Songwriting and performing acts dream of coming up with or being behind a song to be hailed as Song of the Year—that one piece hailed as the year’s best.
Logically it’s a citation that should be given to the biggest hit of the past 12 months. But of course, there’s really no standard rule for a song to earn the tag. There’s also no formula in writing a surefire Song of the Year. It’s simply a lucky break that gives composers bragging rights to live with.
I was an avid listener of campus radio 97.1 back in the ‘90s and I could recall few of its Song of the Year winners. Bon Jovi’s “Bed of Roses” was a runaway hit in 1993 while Extreme’s “More Than Words” lorded it over a couple of years prior to it. It was the decade of alternative rock as Eraserheads’ “Ang Huling El Bimbo” made it on top the year it became a household tune.
For a time, the biggest OPM songs were from Introvoys. AfterImage scored one with “Habang May Buhay” while Parokya Ni Edgar delivered an instant classic with “Harana.”
Last decade, Aiza Seguerra’s “Pagdating Ng Panahon” was a monster of a track it could claim being the era’s biggest local draw.
The composers of these gems would all look back with sweet smiles knowing they were able to pen the tunes labeled best among bests.
The Song of the Year should go to that track you’ve heard in the airwaves and videokes even without requesting for it. The critically acclaimed may beat it on the grounds that music authorities dissected it and found it deserving. But you can’t go wrong with a legit hit—the people’s champ.
The Maestro Ryan Cayabyab was once quoted he never ever knew which of his songs would become a hit. I also heard that the songwriter behind “Pusong Bato” got misty-eyed once it was clear his forgotten piece had become everyone’s pet.
I found it amusing, too, that my sister who has been residing in California since 1996 would ask, during a recent video call, if my band (The Pub Forties) could cover that breakthrough song “Buwan” by Juan Karlos in our family reunion next year. That’s simply an indication of how a song, apparently recorded on a rush at Sonic State studio in Mandaluyong, has transformed into something. One of the studio engineers, Brian Lotho, a studied musician who writes and play himself, told me he was amazed by the sheer beauty of the song while it was being recorded. Somehow he felt it was going to be big. But probably not as big as how it came to be.
I was informed then that Orange and Lemons never thought of “Pinoy Ako” as a game-changer until they realized how big the reality TV show it would serve.
So, for you songwriters out there, keep recording songs. Who knows it’s your song for 2020.