Ely Buendia and The Itchyworms is truly a God-given collaboration. This is unmistakably obvious based on their two songs, Pariwara and Lutang. These works of art were so good that, all the way from Chicago, I had to grab my own copy of the 7″ vinyl single. I have to say, my time, money, and effort weren’t wasted.
Photo from Offshore Music PH Facebook page
The first time I listened to this song in 2016, I couldn’t stop pressing that replay button. Even until now, a year later, I’m still unceasingly listening to it.
Pariwara is an instant classic and a song for the ages. Full of heart, optimism, faith, and love, Ely Buendia and the Itchyworms’ 4-minute-and-52-second duration of a masterpiece will never hinder it to be the song for a lifetime.
The track speaks of a protagonist who faces criticisms from society as they call him “pariwara”. The lyrics narrate:
Pariwara,’ tawag sa’tin ng madla Batang gala, tayo sa tingin nila
The artists try to tell us that these “critics” are not who we should listen to.
May mga taong galit, sa sinag ng araw At kahit mumunting saya, ay ayaw matanaw
Then the song successfully convinces us that we should not allow these criticisms to discourage us, but that we should fight them and live for something better.
Ngunit di tayo, di tayo titiklop At lahat ng hadlang sa ating pagmamahalan, balang araw ay maiintindihan Kung maniniwala ka na lang sa kanila, pare-pareho tayo na walang magagawa
These lyrics are so full of truth and meaning, especially for times such as ours where there is so much discord in society, whether in the Philippines or abroad. This song calls for people to do what’s right and to never, ever give up fighting the good fight, despite how hard it is to be called “pariwara” or “lost”.
It is also a song about finding love in a world that is so full of hatred and fear. It perfectly explains that even though we are surrounded by the enmity of people, true love will never fail to overcome all the pain and anger that dismay us. This message is emotionally supported by the Itchyworms’ musical ingenuity and Ely Buendia’s experienced prowess.
The worst part is when it hits that one final second and you realise that the song is over.
But here’s the best part. As that one final second strikes, you are left with a burning heart ignited with inspiration. You have rediscovered a strong desire to live a life worth living. You finally understand that when you are reaching for the stars, despite what the whole world says, you will be home in the arms of the ones you truly love. And that is a powerful message.
REVIEWER RATING: ??????????(10/10)
Ely Buendia and the Itchyworms deliver a well-thought-out musical experience in Pariwara that will definitely continue to inspire and ignite the hearts of listeners for generations upon generations to come.
Lutang had so much to live up to. Set off by the hype surrounding Pariwara, it had to satisfy the fans’ and critics’ expectations. Lutang is definitely a very good song, but it wasn’t as emotionally resonant as the first single, Pariwara.
I would classify this song as your typical heartbreak song. Relating the feeling of being left by someone you deeply loved to poetic imagery such as being lost in an ocean of heartbreak, Lutang is excellent and well-crafted.
Lyrical vulnerability and honesty is such an important part of successful and impactful songwriting. I believe that this song carefully described the emotions and pain behind love, loss, and acceptance, that I felt the same struggles as the song’s narrator.
Singing lines like:
Nakabalandra Nasusuya na lang ako Di maniwala Na ako’y nilimot mo Sana ay maligaya kang tunay
Who wouldn’t cry and feel for the agonized protagonist?
I also love how just one word can really define a song’s narrative. Specifically, I’m talking about how “makita” in the first chorus:
Ikaw ang nag-iisang laman ng isip ko / Mula nang makita ka ako’y litong-lito…
Changes to “iniwan” in the second chorus:
Ikaw ang nag-iisang laman ng isip ko / Mula nang iniwan mo ako’y litong-lito…
Our protagonist is really going through some hard times. And I just feel like the song was able to make us feel these “hard times” and cry along.
But, again, as I mentioned above, being a follow-up to Pariwara it fails to satisfy the hype. As Pariwara was so meaningful and relevant to modern society, Lutang is essentially just a heartbreak song.
Though it does feel like a sequel that doesn’t live up to the expectations set by the original, it still doesn’t fail to amaze me. Behind every good song are the artists’ heart and passion. And with Lutang, you can never deny that Ely, Jazz, Jugs, Kelvin, and Chino have that heart and passion. While listening to them rock out and make music, their art will always touch your soul. And that is what you call true art.
I am definitely waiting eagerly and impatiently for the next collaboration. Honestly, I hope they release a full-length album soon.
Ely Buendia and the Itchyworms return with solid, impressive, and heartfelt Lutang, but do not live up to the standards previously set by their magnum opus Pariwara.
Cover photo by Bel Certeza
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Yanan Melo is a Filipino writer, artist, musician, and producer. Hailing from Chicago, he continues to reach his audiences in the Philippines through social media and other means. He hopes to inspire others to use their gifts and talents, especially creatively, as to not put them to waste.
Melo has always been a music buff and is deeply in love with the Filipino indie music scene. This is why he chose to write for [Indie] Manila which is a community that he believes could make an impact locally and internationally through promoting the creative and artistic prowess of the Filipino.