Monday, June 13, 2011

Songs in a Gay Bar: OPM Male Love Songs

Oh, to fall in love, and sing a ballad about it. Oh, to fall in love, and weep in the rain while hearing a ballad about it. Oh, to fall in love... and lust on a macho dancer at the same time. Sigh.

I've written two posts previously about the songs that are typically played in the macho dancing gay bars. The first was about the Power Ballads of foreign rock bands popular in the 90s, while the second was about the R&B slow songs whose ultimate goal is to seduce [that post now updated with a song I forgot to add]. This is now the third of such series of posts. 

This time, it's all about OPM: Original Pilipino/Pinoy Music. And senti love songs at that.

I've noticed that the OPM songs these men dance to is sung by male artists. But no, these are not the songs of Yoyoy Villame, Freddie Aguilar, or Diomedes Maturan (Duh, he's only THE "Perry Como of the Philippines"). These are by contemporary male singers, whose love songs have ranked high in the local masa airwaves the past years.  

Because the macho dance is a slow routine whose primary objective is really to seduce, a love song or romantic ballad is fit to dance along to. And as mentioned in previous posts, these macho dancers usually choose songs they are familiar with. Since they are mostly surrounded by local radio stations, local TV stations, and local music video shows (like myx), of course, top song choices would also be local. Good thing all the local record companies packaged their male singers (most of whom won talent searches) as balladeers and released romantic ballads from these young men. Without their songs, can you imagine a hunky male stripper dancing along "Sayaw Kikay" by the Viva Hotbabes (La la la la laahhh.... Ay, kikay!) ?

So here are the most frequently heard OPM Love Songs from contemporary male solo artists that's heard inside a gay bar. Imagine being serenaded by the hunky dancer with a smooth manly voice singing a heartfelt song of undying love and devotion. I also noticed a common theme among them, which I will mention after the list below. Click "play" to listen to the song, and be reminded of its message.     

1. "Pagbigyang Muli" and "Di Ko Kaya" by Erik Santos
Sung by the winner of a popular singing talent show on TV in the mid-00's. I put this first on the list because I've heard it dance over the past three weeks in almost all the bars I went to. 

2. "Kung Malaya Lang Ako" by Kris Lawrence
Sung by the Season 2 winner of the same TV show. And danced by the macho dancer who has a customer waiting for him because he's already tabled by another guest. Of course, the waiting customer will feel special being sung with "kung malaya lang ako, ikaw ang pipiliin ko."

3. "Hiling" by Jay-R Siaboc 
Oh, another contestant in the reality-singing-show in that same channel. And another male artist rumored to have a juicy past (that's still somehow connected to the topic of this blog).  

4. "Hindi na Bale" by Bugoy Drilon
The Season 2 winner of that same reality-singing-show. Let's just focus on the sing, and imagine a good-looking hunk singing and dancing to this rather than the original singer. 

5. "Sana'y Malaman Mo" by OJ Mariano 
Another singing competition contestant who didn't win the grand prize. What is it with these products of singing competitions who are belting out songs of unrequited love? And what is it with macho dancers who are dancing along songs about unrequited love?

6. "Ngayo'y Naririto" by the r&b artist Jay-R
Good, a break from all the Kapamilya singers and contestants. I remember this song being danced by a tall, quite gym-toned moreno dancer with a shaved head. Or maybe, it was Jay-R himself?

7. "Pusong Ligaw" by Jericho Rosales
I never knew about this song until I asked the dancer I was with the title of this song. He also didn't know. So after searching online for the lyrics, I was surprised that this was from the young dramatic actor, known more for his acting chops than his voice. Next career move: dancer?

8. "Muli" by Rodel Navaro (as re-made by Bugoy Drilon)  
I know this is a relatively old song in the 90s. But because it was remade recently, our young men are singing to this song with all their heart, especially the chorus. Okay fine, I admit. It was ME who was singing to this song with all my heart, after a transgression of mine. Don't ask to whom. 

