Francis Bacon, Harvard, etc.

Every Sunday — and I swear every, freaking, Sunday — I tell myself that this is the day when I finally step outside the house and quote-unquote explore the city. I never do. Every Sunday, I wake up at 8, I read a book, I read articles online, I cook a dish, I scrub the toilet, I mop the floors, I lift some weights — I basically do everything except leave the house.

Something’s wrong with me, ‘no?

Something isn’t normal about my irrational disdain for human interaction, and the pandemic has done nothing but nurture my tendency to withdraw from society. Now here I am, a 21st century hermit, a virtual recluse who no longer recalls what it’s like to be surrounded by humans. What a weirdo.

Musings like these remind of the song “You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie.”

Here we are in the center of the first world
It’s laid out before us
Who are we to break down?

“You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie”, The Submarines

But who am I to break down, indeed? Everyone and their moms are struggling to put food on the table, yet here I am whining on a Sunday and trying to make sense of my compulsion to avoid facing other people at all costs. Tsss.

Anyway, this morning, while I was drinking my sweet-ass coffee, I played Joni Mitchell’s Blue to add more sweetness to my existential dread. This album has been a favorite of mine since college and it still speaks to me to this day.

I am on a lonely road and
I am traveling, traveling, traveling, traveling
looking for something, what can it be?

“All I Want”, Joni Mitchell

It got me thinking: would Joni Mitchell’s lyrics pass the rah-rah social justice standards of today? They probably would, wouldn’t they? None of her songs stand out as fodder for any serious condemnation. “All I Want” is sorta kinda interesting though. Do you see how you hurt me baby / So I hurt you too / And we both get so blue — definitely not #relationshipgoals.

Speaking of anti-relationship goals, there’s this song called “Easy” by Babygirl that I currently have on loop. The arrangement is pretty bare, the beats are deep but subtle, the guitars are sparse — but, most importantly, the melody is mad catchy. It starts a little slow but once it gets to the chorus, oooh, sticky shmaltzy lovelorn pop realness. I listened to it for an hour straight before I finally got curious about the lyrics.

Easy, got me all nervous, all needy
I even love it when you treat me
Like you don’t even see me

“Easy”, Babygirl

Girl, what the heck? Blink twice if you need help? But, okay, whatever. The song is already stuck in my head anyway.

Another catchy song that I want to share is Darla Baltazar’s “Francis Bacon.” Dude, kids these days are dope. This Darla girl is like, I don’t know, 16? She looks like a kid to me. Her song “Francis Bacon” isn’t Song of the Year material, okay, but it also isn’t something that 16-year-old me would’ve been able to compose. Dope.

I don’t understand the lyrics though. Here, have a look:

Francis Bacon
Darla Baltazar

Life can be great
Or so I’m told
I got my own fate
I don’t need a mould

You thought it was easy, didn’t you?
Just gotta grow old
But what if you lost all you had
Why bother at all?

Billions of people
I could barely tell
You’re not all that matters baby
Get over yourself

No it ain’t me
There’s no way I’d make it
It ain’t hard to see
No don’t be mistaken
I’m barely the key
I’m no Francis Bacon
One higher than me
He made it

Don’t you agree
Your life is a mess (it’s true)
But it’s a pretty thing nonetheless
Let’s sit a while and watch the view

Billions of failures
Can’t stop the growth
Are they really so bad
Still got some hope

No it ain’t me
There’s no way I’d make it
It ain’t hard to see
No don’t be mistaken
I change with the weather
I can’t be so clever
I need something better
That goes on forever

If I were to take a stab at an interpretation, I would say that the verse in which she references Francis Bacon is actually a shout-out to — wait for it — God. Hot take! Haha.

Okay, let me explain. According to her Spotify profile, Ate Darla is, uh, a “Soldier of Christ.” Meanwhile, Francis Bacon was an English philosopher who, according to some, was the real writer behind William Shakespeare’s works. So when Darla sings I’m barely the key / I’m no Francis Bacon / one higher than me/ he made it, she may be saying that it is God who creates her music and she’s simply a vehicle — pretty much like how Shakespeare was to Bacon’s creations, assuming that the Baconian theory of Shakespeare authorship is correct. Gets ba?

The problem with my reading though is it doesn’t exactly align with the rest of the song. God is Francis Bacon, fine, but what about the other verses? They seem to be talking about something completely different, don’t they? Pffft, whatever.

“Harvard” by Diet Cig is more straightforward lyrics-wise. It’s not catchy per se, but it’s pretty dope, too. The crunchy riffs and the wrath-filled lyrics remind me of 90s pop-punk. Also, the lyrics are funny.

How’s your new Ivy League girlfriend?
Is she boring too in the way I couldn’t stand to be?

“Harvard”, Diet Cig

Tell me about it! Hahaha. The song has the same energy as that one line from Tori Amos: so you found a girl who thinks really deep thoughts / what’s so amazing about really deep thoughts? Mm-hmm.

