In the heartfelt series of visual narratives inspired by the tracks off his album, Episode, Zack Tabudlo makes us feel so many things, this time with James Reid.
“Get ready to eat yo feelings,” James Reid warns us in an Instagram post, his words trite but tipping with so much emotions. In the photo, the artist who has taken some sort of sabbatical from acting for two years returns to fine form, albeit caught in a still of shadowed contemplation. While he wasn’t completely absent from the screens, as he did star in his own music videos and for his label, Careless Music (his appearances in Nadine Lustre’s Wildest Dreams visual album epic was a moment in itself), his turn in Para Sa Mga Ex, Zack Tabudlo’s second release in a series of musical short films to accompany the recent drop of his first album, Episode, is a significant stride in the current shift of his career.
For all intents and purposes, this proved to be somewhat of a catharsis for everyone involved, the reader included, because despite bringing to life a buoyant bidding of resolve and reconciliation of Para Sa Mga Ex, the visual narrative is decidedly more stark with its wash of saturated neon lights flickering with every swing and charge of emotions quite the opposite of what the song says. “Hello. Okay lang ako,” James Reid beckons in the opening scene of Zack Tabudlo track, which obviously parallels the belying of narrative from the soundtrack. Already gripping from the first uttering of syllables almost under a breath, the Para Sa Mga Ex spills in, baring a heartache that is woven with lyrical defiance.
“We’re in a phase, as well as my music, where everyone goes through heartbreak. I know friends who’ve gone through heartbreaks. I’ve gone through exes,” reveals Zack Tabudlo of what makes Para Sa Mga Ex raw, riveting, and relatable.
The James Reid And Zack Tabudlo Connection
“People in general,” he tells ABS-CBN News, “Get hurt.” So, what is musician to do? Put it in a song, naturally. “We have our lowest of lows. We get hurt. We become vulnerable. We cry. We break. And that’s just part of life,” continues the musical prodigy bridging old-school OPM to a younger generation. In this particular part of life, as directed by Kani Villaflor, we see James Reid break away from the trippy, otherworldly persona in Soda and the surprisingly sharp humor of Hello, and bares his heart anew to the words and music of Zack Tabudlo.
Framed in fragments, the official music video of Para Sa Mga Ex details the realities of a solitary grieving process. From time following the slow ticks of the clock to breaking things in sight and arm’s reach, James Reid tiptoes denial and decision, confronting the emotions long held at bay. Tracking everything from the quiet, the rage, and the tears, this is a collective reflection of every heartbreak everyone has had some sort of experience with at one point in their lives.
“So much emotion in a music video, thank you so much for doing this after two years of taking a break wt acting brother,” writes Zack Tabudlo of his collaboration and connection with James Reid. “You can really see the difference of real actors and how they can portray characters in such a passionate and unique way. I appreciate everything [you] did for this mv, all my love to you brother.” The result is a priceless coming together of artistry and authenticity that speaks volumes, making the audience feel more than they thought they would. “Bakit parang ang sakit?” and so goes the general mood online hours after the premiere. Well, because it precisely is that, painful.
Chase The Blues Away
Here, the realities of the song and story are flipped, which makes for a more aching telling. But as it grips and pierces at every scene, there grows a slow acceptance to what needs to be done. As with any great story and song, there is no gratuitous ending to Para Sa Mga Ex. Setting out to be real from the get-go, it finishes in a striking sense of sadness and stillness that sears right through.
In the final trails of the track off of Zack Tabudlo’s Episode, James Reid checks back on the time, but not much has changed. Just as it began with just himself barely able to keep up with his brimming feelings, he still is alone, which is further detailed by his cocooning in bed. Lonely, but oddly hopeful, Para Sa Mga Ex reminds us that wherever one is at, whether it be on the speaking or receiving end of that crushing potential final phone call, there will be hurt. However, just like the comforting warmth of yellow chases the blues away, there really is life after letting go and moving on, according to your own pace, of course.