Back in the 1970s, we lived on Cuangco St,. Barangay Pio del Pilar, Makati, Metro Manila. I had a number of best friends in those days; they were usually my neighborhood playmates, among whom were the brothers Merilles (Joel, Aldrin, Jonathan, and Jeffrey). Their family lived just about three houses away from ours. The eldest of the brood, Joel was my batchmate; we were quite inseparable in those days, especially when we were in Grade Four. However, in 1980, their family relocated to somewhere in Sucat. In those pre-Internet and even pre-cellphone days, when childhood friends transfer residence, that was it--you usually didn't see each other again. After several years more, it was my family's turn to transfer residence; and we never saw each other again.
In those days, when childhood friends said goodbye, it usually meant farewell.
A few years ago, I started searching on Facebook Joel until I stumbled upon someone who knew the brothers. In short, I got in touch with Aldrin again. I felt really sad and surprised when he told me about the death of his Kuya Joel in 1995 because of an illness which rendered Joel bedridden at a hospital for months.
Last week, I messaged Aldrin to invite him to our gig in Sucat. To my delight, he with his friend Joseph Pama showed up. Seeing each other after 33 years was really wonderful especially to someone like me who has a vivid memory of my childhood and who values friendship highly.
Of course, in the passing of time, long-separated childhood bestfriends could never be that close again. That's a reality. But just the fact that we've seen each other again and learning what happened to each other's life was enough to satisfy your sense of wonder about long-lost friends.
To Aldrin: I felt really good meeting you in person after more than three decades. For a fleeting moment we were face to face and talking lively with each other, I felt as if I was back in the 1970s when we were not even 10 years old.
Thanks also to your friend Joseph Pama for expressing delight and appreciation for the music of my band.
May you, guys, continue to live a fairly good life.
Here's to our childhood memories!
I with my '70s childhood friend Aldrin Merilles (in red/white shirt) with his friend Joseph Pama (blue shirt)
My trip to the Philippines is a longer one--from Winnipeg (Manitoba, CAN) to Edmonton (Alberta, CAN) to Vancouver (British Columbia, CAN) to Taipei (Taiwan) and finally to Metro Manila (Philippines). It's about 300 dollars cheaper this route.
Inconveniences and Nuisances
On my trip to Edmonton, the guy beside me had a b.o., and then the young couple in front of us were yacking with the young guy adjacent to them--on the entire trip--they were even engaging one of the stewardesses in their conversation. That was really annoying--because those passengers were really loud.
It reminded me of the English-language-only policy at our work.Most of the times, it's not really about the language that you use in speaking but rather it should be more about how you use whatever language you are speaking in:
Don't be too loud in public places, especially in enclosed areas like the inside of an airplane where there are many people who are tired of the travel and just wanted to take a rest or even a nap!
Be discreet and sensitive and considerate of the people around you.
Dragging and Lonely
Of course I'm excited with my going to the Philippines, especially because of the music-related activities that I plan to do there: watch the concert of the bands Modern English and The Alarm, play a few gigs with my former bandmates in Half Life Half Death, and particularly recording at a studio some original songs with them. However, because I am alone in my trip, the journey is lonely and dragging. I have no one to talk with.
Inna and Evawwen saw me to the airport in Winnipeg. If only they could go with me. As much as we'd like for all of us to go on the vacation together, we could not; it's too expensive. Next planned vacation we will.
As I kissed Inna and Evawwen goodbye, Evawwen said to me, "I will miss you, Daddy!" I was about to shed a tear when he followed it up with, "Daddy, don't forget the toys I like when you come back--Voltron and Voltes 5 toys!" It made me smile.
Reading Books Again
Admittedly, in the Internet age, when learning and entertaining one's mind may be fulfilled simply by spending time on the Internet, reading a book has become a challenge. Well, at least for me. Yes, I still read books regularly; but my speed in finishing a book has become slower compared with how I read books years ago. This is the reason when I was debating with myself a few days ago if I would bring a music player on my trip to while my time during the travel, I eventually decided not to being any media player. I chose to bring a book. I knew that my boredom in this trip would compel me to read without any distraction. The next issue for debate was what book I should bring. You can imagine my dilemma, just staring at the hundreds of books in the shelves.
