Voices of Today’s Generation: OPM Artists That Speak Of Social Issues
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, October 08, 2019 10:07am
Art by Dani Elevazo
In these trying times, it’s refreshing to know we’re way past the hugot content and realize how the power of lyrics and melody can also spark the revolutionary in us. Often tucked behind catchy tunes are powerful lyrics that speak of the problems and struggles of our society.
Take a cue from these OPM artists who dare to spark flames through their songs on relevant social issues:
Anong laman ng isipan mo?
Nagiging agresibo sa 'king paghina, lumalakas loob mo
Ako pa rin ba ang puno't dulo nito?
- “ayaw” by syd hartha
Some men think a short skirt or a low-cut blouse is an invitation. When somebody says no, it means no. Indie singer syd hartha’s “ayaw” opens eyes to the realities of harassment and the importance of consent.
Nung bata ka lasenggo ang tatay mong abugado,
Magulang mo'y nagsabong nagkulong ka na sa kwarto,
Nagtataka kung bakit itim ang eyeshadow ng tanging ina mo.
- “Peklat Cream” by Bita and the Botflies
A bruise on the arm, thigh, or eye could tell many stories of domestic violence we don’t dare ask of. So, Bita and the Botflies starts conversations about abuse through their music. May this song make people realize their worth. When it’s time to walk away, walk away.
Iba na kasi ngayon nagbago na ang panahon
Sa kalsada bawal na magpagabi
Pag hinatid ka pa baka 'di na ako makauwi
'Di na makauwi ng buhay
- “Nanlaban” by Bandido
“Nanlaban” shows how people fear our increasingly violent society to the point where a guy is afraid to bring his girl home late at night. Bandido’s music sheds light about extrajudicial killings as if saying not to turn a blind eye about the injustices we see on the news.
‘Bat ba ipapabuti sarili mong imahe
Sa pag-akyat ay di pahuhuli
Kung ikaw ba ang taya at nasa ibaba
Nangangako ka bang di mandadaya?
- “Langit Lupa Impyerno” by Chud Festejo
It seems we are always at the mercy of the government leaders and big bosses. “Langit Lupa Impyerno” digs deeper into the social hierarchy of our country; of how the poor resort to prostitution and other illegal practices to live, and how some of the elected politicians give empty promises only to disappoint the citizens in the end.
Pagmasdan ang simoy ng hanging
nanggagaling sa pampasaherong sasakyang pabrika
Na kahit ibon nababahing sa
himpapawid na akala niya'y kaniyang kinagisnan
- “Ninuno” by Bullet Dumas
Don’t we desire a world where there are fresh air and clean water? As inhabitants of the earth, it’s our duty to take care of our environment. Bullet Dumas reminds us it’s not too late to change our ways and make this world a better and more livable place to live in.
Panay na nga ang overtime ngunit kapos pa rin
Dahil sa baba ng pasahod at taas ng bilihin
Paano iba-budget, paano pagkakasiyahin
Ang sweldong kakarampot, kakatiting
- “Utang” by Kuya Dennis
Contractual employees, construction workers, and even farmers are among the many people who work hard only to get little. In the end, they get buried deep in debt. Kuya Dennis’ song is on point when it comes to the struggles of making ends meet.
Human Rights Violation
Humihinga ang lupa
Humihingi ng katarungan
Bumubulwak ang dugo sa haciendang libingan
- “Kung Puntod Na Ang Bukirin” by Gazera
Gazera paid tribute to the victims of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre through “Kung Puntod na ang Bukirin.” It talks about political killings and the violation of human rights—a battle each marginalized person is experiencing, one we hope to put an end to.
These songs are meant to spread awareness and ignite the people’s fire to help our fellow citizens. Let’s hope we’re not going to stop at music to fight for the rights. It’s time to take action.
This story is part of our Inside Manila Songbook series which aims to amplify the local music scene. Read the rest of the series here.