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MUSIC REVIEW: Ben&Ben schock fans with diverse Pebble House Vol. 1 Album

By Geelyn Avanceña, Rinoa dela Cruz, and Gianela Zapata

PHOTO: ABS-CBN

From their debut album “Limasawa Street” back in 2019, Ben&Ben came back to shock their fans for their 2nd album entitled “Pebble House Vol 1: Kuwaderno” which showcases various themes and emotions that summed up the band’s members on the first few months that they lived under one roof. 

Now, join us as we analyze each song and explore the different aspects of their new album. 


‘Kuwaderno’

Kuwaderno will entice everyone for its variety of instruments and effects used. This teaser will give you soothing, refreshing, and cinematic feelings. They used the title “Kuwaderno” for their album opener because for them, it acts as a compilation of the members’ thoughts, memories, and feelings throughout the year. 

It makes you feel like you’re going through different stories and pages because of the transformation of moods.


‘Kasayaw’

“Pahirapan magtantsahan. Ngunit hindi susuko hangga't ‘di pa natatapos.”

Most songs about dancing usually depict a two-person routine that consists of mellow and sweet vibes but the band begs to differ on their first piece “Kasayaw.” From a refreshing kick off, this song jumps from a playful start to a deep and hurtful story. 

The second track talks about uncertainties in a relationship. However, despite the idea of leaving because of their unsure status,the willingness to hold on will not fade within their on-and-off relationship. 

The variety of instruments used makes for a retro and funky tune. The percussion, violin, bass, and electric piano charms you to dance even with the underlying sadness of the lyrics. 


‘Swimming Pool’

“‘Di ko alam kung nakikinig sa‘kin. Andiyan ka ba, Bathala?”

With their surprising collaboration with Chito Miranda, “Swimming Pool” brought back the ‘millennial days’ because of the nostalgic way for the delivery of the song. In addition to that, the lyrics are fun and catchy for the usage of some ironic remarks. It also references familiar things such as swimming pools, football fields, and samgyupsal.

The song is very reminiscent of the early OPM era with a “splice of life” story, composition, and vocal style. Not to mention, Chito Miranda’s voice really adds a timeless feel to it.


“Grabe lakas maka 90's aaaa solid talaga Sir Chito! Galing-galing ng Nuggets ko huhu proud of you,” @lene commented on YouTube.

“This song legit brings so much nostalgia, feels like it's normal all over again for a while,” Deign Hernandez said.

Ben&Ben connected with their listeners in this track by depicting the hardships that an individual may experience. There are times that we have been praying repeatedly for the challenges to end. However, some events may occur where we don’t receive the solution that we need but rather a question, “Andiyan ka ba, Bathala?” 


‘Elyu’

“Pakiusap na lumayas ka sa’king isipan nang umahon na ang puso sa dalampasigan.”

The strum of the guitar and the sound of the waves are the first things that welcomed the audience on the band’s fourth track that talks about the frequent appearances of memories with their ex-lover in every moment. It also mentions how the person suffers to forget it and their ambition to move forward and heal.

“Elyu” is a descriptive and bittersweet ballad about moving on accompanied by the beautiful imagery that lets you picture the waves and small details of stumbling on sand castles that reminds you of a lost love. It’s like you’ve been here before, but now, your special someone is gone. It also gives the irony of moving on but is always contradicted by your own feelings. You want to move forward, but letting go really is easier said than done. 

The song brings Elyu to life and reminds you it’s more than just a place. It’s a memory that still begs to ask: “Ready ka na ba talaga mag move-on?”

With its unique title, fans gave their own depiction for the word “Elyu” while sharing the emotions felt in the song.

“I love how the title portrays a getaway or escape from someone's problems but the song ends up to represent a place where that someone has an unforgettable moment. Thank you, B&B,” Charmie Samortin commented.


“Is ELYU literally stands for LU or La Union kasi beach/ dalampasigan. The song kasi parang sinasabi na na capture ka na ng isang tao or lugar tapos hindi kana makaget over or makaalis doon,” as stated by Dana Carissa Garin.



