oklahoma sifting through the damage
An' we watched a US President get caught
We watched shareholders watch their savings vanish
We all cried when we watched those towers fall
We lost Minnie Pearl, Ron Reagan and Sam Ahan
We even lost Superman, mhm.

Expensive gas an' free downloads
The dot-com boom, an' reality shows
What's gonna happen next is anybody's guess
Satellite radio and hybrid cars
Hand-held computers an' a trip to Mars
It's all become a part of who we are
In the last ten years.

In the last ten years
We lost George Harrison, John Paul and June Carter-Cash
Hell, we even lost Superman
Gonna miss you. Chris...

It's not a bad song--it's full of heart. It's very American, with references to what has been loved and idolized in the years past. But the message of the song is universal. By showing what has happened, the song (indirectly) tells the listener that though "What's gonna happen next is anybody's guess," ultimately, we decide what we become.

Ang di tumingin sa pinanggalingan
Di makararating sa paroroonan.
-Filipino proverb


sunnyday said...

Wonderful post, Nicole. Started out making me chuckle and laugh out loud (all that mega-decibel volume and love radio is all too familiar!), then I ended up being pensive, and I'm now thinking about those things mentioned in the song... all those changes that happened. You know, I contemplated writing Christopher Reeve a letter when I heard about riding accident he had. Didn't do it though but I really wanted to offer him some consolation by letting him know that no matter what happened to him, he was still Superman for me and that he continued to be my hero. Who knows if reading that would have ended up depressing him more...but anyway, that's what I was planning to write him =)

petrufied said...

Thanks! Christopher Reeve is COOL, it's just too bad I only really saw his Superman when I was already in college, for my comics writing class, which was about 4 years ago.

I don't think it would have depressed him to read your letter. I bet a lot of fans wrote to him back then. :)

PS. He used to fly a hanglider! That's how he "flew" so well.