I picked up Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche & Kafka (1997) by William Hubben. This is one of the countless books in my collection that I haven't read yet. Just like any bibliophilist (book collector), I am yet to read more than 50% of the books in my personal library. I don't even think that I could ever read all of those books. At least, I have an idea what most of these books are about, and that should suffice for now.
Every time I'm driving, music is always on. On our way to the house of one of Inna's uncle, where we would be parking our vehicle while I'm away, music was playing. The last four songs that played were "Never to Forget You" by The Lovers Speaks, "Young Manhood" by The Wild Swans, "Love Scattered Lives" by The Desert Wolves, and "Braveheart" by Vermont Sugar House.
And now I'm still here at the Vancouver airport. I arrived here at around 9 p.m. (Vancouver time), and my next flight (to Taipei) is not until 2:00 a.m. That means a five hours' wait. Good thing, there's free WiFi here and many plug-in stations.
When I put in my backpack the book I was reading to check my mails and write this blog entry, I realized that I am already halfway through the book. Hmm. Maybe I should go on long trips more often, so I can read more books again and at a faster pace.
I hope I can get a good sleep in the plane, considering that Vancouver to Taipei will take about 12 hours and 30 minutes.
"Is it possible to become a saint without believing in god?" asked Albert Camus.
Well, it depends on one's definition of 'saint.'
If 'saint' simply pertains to a "very compassionate and responsible person--whether that person is religious or not, or a believer of God or not," then one could be a saint even without a belief in the existence of a god.
(On the Basic Human Need to Have Social Icons) by aLfie vera mella (published in the December 5-20, 2007, issue of Filipino Journal, a Winnipeg-based newspaper)
Aminin mo na! Huwag ka nang magpa-sosyál. H’wag kang mag-alala; hindi kita lalaitin o pagtatawanan. Wag ka nang mahiya na malaman ng buong mundo na mahilig ka sa showbiz, o di kaya’y meron kang iniidolo o minsang hinangaang mga artista—Mary Walter; Ric Rodrigo; Walter Navarro; Dondon Nakar; Nora Aunor; Dolphy; Low-Waist Gang; Niño Muhlach; Bentot; Pepsi Paloma; Tetchie Agbayani; Julie Vega; Wengweng; Palito; Cachupoy; Panchito; Kuya Germs; Regal Babies; Liberty Boys; Tito, Vic & Joey; Streetboys; Robin Padilla; Andrew E; Freddie Aguilar; Viva Hotbabes; The Hunks; Ann Curtis; o Heart Evangelista?
Ching Nolasco-Calayag, FJ columnist aLfie vera mella, and Charina Corbillon with Filipino stars Piolo Pascual, Marietta "Pokwang" Subong, Sam Milby, and Pinoy Dream Academy participant Kristoffer Abrenica of Winnipeg; October 26, 2007, postconcert dinner at Buffet Square
Haynaku, kung ililista ko ang lahat ng mga artistang Filipino—mula noong tambalang Carmen Rosales at Rogelio dela Rosa ng 1950s, Gloria Romero at Eddie Gutiérrez ng ’60s, Guy & Pip ng ’70s, Dina Bonnevie at Alfie Anido ng ’80s, Judy Ann Santos at Wowee de Guzman ng ’90s, hanggang sa kasalukuyang loveteam nina Toni Gonzaga at Sam Milby—e siguradong kukulangin ang isang buong papel ng listahan.
Peek at the Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous
Nothing is embarrassing or degrading about having a keen interest in showbusiness happenings, or about idolizing (or should I say, admiring) particular artists—whether actors or musicians. This interest is a natural human tendency—a hidden desire to peep into the kaleidoscopic lifestyles of the so-called rich and famous, or the need to find personal icons who will inspire us on our own endeavors or who will personify our own aspirations and realize our fantasies. Yes, nothing is wrong with all these, as long as this “stargazing”—just like any other preoccupation—does not affect us in a negative way. For instance, we should not find ourselves spending our meal budget on concert tickets, prioritizing TV shows over homework and other chores, or worst, emulating the misdemeanors or extravagant spending habits of such public figures.