‘Pasalubong’

“Pasalubong naman sa’king nararamdaman. ‘Pag umamin sayo sana ay mapagbigyan.”

Are you experiencing one-sided love? Then Ben&Ben’s collaboration with Moira Dela Torre will probably deliver the message straight to your heart! The fourth track shares the perspective of a person who is longing to receive the same emotion that he offers to the one he admires. 

The combination of Moira’s velvety voice also creates an impact which makes you envision a scene about a friendship that hides their own emotions in order to avoid rejection. That is why they hide their feelings and mask it with laughter.

“Pasalubong” is something you bring home for someone while “pa-salubong” is asking to be acknowledged, just like what the lyrics imply. It’s a song that lets you down slowly, but keeps you asking “What if? Kaya ba? Pwede ba?”  It’s like you brought someone pasalubong and they didn’t even appreciate you for it. 

At the end of the song, the lyrics revealed an amazing twist and said that a chance should not be wasted and risks should be taken by giving a sweet confession, “Aaminin ko na. Gusto kita,”


‘Magpahinga’

“Magpahinga” is that calm, gentle voice; a companion that embraces you in your darkest hours and tells you, “It’s okay to rest.” 

“Kulang pa yata ang bente kwatrong oras sa’kin”

We live in uncertain times. Every week, someone you know loses a loved one. We’re all fighting our own silent battles and we all get exhausted. The more you think about the little time you may have left, the more it seems to slip away.

“Magpahinga” acknowledges that constant fear and anxiety but also gives you a radiating comfort. Rest for yourself, and pass it on to others. Taking a break is not giving up, but rather allowing yourself to just live. We’re often so hard on ourselves that we forget to enjoy the little things that make life--as depressing as it gets--worth living. 

Aside from the lyrics, the piano is truly the star of this piece. You can feel each chime of the keys, all the dynamics in their voices, and every tear that streams down your face. After listening to the song, it feels like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. As your tears dry out and you slowly let go, there’s a soothing warmth that comes with finding rest. 

“Kakayanin din. Kumapit ka, sinta. Matatapos ang problema. Malapit na, pero ‘di rin kasalanang magpahinga.”


‘Lunod’

Ben&Ben, Zild, and Juan Karlos really hit the mark with this dark but powerful piece. You can instantly visualize the eerie blues of water surrounding you in the darkness.The strong vocals will give you goosebumps and will make you feel every bone in your body. It attracts you to burst-out and scream the words. More than that, It’s a song that catches you and pulls you from drowning. 

The little details like the sound of waves in the beginning of the song, the electrifying bass, the heartbeat-like drums, and the tiny breaths at the end add so much depth to the already complex piece.  

“Saan ka kakapit kung malalim na? Ang sabi ay arte lang ‘yan”
 
Drowning is a symbolism used to pertain to a declining mental health. How people often invalidate those struggles is disheartening. The worry, fear, and anxiety is real and we need to talk about it more. Building a safe space where we are not degraded for our struggles but to receive help instead is what will make it easier to rise from the waters and recover. We can swim, we can heal, and we can breathe. 

“Nalulunod sa pangangamba. Dahan-dahan ako’y lalangoy na. Sisisirin hanggang makarating ka. Sa ginhawang itinadhana. Sa ginhawang itinadhana. ‘Di na muling malulunod pa.”


‘Sabel’

Sabel is a dedication for everyone who has been silenced, oppressed, and mistreated. Ben&Ben and KZ Tandigan sing every word with a sense of inner strength. The acapella and harmonies were a great choice for emotional effect. With its catchy tune, claps, and finger snaps, it can be an inspiring anthem for all kinds of people. 

“Sabel. Di ka nila pag-aari. Sabel. Nariyan na ang bahaghari.” 

Sabel isn’t just a random person, all of us are our own Sabel. It can really resonate for those who are being abused, harassed, or bullied. Aside from that, it can also relate to the hardships of the LGBTQ+ community. 

