Prince Carlo Estrella

“Bakit ba ang hirap kalimutan ka? Sana ay hindi ka nalang nakilala.”

As someone who has been betrayed, been hidden from the plain sight of truth and clarity, and been emotionally gaslighted so many times by the persons that I have pursued in my life (and tried to move on to): relapsing is the worst part during the healing or moving forward stage.

Going around in circles through this type of stage could take a lot of your confidence and pride, especially when the night clocks in and it is rearing midnight again. That is what jbelga, Mardoix, Ar-Z, and Alpharadise did with “Relapse (Alas Diyes Na Naman)”. A sappy soundtrack to play in your headphones, as you slip through the timid and dull darkness of the night.

But, before we get into the review: who are these artists though? Well, these new artists came from Mandaluyong City for this freshly sounding and good hip-hop collaboration. John Armando Belga, also known as Jbelga, is the lead singer-songwriter of this song; Maureen Delos Reyes, also known as Mardoix, is a singer-songwriter, visual/painting artist, and theater artist, and lastly; Alpharadise is a Hip-Hop rap group consisting of three members named: Mark Ian “PEZ'' Lopez, Eldred “GK” Llanera, and  Fernando “Ar-Z” Abainza Jr.). Moreover, the song is also produced by jbelga himself, and Allan Benavides.

With their artistic collective in “Relapse (Alas Diyes Na Naman)”, the artists of the mentioned song is inviting its listeners, like you, to “connect with the universal themes of love, nostalgia, and the ache of repentance” and witness their song “ as a testament to the artistry and emotional depth of its creators''.

So without further ado, let’s see if the song really lives up to the narrative that these artists are promised to go for, or they would need more ‘relapsing’ in the studio.

“Ugat sa dibdib, tumigil ang puso sa pagtibok… Pag-ibig ba natin ay talagang wala nang pag-asa?”

Supported by a music video that starred the Genesis to Jesus Production, Inc. theater actors (Mateo Oladive, Valerie Ofiana, Meljohn Guimbaolibot, and Erhik Stuart Gonzaga), the song itself is looking, and sounding, like an evening night in the outskirts of Mandaluyong City as your eyes travel and wander through the high metropolis buildings. But underneath this bright layer comes the song’s slow and melancholic attitude—a lowkey reminiscent vibe which is opposite of the fast and uptempo Sunroof by Nicky Youre and dazy’s.

As the song begins, Mardoix’s theatrical-spoken poetry intro lyric progresses out to the song’s big catchy chorus which will then be partnered by jbelga’s singing on the lead.

Even though it might not get you hooked at the initial impression about it, it gets better over time especially when Ar-z’s verse two, goodkid.’s verse three, and PEZ’s (with Mardoix’s heavily robotized vocals underneath) pre-chorus hits. Lyric-wise, the song could be enjoyed by a wide range of people, no matter how Gen Z the term relapse is. But judging by its musicality, I believe that this song could be more enhanced, or better performed on wide crowds with a big heavy metal/rock band accompanying it.

“Masayang balikan palagi; Ala-ala na naging bahagi.”

Relapse (Alas Diyes Na Naman) is perfect for those people that are having a hard time this season of Valentine’s Day, and also for those people who need a serotonin boost amidst the gloom of a breakup. Because really, the music video enhances this song even more, and I could even relate to the part where the video had a musical silence and it’s just Mateo and Valerie fighting. Nonetheless, the song ‘as it is’ is already flexible because this song could be: danced, cried onto, sung along to, and even laughed at (as you recall your “marupok” moments and phase) because no one is limiting us to listen to very sad, depressing, and heartbreaking and shattering music especially this Valentine’s Day!

It is very fine to take care of your heart by putting yourself up first, and commemorating and celebrating your own hard pain away by dancing and just purely vibing into this song.

To end my review, I believe that “Relapse” is a good song for pure vibes and fun. The music video could be furnished more in somebody’s eyes but I believe that it is the ‘raw’ and ‘grittiness’ that makes this song live up to the essence of the song.

It is intentional and very theatrical with the look of its props and also the style of the visuals, and it surprisingly worked. Indeed, “Relapse” is a musical journey and an effective navigator to touch and connect within your soul… to find and define the true happiness and love within you.

Edited by Adrian Rex Sarsuelo