Not Only Filipinos
I usually hear comments that mock the fondness of many Filipinos for movie stars, telenovelas, loveteams, and other showbiz-related stuff. On one hand, this is true, but nothing should be surprising about it. Every country has its own version of Hollywood, and this only means that showbiz is a lucrative business; and without patronizers there would be no showbiz at all. Therefore, showbiz and fans exist in every corner of the world, not only in the Filipino culture.
Haven’t you seen on TV the number of North Americans who go gaga every time the search for the next American Idol or Canadian Idol is on? Ever heard of Bollywood – obviously India’s version of Hollywood? Didn’t you know that Korean telenovelas are popular not only in the Philippines but also in other Asian countries? Here in Canada, have you tried watching MuchMoreMusic and see how many screaming fans gather around the music television’s homebase in Toronto, Ontario, every time Rockstars like Avril Lavigne and Nelly Furtado are in the house? Moreover, if we include sports as a part of showbusiness, then we should have to include the throngs of jersey-clad Canadians who talk endlessly about hockey or football whenever either sport is in season. Basketball or curling fan, anyone?
In the mid-’90s, with a Viva Records–produced album on our sleeves, I and my former band Half Life Half Death had the chance to trot alongside some of the popular Philippine stars of the decade: Regine Velasquez, Michelle van Eimeren, Jaimie Rivera, and Pops Fernandez.
The Hollywood Syndrome
In every culture exists a social phenomenon which I will call the Hollywood syndrome – the need of a society to identify with so-called social icons, or famous personalities (even infamous ones, and not necessarily movie stars) whose lives have become—for whatever reason—public items or commodities, making them powerful and influential but also exposed and vulnerable at the same time. To ordinary people, these public figures serve as role models, realizers of fantasies, shock absorbers of angst and frustrations, scapegoats or objects for displaced emotions, and epitomes of the best and the worst. They are admired, adored, loved, ridiculed, scorned, scrutinized, and regarded for any public act of compassion or blamed for any simple misdeed and, worse, for the world’s moral deterioration.
After all, social icons have more and better means of pursuing what ordinary people can only fantasize about. We like watching our favorite stars walk on the red carpet of fame, with hundreds of fans indulgently screaming behind them. We like witnessing our favorite teams winning every game in flying colors. We love having the chance to peek at their extravagant lifestyles, hundred-acre estates, hoards of jewelry, priceless wardrobe and vehicle collection—expensive assets ordinary people only dream about. On other days, we may secretly enjoy seeing them fail in their relationships, break the law and find themselves incarcerated or at least publicly humiliated, self-destruct because of drug abuse and other excesses. Yes, we praise them for adopting a homeless dog yet curse them so easily for deciding to give the same dog away.
So that when they are successful and able to achieve the seemingly unachievable, we may feel that indeed nothing is impossible, and that we too are capable of reaching the seemingly unreachable. So that when they succumb to their follies, wallow in their miseries, or drown in their failures and downfalls; we may feel less guilty of our own foolishness, less alone and lonely in our own sadness, and less pathetic and miserable with our own misfortunes.
Sa Madaling Salita
Ikaw, ako, sila, malamang lahat ng tao—anuman ang lahi o paniniwala—ay may satispaksyóng nakukuha sa larangan ng showbiz. Interesado tayong masubaybayan o masilip man lang ang buhay ng mga hinahangaan o kinamumuhiang mga personalidád—artista man ang mga ito o kilala sa ibang tanghalang gaya ng sports o pulitika…
Because we all need social icons who would mirror our own vanities and reflect our own follies.
To Blame Solely the Failure of a System Is Scapegoating
Not to disrespect the memory of the University of the Philippines student who apparently committed suicide because she did not have the money to pay her tuition fee; but medically speaking, anyone who committed suicide had something wrong with her psychological health--she had mental imbalance and poor coping mechanisms.
Of course there are so many factors that contribute to the sad event of a person's committing suicide, but to blame solely the government or any societal system for this is also unfair and myopic.
