25 Beautiful Rhetorical Questions in OPM

WHENEVER I feel like babbling about my favorite songs, I usually just write a Shuffle the Music post. This time I’m doing a different shtick: I am sharing some of the most beautiful rhetorical questions in English that I found on OPM lyrics.

For the uninitiated, a rhetorical question is a figure of speech that poses a question but does not demand an answer. “What’s in a name?” asks Juliet in Romeo & Juliet. “Could I be wearing any more clothes?” asks Chandler in Friends. Both characters ask a question not necessarily to get an answer but instead to make a point.

When I started writing this post, I hypothesized that some of the best OPM lyrics ever written are in the form of a question. I was right, although of course I didn’t actually use any quantitative method to rank every OPM song. So, in gist, the songs on this list are just some of my favorite questions in OPM. Feel free to recommend your own favorite questions in music — I am always open to discovering new bops, be it in English or Tagalog or otherwise.

01


? (Who Do You Think Of)

“? (Who Do You Think Of)” by Any Name’s Okay is a beautiful song for pining over someone. It poses other beautiful questions like, “who do the midnight stars remind you of?” and “what goes on in your chest / that weighs down on your breath?”

02


Thinker

I didn’t know Up Dharma Down’s “Thinker” was a break-up song until I paid closer attention to the lyrics. Since then, the question “did I free your mind?” has hit me differently.

03


Talk

When I was writing this list, I debated between the lines “do you always go rogue…?” and “what’s the use in talking?” from the song “Talk” by Cheats. I decided on the former because it’s what I usually sing out loud whenever I’m alone and I feel like singing.

04


Seven Black Roses

I used to listen to Chicosci’s “Seven Black Roses” a lot when I was in high school. Listening to it now, I must say that the haters had a point: tunog-lata nga sila (haha). I still like the song though.

05


Fade Away

Sugarfree’s “Fade Away” is about the inevitability of growing old. The entire song is beautifully written with lines like, “Do you recall / when Saturday mornings were meant for fun?” and “There goes your world on a train / you better catch it cause it’s making it’s last trip.” 😦

06


Always Clueless

The line “is it a crime to be me?” from Banna Harbera’s “Always Clueless” is very maarte and highly philosophical and I very much love it. I love the entire Kept In Mind album, actually. I like all the songs and the lyrics — I like everything except the album art. Meh.

07


Fading to Black

The duo Ysanygo is relatively new on my radar and “Fading to Black” is one of the tracks that have stuck so far. The line “what can we do / to get our time back” may seem basic, but I swear the singer makes it sound so cool and sultry.

08


You’ve Made Me Stronger

Regine Velasquez’s “You’ve Made Me Stronger” is a song for those who have successfully picked themselves up after a bad break-up. I like how cheeky this opening line is. The undertone seems to be, ‘kala mo ‘di ko kayang mag-move on, ‘no? I love it.

09


Away From the Current

To be honest I don’t think I fully understand Keiko Necesario’s “Away From the Current.” I like the song and I’m sure it makes sense; maybe I just need to listen to it more until the bulb lights up or something.

10


Is This the Love that I Need?

What a time to be a band called Flu, ‘no? Their song “Is This the Love that I Need” reminds me of other similar-sounding songs, the titles of which escape me at the moment. This is a good song though. Good question, too.

11


Breakfast

If you’re into alt-pop, I bet you’d also like the band Sepia Times. “Breakfast” is a good starter song. The lyrics may be read as one lengthy existential musing, or it can also just be a simple song about eating breakfast. Good stuff.

12


All the Way

Hannah Pangilinan and Rico Blano collaborated on the track “All the Way” and, boy, ang ganda? There are no guitars, ‘no? And it’s mostly synths, too, isn’t it? Am I missing out on other Blanco gems like this? Ganda!

13


Next in Line

I will always remember After Image’s “Next in Line” — or the Stagecrew cover of it — as the theme song of the movie Jologs. I also still ask myself this “what has life to offer me” question even though I am already technically “old.”

14


backspace me

Half-lit is BP Valenzuela’s side project and the song “backspace me” is like a slightly lo-fi BP song. It has BP’s signature lovelorn lyrics, which, for some reason, strongly resonate with me.

15


Same Ground

Kitchie Nadal’s “Same Ground” was one of the hits in the 2000s that I sang along to even though I had never experienced anything close to what Ate Kitchie was singing about. I was what, 11? Haha.

16


Lovers Go, Lovers Come

Orange & Lemons’ music really stands out, ‘no? Even when they sing about intense emotional longing, they never sound too angry or too dramatic, and they aren’t too chummy either. “Lovers Go, Lovers Come” is just one of their many dreamy, feel-good songs.

17


Due Dates

I really wish Ciudad was more popular. Fangirling is just more fun when you have other people to fangirl with, you know? Anyhow, “Due Dates” isn’t my favorite Ciudad song but it’s definitely one of the catchy ones. ♩Storm is comiiing!