To all “Sabels” out there, you are worthy, valid, and you deserve to be heard. Do not let other people dictate your life. You are strong, and you are a fighter.


‘Kapangyarihan’

“Magwawagi ang katotohanan. Ang kadiliman ay ibabagsak.” 

Kapangyarihan is the Sabel that found its voice after being wounded. It is a brave and honest power anthem that empowers us to stand up against this suffering. 

“Wag niyong tapakan ang katarungan” can also be a callback to a lyric in the previous song, “Ang aking halaga ay tinapakan.” It ties up the two arcs very well story-wise and shows us how we can rise from oppression and turn it into power. 

“Nagsisilbi ka dapat” is a reminder to all those who practice and defend bad governance. More so, all forms of government and authoritative personnel should serve the people genuinely. 

Ben&Ben and SB19 truly made this a powerhouse song with a timely message: true power is with those who seek justice. 


‘Sugat’

“Sugat made me realize the importance of "Regardless of how "bad" person you are before, it doesn't define how you are in the present"...” — @masteragness on Twitter.


Ben&Ben and Munimuni’s much anticipated collaboration resulted in a beautiful and sentimental song that gently tells us to forgive ourselves and let go of our wounded past.

“Sugat” shows us that closure can help us have freedom from our past. As the longest song in the album, it takes its sweet time with its peaceful instrumentals.  Munimuni’s serene style truly shines through. Little by little, it feels as if our wounds are being mended by our growth, acceptance, and this masterpiece.

With its iconic lines "‘Pahilumin, mga sugat, malayo pa ang iyong patutunguhan,” these artists wanted to show their listeners that there is always peace of mind waiting for us in the near future. All we have to do is clear our hearts away from anger.


‘Upuan’

“Isang tingin mo lang, at sa'yo na nga ako.”

Upuan is a song that reminds you of your highschool days; those moments of pure bliss and excitement when you see your crush. It also gives off a fun innocence that comes with the fear of confessing your feelings. 

Originally released on May 7, 2021 as the first single of Ben&Ben's sophomore album, ‘Upuan’ brings back people to the earlier days where things were much simpler. In an interview with CNN, Miguel Benjamin Guico also stated, “I guess it's a fun challenge to be reminded of something when you see a seemingly ordinary object you just take for granted.”

Its official music video starring “He's Into Her'' actors Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano was released on August 29, 2021 on YouTube. Many fans have anticipated the much-awaited collaboration, as some even left reviews on social media sites about the said music video.

“Can we just talk about Donny's character here in UPUAN MV. He's the type of man who's shy to confess his feelings for the woman he likes. He's quiet but his eyes are talking. It has a lot of emotions and he was just so good.” — @donbellefairy on Twitter. 



‘Ilang Tulog Na Lang’

Aspiring to be held by a calming release? Here's ‘Ilang Tulog Na Lang’ for you!

This track gives off a mellow love song vibe, with a hopeful feeling while falling in love. It feels like home, walking with someone hand-in-hand, and even the warmth of a close embrace. It also compliments the listeners throughout the song, with the line “Kalawakan ko ang ‘yong kamay”, confessing their love for their significant other in a poetic way.

‘Ilang Tulog Na Lang’  gives us the relatable feeling of being safe whenever we are around with our loved ones. 

“Thinking about Ilang Tulog Na Lang, hay what a time to be alive when someone out there is waiting for you to come home to them.” — @_patandagnes on Twitter.



'Kayumanggi’

“Pagkapanganak hanggang sa paghimlay, yakapin ang kulay.” 

Not only this track encourages us to be proud of who we are, Kayumanggi’s lyrics also tells us to love ourselves regardless of our skin color and our place of origin.

According to Ben&Ben, “It is an anthem that embraces the beauty and richness of the Filipino identity,” Aside from being a nationalistic song, fans said that Kayumanggi also soothes them as they sleep. This makes “Kayumanggi” a perfect bond that ties in the entire album beautifully.




“This song is like a lullaby. It's giving you peacefulness and contentment, a song that you will definitely wanna hear before you sleep” — Charmant on YouTube.