SB19 finally gives us the full musical lowdown of the highly anticipated release of Pagsibol, and they aren’t joking around here: A classic is born.
In the long-running American sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper wasn’t conventionally funny—at least in the most obvious laugh out loud way. He had humor, sure, but even if it was categorically dry and cerebral, it was often out of place in conversations with his friends. To spell out his ruse, the theoretical physicist would blurt out, “Bazinga,” an interjection of victory that lets us in on his prank as if saying, “joke’s on you.” While the connection wasn’t made explicit, the very essence of the halfway mark that is on the latest release of SB19 in Pagsibol. “Every day, I think the load gets heavy / Throw it away, the world unloads hostility,” the boys sing in Bazinga, a counter-diss track meant to armor the band against the hate they get. “Go throw a stone, it might break a bone / But be wary because I won’t condone.”
Picking up from the bellowing of a bold and brave battlecry in What?, the track not only echoes the aggression and grit that ushered in the new era of SB19 in Pagsibol, but it also perfectly encapsulates how Josh, Justin, Ken, Pablo and Stell are taking root and growing in music. In the six-track sophomore effort, the boys are breaking new ground, settling into their sound, and carving out an identity that is completely authentic to each and every one of them. “We want our EP to symbolize our beginnings, origins, or simply our roots,” SB19 says in a statement. Expanding this further, Justin adds, “Our songs in Pagsibol will talk everything about our growth, about our journey as SB19 from the beginning up to where we are today.”
Asserting their truest selves, as they always espouse and encourage in their songs, SB19 is out to make it clear in the imprint of Pagsibol that this a creative undertaking completely of their own doing. Strap yourselves in because you are in for quite a ride.
Waving The Flag
“Gusto po namin na pag nakinig sila, the next song will be a different sound from that they’ve heard dun sa nauna,” says Pablo of how they envision their latest release to be as received by the listener. “Parang gusto namin na sumakay sila sa rollercoaster, talagang maiiba-iba ‘yung mood, ng ganun di nila mapre-predict or mabibigla sila sa mapapakinggan nila.”
Not only does SB19 take us for a spin into different genres in Pagsibol, such as pop rock, reggaeton, electro pop, hip-hop, and R&B, we are also given a glimpse of their paths and process, proving how close to their hearts this EP is. “Mas creative lang kami ngayon. Masasabi namin na mas may voice kami ngayon na gawin ‘yung gusto namin and ipakita kung sino kami kasi binigyan na kami ng power to do our own way,” reveals Josh. “Kasi dati, 50-50 ‘yung opinion. Syempre may company din kami, may mga bosses din kami, so minsan kailangan palitan ng ideas. Ngayon, almost 90 to 100 percent, ‘yung iba binibigay ‘yung freedom na gawin ‘yung kanta and creative stuff.”
The result is a distinct and definitive discography that shows their deep well of range, talent, and innovation, all while with a firm grip on the pulse of the Filipino. “’Yung soul namin purely Filipino. Dito talaga kami nanggaling at eto ‘yung inspirations namin, kung ano ‘yung nasa paligid namin,” details Josh. “Hindi siya solely inspired by K-pop. In-apply lang namin ‘yung pwedeng plus points for us to grow as a group. Nung simula’t simula pa lang talaga, kung ano ‘yung ginagawa namin and kino-compose namin, soul po namin ‘yung pinapakita.”
Piecing Together Pagsibol
At this point, we’ve already interfaced with the rousing and riveting What?, the tear-inducing MAPA, and an updated take on the tender telling of Ikako to critical and commercial acclaim. From the sharp turns in tempo, the nuance of lyrics, and swift serves in feelings of these tracks from SB19 in Pagsibol, we are introduced to the aforementioned Bazinga, a heated in-your-face effort charged with high-octane production; Mana, a striking mid-tempo banger with impressive low register notes by Ken that expands to something ominous, electrifying, and profound all at once; and the buoyant bop that is SLMT, an homage to their fans-turned-family, A’Tin, rendered in a smooth symphony of Filipino instrumentation and jabs.
“Hindi kami mahihiyang sabihin na meron kaming kasama, meron kaming family,” says Justin when asked about what makes them proud, promptly making mention of their supporters. “Another thing is we’re proud of who we are as SB19, our hard work, we were able to reach this, inspire for other people and make something new.”
As if there was any morsel of doubt, SB19 seals the deal of their authenticity, authorship, and artistry in the musical essay that is Pagsibol. Pushing the limits of their context of edgy pop, Josh, Justin, Ken, Pablo, and Stell continue to challenge the conventions of OPM with their quiet confidence and genius, honest exposition in lyrics, and unerring humility. “Kahit na iniisip mo na magaling ka na sa isang bagay, darating ‘yung point na may matutunan ka pa pala. Ang hirap i-gauge nung learning curve kasi ako hanggang ngayon, ang dami kong natutunan and hindi ko alam kung kelan ako titigil,” shares Pablo of their desire to defy the norm by way of learning as they go.
Grow As They Go
“Everyday is a learning process, hindi lang po para sa mga artists, pati sa mamamayang Pilipino. Kung sa tingin mo okay ka na, kinabukasan mare-realize mo, kaya ko pa, you can give more, do more,” continues Stell, shedding more light into the wisdom that SB19 has amassed and appropriated in Pagsibol. “Sa totoo lang po, lahat ng ginagawa namin ngayon, hindi kami sigurado nung una. Pero ngayon, nag-e-explore pa rin kami kung ano talaga ‘yung dapat namin gawin para mas mapaganda pa namin ‘yung maipapakita namin sa taong nakatingin sa amin.”
At this point, everyone is not only looking at SB19, but they are listening. Utilizing the universality of music for the greater good, the scions of OPM and crowned kings of P-pop are changing the music industry in their own way. Breaking ground, taking root, and growing at each rise and fall of the day, Josh, Justin, Ken, Pablo, and Stell are firmly embedded into the culture of sound and song in the Philippines, creating timeless classics as they intended to since day one, struggles and all.
“’Yung buong idea ng Pagsibol, even if the terrain is harsh, the weather is harsh, tutubo pa rin tayo, may pag-asa kumbaga. Sana pag nadinig nila ‘yung Pagsibol, mabuhayan sila, mas ma-motivate sila sa mga gusto nilang gawin sa buhay,” says the music genius of SB19 that is Pablo, perfectly punctuating the entirety that is Pagsibol. “Darating ‘yung panahon na sumisibol ka pa lang, tatatag ka, magiging puno ka na.” While we are too deep into the metaphor, it still is oddly but inherently worth a chuckle. It grows on you, as humor-laced wisdom usually does. This time, however, there is no joking around; SB19 scores a solid win with Pagsibol. So, yes, you can say it now: Bazinga.