18


Will You Ever Learn

Typecast’s “Will You Ever Learn” is peak emo. The band’s sound was solid and cohesive even back in the day, and I also like how they stood up against domestic abuse and kicked their drummer out. Respect!

19


Spinal Crack

This “knock-knock” line from “Spinal Crack” by Ourselves the Elves makes more sense if you listen to the entire song. The song sounds upbeat and quirky even if it actually speaks of violent themes. (Think I’m Thinking of Ending Things, huhu.)

20


New Romancer

Is there a published, definitive meaning of the song “New Romancer” by Sandwich? Is it about Raimund and Myrene? Choz. Anyway, whatever. It’s a good song — my favorite from the Fat Salt album — and that’s all I care about, really.

21


Jealous

Nina’s “Jealous” held the number one spot on Myx Daily Top 10 for many weeks straight, and her succeeding singles like “Foolish Heart” and “Loving You” also made it to the top. Say what you will, man, but Nina ran so all other acoustic singers of the aughts could walk. Haha.

22


Daisy Chain

Urban Dictionary defines “daisy chaining” as something related to oral sex, but I don’t think Cynthia Alexander sings about sex in her song “Daisy Chain”…or does she? Hmm. Personally this song just reminds me of hippies with daisy chains on their heads, that’s it.

23


Friend of Mine

Odette Quesada’s “Friend of Mine” is a classic song about unrequited love. The line “is this all we ever could be” is terse and powerful and it makes me feel sad — but then again, I’m glad. Wuw, hahaha.

24


Trip TO Jerusalem

I can only think of two good questions raised by an Eraserheads song in English: this line from “Trip to Jerusalem,” and another line from “Lightyears.” “Butterscotch” also has the “teacher, teacher” question, but I won’t consider that beautiful. Did I miss anything big?

25


Neon Dreams

Can anyone please point me to where I can find the complete lyrics of Taken by Cars’ “Neon Dreams”? This song has been one of my favorite songs in recent years and I want to be able to sing along to it in full.

Notes

I. The ranking of the songs on the list is completely arbitrary. I just dragged the images at random and did not put any thought into which song must match with what number. The ranking does not matter at all.

II. Is it still accurate to use the term OPM? I ask because I understand how loaded the words “original” and “Pilipino” can be. What does it mean to be original anyway? The song “Jealous” was originally released by Nina, but it was written by foreigner-composers — is it still considered originally Pinoy? And what about the fact that when we say OPM, we pretty much refer to music from just within Metro Manila? Hmm.

III. I have no conclusive answers to the questions above. While some Internet edgelords insist that we shouldn’t raise critical points unless we have immediate answers or solutions — a notion that, while valid, can be embarrassingly ignorant and entitled — I value the act of interrogation, of questioning even seemingly inconsequential matters such as pop culture. Asking questions can lead to meaningful discussions, and it can help us develop a more informed understanding of our world. You’re free to believe otherwise, of course, but I see nothing wrong with posing questions that do not have easy answers. In some cases, if not most, the meat of the matter is in the question itself.

IV. I deliberately listed lyrics in English because I have a separate list of Tagalog (Filipino?) rhetorical questions. If I could speak Bisaya, I would make one for Vispop too.

V. I made all the images using resources from Canva. If anything stands out as chararat (e.g. poor choice of font, irrelevant photo), that’s all on me. Do note, Cassie, that I am not a graphic designer. Hehehe.

21 Comments

  1. pinaymama@sg

    Re: Eheads, does “Good Lord, why have you forsaken me / When everything I did I thought was right” from Poorman’s Grave count? Rhetorical though. Ganda ng list ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. DJ Ramones

    1. Random ba talaga ‘yung pictures? The one for Talk looks like it came from the MV haha. (Love that MV!)

    2. Sino nga ba’ng may pakana ng album art ng Kept in Mind? Awayin natin! Joke lang. Hindi niya mababasa ‘to, pero just in case—maybe you tried their best, but sorry, your best wasn’t good enough.

    3. BP Valenzuela’s “More than circumstance, is it just loneliness?” really stuck with me. Though thinking about it now, hindi pala siya rhetorical question—more like a really sharp question, with potentially earth-shattering answers. Anyway, I can’t think of any other heavy question-lyric by BP right now, but BP feels like the kind of songwriter who asks a lot of questions in her songs haha.

    4. Balitaan mo ako please kapag may nahukay ka about New Romancer! I need to know too hahaha.

    5. I’m reaching out to TbC’s socmed about the Neon Dreams lyrics, balitaan kita ‘pag may sumagot hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jolens

      1. Random ‘yung pagkaka-sunod-sunod! Haha. Pinag-isipan ko naman ‘yung images na ginamit ko per song, hehehe. 🙂

      2. Wawa naman kung aawayin natin, ‘di siya mananalo, char! Hahaha. Joke lang joke lang. Kung sino ka mang nagdrowing n’un, peace tayo! 😀

      3. Ayy oo nga! Ang ganda rin n’yan! Feeling ko counted pa rin as rhetorical? Nasa kanta e, hahahaha.

      4. Feeling ko never natin talaga malalaman for sure. Haha.

      5. Wasak, balitaan mo talaga ako please! Timothee Shelemet! 😀 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Jolens

          Sabi na nga ba may chika ka rito e! Hahaha. Sa’n mo nalaman na tungkol sa kanila ‘to? ‘Di ba ang tagal na nila break? Like feeling ko ‘di pa ako buhay sila na, tapos n’ung nagka-utak ako may Atari na?

