Cover art by Sylvia Ruff
I was a P-pop fan before becoming an NCTzen, but back then, I never really had the courage to admit it openly. Now, in what I would consider one of the prime years of P-pop, I am proudly expressing it without hesitation.
I grew up listening to ABS-CBN’s sing-and-dance quintet “Gimme 5”—Nash Aguas, Joaquin Reyes, Grae Fernandez, Brace Arquiza, and John Bermundo—back in high school. If Spotify and YouTube streaming were a thing back then, I would have undoubtedly contributed to most of the views by religiously repeating “Hatid Sundo,” “Aking Prinsesa,” and “‘Pag Kasama Ka.”
Well, I was also one of the silent supporters (and defenders) when MNL48 received backlash at the beginning of their journey on It’s Showtime.
While their songs hold so much of my teenage years, I silently harbored this musical connection because, in the eyes of many, they were nothing more than a derivative of K-pop and other global counterparts and dismissed them as mere imitations, labeling them as “pathetic pop.”
What grates on my nerves is the persistence of this sentiment even today. In an era where Filipino talent has reached unprecedented heights with groups like SB19, MNL48, BGYO, BINI, and Alamat, among others making waves internationally, it’s disheartening to witness some still brushing aside P-pop with the same negative label.
The shame associated with P-pop often arises from a misplaced sense of musical elitism, a mindset that deems certain genres superior and scorns others. However, it’s crucial to remember that music is a deeply subjective experience—what resonates with one may not necessarily appeal to another.
Moreover, there’s a tendency for some to dismiss P-pop as a fleeting trend or a copycat of global pop genres, but beneath the surface lies a blend of traditional Filipino influences and contemporary sounds.
SB19 and Alamat have transcended mere entertainment by purposefully infusing their music with rich cultural meanings and representations. These groups have embraced their Filipino identity, integrating local languages, folklore, and traditions into their work, while at the same time being in the now.
While some may argue it lacks the depth or authenticity found in other music genres, it’s also essential to recognize that the appeal of pop music lies in its ability to capture the essence of the moment. P-pop does just that, resonating with its Filipino diaspora audience and creating a shared experience that transcends age and background.
As a Bloom, BINI’s bubblegum pop harkens back the nostalgia of the moments when we had our first love and getting all the kilig with our high school crushes. The music excels at trapping the immediate and relatable experiences we can connect with on a personal and emotional level.
And that, as well, is the beauty of our P-pop idols—they’re breaking traditional idol norms and establishing a more direct connection with us at the grassroots level. With livestream features and a participatory culture at the helm, their accessibility and relatability as idols have enabled us to identify with them even more. We feel like a part of their journey, growing with them through time.
In a world where musical tastes vary widely, it’s time to shed the notion that there’s any shame in being a fan of P-pop and its unapologetic and unconventional idol culture. It’s high time to break free from the shackles of musical conformity and appreciate P-pop for what it truly is.
So, the next time we find ourselves tapping our feet to a P-pop tune, let’s do so proudly. Let the rhythm of the music remind us that, in the world of music, there is no shame in embracing the beat that makes our hearts dance.
*Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the official stance of Parcinq Magazine, its affiliates, or its staff.