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Some Filipinos spit on themselves when they support Charice and Arnel Pineda. Both are only popular because of their mimicry. In other words, they wouldn’t have been popular if they didn’t copy the styles and material of others.

When Filipinos support those two, they proclaim to the world that they acknowledge that Filipinos could only get popular by emulating Westerners, in particular, Americans. In addition, that is also an acknowledgment that songs made by Filipinos and performed by them would not be hits in the world. That acknowledgment proclaims to the world how little they think of their own culture. They have little to no stake in their own culture and arts. They would rather support and emulate Western (IE American) arts.

Take a look closer at Arnel and Charice. Both are stripped of their Filipino (and Asian as a whole) identities when performing. There’s nothing Filipino (and Asian) about them when they sing their songs outside the country. What probably makes it worse is that they try so hard to be an Asian/ Filipino copy of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion in Charice’s case. In Arnel’s case, he becomes an Asian/ Filipino imitator of Steve Perry. What underlies their lack of originality and identities is their lack of original songs. Arnel is singing the same old Journey songs that Steve Perry sang. He’s also not involved in making the 2008 Journey album. Charice has no song of her own despite having two albums published already. Even her “Note To God” is a song already part of Jojo’s album released a few years ago. Note that the song was not good enough for Jojo, but it’s good enough for the management of the Filipina copycat.

Compare and contrast Arnel and Charice to American Idol finalists. When the season of American Idol ends, there’s one thing that the finalists do first and foremost: they either write their own songs or they have professionals do it for them. Since American Idol is a glorified karaoke competition, finalists having their own songs serve a couple of purposes. Having their own songs send a message to the public that the American Idol contestants have their own identity. It also serves to showcase the talent of the contestants. Just take a look at Clay Aiken and Rubben Studdard. They may not have much talent, but having their own respective songs sent a message of identity. The original songs become theirs  irrespective of quality.

By having no songs of their own, Arnel and Charice show to the world how worthless they are. One message that is also communicated to the public is how unimportant the two are to their managements and labels. For instance, Charice is just a sideshow at David Foster’s oldies tour (local translation: saling pusa and utus utusan). Arnel is just like pet (aso) that serves Journey (and Neal Schon).  Arnel merely serves to belt out whenever Journey is needed, but is irrelevant to the creative process of the band. This entry explains why Journey and Neal Schon would prefer a submissive member to an assertive one.

Just note that the two are so replaceable due to their lack of unique identities and talent. Arnel and Charice could be easily replaced by other good karaoke and lounge singers. Going back to the American Idol comparison, the contestants might not become successful, but they have their songs to call their own. For instance, Clay Aiken has his multiplatinum “Measure of a Man” album. Katharine McPhee on the other hand has the successful singles “Love Story” and “Over It” to call her own. Both tracks received Top40 stations airplay and good enough sales (both physical and internet sales). Notice that I only cited the runner ups. Arnel and Charice are merely sideshows and cannot be compared to American Idol winners if this writer is to make a “balanced” point.

Jose Rizal once wrote that: Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika, daig pa ang hayop at malansang isda“. By giving uncritical support to cover and lounge singers like Charice and Arnel, some Filipinos are guilty of being “hayop at malansang isda”.

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Filipinos can’t take constructive criticism well. Case in point is Freddie Aguilar’s controversial statement. Freddie Aguilar was interviewed and he made some criticism of Filipino musicians that are gaining global fame. His remark that angered many: “

E, pinatototohanan lang ang sinabi ni Mariah Carey na tayong mga Filipino ay mga unggoy. Kasi, wala tayong sarili, gaya-gaya lang tayo. Nasa Amerika ka na, binigyan ka na ng pagkakataon na kumanta sa Oprah, bakit kumanta ka pa ng kanta ni Celine Dion? Sinabi ni Mariah na mga unggoy ang Filipino, gaya-gaya lang kayo, e, di napatunayan nga, totoo nga.

 

“Kasi, di ba, what monkeys see, monkeys do. Dapat ang kinanta niya, bakit hindi ‘Dahil Sa Iyo’ o kaya ay kahit ano, basta kantang Filipino? O kaya Visayan, Ilocano… lalo siyang sisikat sa buong mundo nun,” pahayag ni Freddie.” Source

In partial translation:  “(Arnel and Charice) are proving what Mariah Carey said about Filipinos being monkeys. It’s because we don’t have our own (songs), we just copy….. Why are you singing the songs of Celine Dion in the US. You’re just proving Mariah’s point of us being copycats….. Why aren’t they singing Filipino songs……

Due to that, many Filipinos became angry. It’s unfortunate that those Filipinos can’t appreciate substance over style. The musicians that Freddie criticized, Arnel Pineda and Charice Pempengco, are only getting popular because they mimic others. Arnel Pineda only became the lead singer of Journey because his singing abilities is a clone of original lead singer Steve Perry. He wouldn’t have landed the gig if he couldn’t mimic Steve Perry’s style. Arnel was not hired for his original artistic talent. Charice Pempengco is a singer only getting attention because she can mimic Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Toni Braxton really well. Charice has no song of her own despite having two albums under her belt. She is simply known as that Asian girl who can cover Celine and Whitney in a tremendous fashion.

It’s too bad that Filipinos can’t value that views of Freddie Aguilar. They fail to notice that instead of being a copycat, Freddie Aguilar is one artist that others copied. Freddie’s song “Anak” sold more than 10 million copies. The song was also released in 56 countries while being translated into 26 different languages outside of the Philippines.  Unfortunately, Filipinos can’t appreciate a real artist from someone who is just a copycat.

It’s not like the Philippines is bursting with world class musicians to export. While the country has many workers to ship to the Middle East and Hong Kong to work as maids, there are hardly any Filipino musician around that others musicians will copy or be inspired by. Those Filipinos are ready to throw Freddie under the bus. For what and why? Just due to  some pansin of the Kanos (American attention)? Are Filipinos so starved of attention that they would disregard artistic integrity just for global attention? Don’t they realize that singing the material already popularized by others is not flattering at all?

Wake up Filipinos and learn about constructive criticism.

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