          (Parang ang chaka pala pagchismisan ‘yung mga banda na parang artista ‘no? I feel low-key bad hehehuhu.)

          Liked by 1 person

          1. rAdishhorse

            Joke lang yun hahaha. Para hindi mukhang ‘chismis/chika’, let’s put it this way (naks):

            May mga songs naman na obvious na patungkol sa mga pinagdadaanan/pinagdaanan nung artists. IIRC, may ganun din si Sarah G. Obvious yung theme ng break-up sa ilang songs sa Natin99. Ganun din sa Being Green ng Rivermaya, which I think had to do with Bamboo leaving the group.

            Parang may nabasa ako dati na may mga songs ng Fleetwood Mac (sila kumanta nung The Chain sa GotG Vol.2 at original (yata) ng Landslide na nicover ng Smashing Pumpkins (na lumabas sa B-side compilation nila na Pisces Iscariot)) na tungkol talaga sa relationships between sa members ng grupo. Di ako sure pero mga mag jowa yata yung mga members ng band.

            Kung iisipin mo parang awkward na gumawa ng kanta na tungkol mismo sa inyo (if magkasama kayo sa banda) pero posible din naman na OK lang. Na parang, they’re in good terms naman, nakamove on na, so why not write a song about ‘breaking up’ tho not necessarily ‘our breakup.’ Tapos, tama ba sa video nung song nagbabasag sila ng mga bagay-bagay?

            Posible din na si Myrene nagsulat nung kanta (or at least nung melody)–pero pwede din si Mong, o si Diego–tingin ko hindi sya galing kay Raims, kasi kung yung mga songs ni Raims, alam mo may something na common sa mga melodies nila eh. Itong New Romancer, iba sya in terms of melody dun sa ibang kanta nila na obviously sinulat ni Raims.

            2. Regular na pala sa playlist ko yung “Always Clueless.” Di ko trip yung ibang songs. Parang Ok lang naman sakin yung art. Hahaha (Sya yung tipong: Guys, gumawa na pala ako ng album cover natin. Okay ba? / The rest of the band: ok na yan!) At least hindi kasing pangit nung sa December Avenue. Pero mas maganda pa yung ibang collage mo as album cover. Sobrang favorite ko yung album cover ng The Bones We Used to Share ng Brick City. Kaya ko natanong pano gumawa ng collage. Hehehe

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Jolens

            1. Ay true, oo nga, I think common nga naman na magsulat tungkol sa isa’t isa ang mga musikero. Sure ako na ‘yung ‘Dreams’ ng Fleetwood Mac ay isinulat ni Stevie n’ung time na kabi-break lang nila n’ung isa pang member (Leslie? Lindsey?). Tapos si Gwen Stefani rin, maraming kanta for No Doubt na tungkol din sa kanila n’ung isa pang band member na ex nya rin. Okay okay, I don’t feel as bad na for making chika about New Romancer, haha.

            2. ‘Di mo trip ibang songs sa Kept in Mind? What??? Hahaha. Ded na ded ako sa album na ‘yan lalo na last year. Pero yay, at least nagustuhan mo Always Clueless! Woohoo!

            3. Funny ‘yung hula-hulang anecdote re: album art. Baka nga gan’on ‘yung nangyari. Hahaha.

            4. Ang chaka nga n’ung sa December Avenue! Parang sa Canva rin ginawa, hahaha. At cool nga ‘tong sa The Bones We Used to Share, although parang hindi naman collage? Ito ‘yung babaeng may bulaklak sa bunganga, right? Parang kinagat talaga ni ate ‘yung bouquet charot hahahha.

            Liked by 2 people

          3. rAdishhorse

            1. Yung Don’t Speak ay tungkol talaga sa break up nila, tama ba?

            2. Pinakinggan ko lng ata once/twice. Yung Always lng nagclick agad kaya ayun. Gusto ko rin yung I Still Dig You.

            4. Oo. yung may bukey sa bunganga, hahaha. Mas effort sila kung kinagat nga lang ni ate gurl at piniktyuran. Maganda kung may alternate version nung cover tapos BTS or ibang angle naman, hahaha

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Leah Ranada

    Bakit parang ang dami kong di alam? (Rhetorical, hehe, disregard mo. 🤣)
    Some songs (Lovers Go, Lovers Come, Friend of Mine) remind me of those giddy days, when I was more hopeful but less smart. Hay. But I agree about questions being the meat of the matter because there’s always something unknowable.

    Liked by 1 person

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