“You Should All Be Murdered” by Another Sunny Day also caught my interest today. Dude, humor me and give it a listen before you read on.

It sounds like a Smiths song, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?? Even the title itself is very Smiths-y, hindi ba? I heard this song for the first time when I played a random twee playlist on Spotify and I thought, uyy, The Smiths, parang ngayon ko lang narinig ‘to a. But apparently it’s not even by the Smiths! What the heck??

Anyway, I quickly got over it. It’s not by The Smiths, move on.

The Buildings is a local act that sounds nothing like The Smiths but their songs sound twee to me. Their Twitter profile says they play “fuzz pop” — twee, fuzz, whatever. They recently released a song called “Heaven is a Long Exhale” and the vibe — not the melody, just the vibe — reminds me of The Gentle Isolation’s “Is It Possible to See You Again.” Cool title too, though it would have been more profound if it was written in Tagalog. Ang langit ay isang mahabang buntong-hininga. Noice.

Hmm, what else? There’s “Keeping Me Up” by Leanne & Naara and “Soft Spot” by Claud and “Dream Grrrl” by Grrrl Gang — I can talk about songs for days, man, but let me just end this annoyingly discursive post with an old, old favorite.

The Maybellines’ “This and That” is, to put it simply, my jam. It’s one of my comfort songs. I discovered it many, many years ago when I was looking for more songs by the indie pop band Soft Pillow Kisses. I ended up finding the album You’re Still Young at Heart and the opener is this track by The Maybellines.

Who the Maybellines are, I don’t know. Are they Filipino or American or Filipino-American? I have no idea. I’m just glad I stumbled upon their song at a perfect time in my life. No one understands my intention / no one ever understands me — dude, my teenage heart couldn’t even. Hahaha.


The featured photo includes cropped images from the cover art of Darla Baltazar’s “Francis Bacon” and Leanne & Naara’s “Daybreak.”

11 Comments

  1. rAdishhorse

    parang The Smiths nga ang another sunny day haha
    another sunny day, the name reminds of a very sunny song from belle and sebastian
    pero they’re being ironic siguro no?

    ganda ng this and that.. maybellines are from denver daw..
    cover sya ng acid house kings.. pero mas gusto ko version nila
    na curious ako sa You’re Still Young at Heart.. sa spotify mo ba nkita ‘to?
    kung hindi at nasa computer mo, penge files/link haha

    di ba ang candyaudioline/soft pillow kisses ay band dati ni selena salang? o mali lang naalala ko

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jolens

      Sino ‘yung being ironic? ‘Yung Another Sunny Day o ‘yung Belle and Sebastian? Haha. Apparently mas nauna ‘tong ASD e, as in active ‘yung project between ’86 to ’92 sabi sa wiki. Oldies na siya, haha, although I guess oldies na rin naman ang Belle & Seb ngayon. Shet we old! Hahaha.

      ‘Di ko alam na cover pala ‘yung This and That hahaha. Tingin ko may files ako ng You’re Still Young, hanapin ko sa hard drive kapag nagka-time tas send ko sa ‘yo. (Pasado 12mn na rito at kaka-logout ko lang sa work huhuhuhu.)

      Actually hindi ko rin sure kung naging mem si Selena Salang ng Soft Pillow Kisses. Tingin ko hindi kasi super tanders na rin ‘tong SPK e, pero baka mali ako haha. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rAdishhorse

        ah, kala ko new band ang ASD na heavily influenced ng Smiths, kaya sabi ironic yung name kasi ang dark (or ironically dark?) nung title ng song, which is usual na MO ng Smiths. so wala sya connect sa song ng B&S.

        ay grabe OTY ba yan? nicheck ko at puro covers yung Still Young At Heart.. ni search ko rin at confirmed na candyaudio/soft pillow/popular days nga si mam selena.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jolens

          Ah gets! Hahaha.

          Wait, ‘di ba all boys Popular Days? O marami bang banda ang Popular Days ang pangalan? Hahaha.

          ‘Di ko alam na cover album pala ‘tong You’re Still Young hahaha. Ang daming Pinoy artists sa lineup, feeling ko may Pinoy blood din ang The Maybellines. Choz hahaha.

          Like

          1. Jolens

            Ang pagkaintindi ko sa sinabi ni mami Selena, ‘yung time niya sa Candyaudio at ‘yung mga banda gaya ng SPK at Popular Days ay may impluwensiya pa rin sa kanya hanggang ngayon. Choz, ang labo kasi ng pagkakasabi niya e! Hahaha.

            Pinoy din ang Carnival Park! Akala ko Pinoy din ang Simpatico at ‘yung den baron pero mukhang hindi pala hahahaha.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Jolens

      Truuue hahaha. Grabe kasi ‘tong pandemic e, enabler ng mga gaya kong walang kahilig-hilig lumabas ng bahay. Haha.

      Ginawa kong public ‘yung playlist ko na “tambakan” ang pangalan. Nand’un marami sa mga kantang binanggit ko rito haha. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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