9. "Pangako" by Kindred Garden
Yeah, yeah, they're not considered under "solo male artists." But indulge me, because I was singing to this song very passionately last weekend in a seedy gay bar in Quezon City. Well, it wasn't only me who was singing; even the boy I tabled was singing along. My friend who was busy watching the performance on stage, upon hearing a male voice singing in the background, looked sideways at me and said, "I was hoping it wasn't you." Anyway, I thought this song was from a solo male artist, so I included him here in the list.

10. "Ikaw ang Aking Pangarap" by Martin Nievera and "Ikaw Lamang" by Gary Valenciano
Even if these two great singers are older than the others in this list, they can still be considred contemporary. These songs were released recently, as theme songs of a TV soap and a movie. I also included these songs because these are special to one macho dancer in "Home Base." He reserves these songs to his big-time customer who lives in the US, and only dances to either of them when the customer is visiting the bar. Fitting choice to convey loyalty and devotion from an MD to a guest. Awww.

What I noticed with these songs was that all of them talked about undying love and devotion. However, except for the last two songs, the recurring theme was about a broken-hearted man's plea to return to the love of his life and bring back the passion and emotion. He remembers their good times together, and now that they're apart, he has finally realized that she is his one and true love. Again, the whole composition is written as a profession of the man's undying love and devotion.

Then combine the song's message to the setting in a gay bar. When a macho dancer uses these kinds of songs to woo his gay or matrona customer, that guest can feel that he or she is the one and only love of the dancer's life, despite his profession, their differences, their circumstances. 

Think how the lonely and love-deprived gay bar client would react to a half-naked man who professes:
"Sana'y malaman mo", "tanging ikaw lang ang aking iibigin" dahil "pag-ibig na wagas, ang siyang nararamdaman." "Pagmamahal ko ay di magbabago", "basta't iniibig kita higit sa buhay ko." "Wala nang nanaisin pa kung magkailan ma'y kasama ka"; "sana ay mahal mo rin ako."
And if there's a transgression done by a macho dancer, which is usually infidelity with his other customers, all the macho dancer does is to dance to a song with the message of: 
"Kung nagkamali sayo, patawad ang pagsamo ko." "Sana'y pagbigyan ng pagkakataon itong damdamin ko." "Magtiwalang muli, ito na ang huling pagkakamali" dahil "pag-ibig mo pa rin ang hanap ng pusong ligaw." "Ikaw lamang."
Do these tactics work? Sometimes, maybe. An overly-thinking customer (like me) would always wonder if the song being danced was specifically chosen to convey a message of love or passion or contrition to me.

Of course, not all guests would admit publicly being swayed by his or her dancer's charm heightened by his song's message. Especially if during the emotional performance on-stage, the macho dancer gets teased with cheers and yihees from his colleagues, which could make the guest blush. But if you really probe deep down, somewhere there inside the customer's heart, he or she knows what the effect really is, even if they don't admit. That's what you can call a haba-hair moment.

Oh, to fall in love, and watch a macho dancer dance to a song about it.  

P.S. A related sub-category of these genre is also played frequently inside gay bars. I'll just write about these in one of my future posts. Also, because I haven't downloaded the songs and embedded them into this post, I will link the songs to Youtube for the meantime.

GB Goer
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila


  1. Effort pagupload ah. ikaw na! you already!

  2. Napapangiti ako kapag minsang nakikinig sa radyo ay biglang ipapatugtog ng paborito kong disc jockey ang isang kanta na pamilyar sa akin. Naalala ko si Paul habang gumigiling ang buong katawan sa saliw ng tugtugin ni Celine Dion na it's all coming back. Si tyrone na nahihiya pang itodo ang paggiling habang kumakanta si beyonce ng halo. si jayr na bagong bago lang sa bar at halos hindi maigalaw ang katawan habang sinasabayan ang awit bonjovi na never say goodbye.... nakakatawa naaalala

  3. noon paboritong isayaw ng mga macho dancers ang --larawang kupas==ewan ko lang ngayon


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