If one follows the logic that the government or the failure of a system is the cause of such deaths, then how come there remain so many economically challenged people in perhaps any especially third-world or developing country and yet they are able to cope with the poverty and daily challenges by staying alive?
If suicide is a normal option for a normal or mentally healthy individual, then all people who are having difficulties in life would have committed suicide already.
But, why then, many choose to live?
For one obvious reason: They are mentally healthy, they have normal coping mechanisms, and they have a balanced psychological setup.
Therefore, to blame the government or the failure of a system for suicides or personal deaths like this, secondary to the failure to cope with such challenges, is a folly of scapegoating.
It's really long overdue that leaders and ordinary people in general start acknowledging the impact of mental illnesses and psychological disorders and how to treat these or how to deal with these properly instead of considering them lightly as good topics for comedy shows or everyday humor.
This English band may be regarded paradoxically as popular and obscure
at the same time—popular because their 1982 single “I Melt with You” continues
to be a favorite radio staple in many countries; obscure, for many people
recognize the song but not the band and usually dismiss them as a “one-hit
wonder” despite their seven-album discography that spawned several radio
Without further ado, here's the official video of "I Melt with You," the song that catapulted Modern English into international popularity but which also overshadowed the rest of the band's beautiful discography
I discovered Modern English in the summer of 1983. I was on a vacation
at the house of my Aranzamendez uncles and aunties in Better Living Subdivision
in Bicutan, Parañaque, Philippines, whose friends were into Punk Rock and New
Wave. I was only 12 years old! It was the era when youngsters preferred house
parties powered by mobile music over going to clubs. It was also the time when
movies could be watched at home by way of Betamax films. There were no VCDs,
DVDs, nor even VHS tapes yet. One day, my Uncle Edmon's friend Rey Aguila came
over with a new Betamax tape in hand. It was the 1983 film Valley Girl, starring Nicolas Cage (as a romantic New Waver who
lived downtown) and Deborah Foreman (as a happy-go-lucky girl who lived in the
valley). More importantly, the movie featured as the main theme song a track
called “I Melt with You,” by a band known as Modern English.
Here's the trailer of the 1983 film Valley Girl, which introduced me to the song "I Melt with You," as well as to the English band Modern English.
Formed in Essex, England, in 1979, Modern English may have eventually
become more known especially in the 1980s as a Pop-leaning New Wave group
alongside the likes of A Flock of Seagulls, ABC, Duran Duran, and Kajagoogoo; but it
actually started as a Gothic-sounding band in the league of Joy Division and
Mesh and Lace (1981)
You didn’t know how much I wanted
You didn’t know how much I needed
Shadows on the wall, staring from
Pent-up frustration, failed to
1. Sixteen Days
2. Just a Thought
3. Move in Light
5. The Token Man
6. A Viable Commercial
7. Black Houses
8. A Dance of Devotion (A Love Song)
After watching Valley Girl, I
craved for more of Modern English. Beginning in 1985, I finally acquired cassette-tape
copies of the band's albums. The first of these was Mesh and Lace, originally released in 1981 on 4AD Records. It introduced
me to the Postpunk/Gothic sound of Modern English—dark lyrics and haunting
vocals on a backdrop of low-register bass, pounding tribal beats, angular
guitars, and synthesizer drone. Tracks that best represent this description are
“Just a Thought”; “Move in Light”; “A Viable Commercial”; “Black Houses”; and “Dance of Devotion
(A Love Song),” a regular staple on WXB 102 during this Philippine FM radio
station’s heyday in 1986.
The title of this track, "Move in Light," is a reverse of the song's mood...dark, aggressive, cunning, calculating, unyielding, and relentless until the end.
"Black Houses" exemplifies Modern English's beginnings as a Postpunk/Gothic-driven band in the veins of fellow English bands Bauhaus and Joy Division.
After the Snow(1983)
Dream of better lives the kind
which never hates
Wrapped in a state of imaginary
I made a pilgrimage to save this
Never comprehending a race that has
long gone by
1. Someone's Calling
2. Life in the Gladhouse
3. Face the Wood
4. Dawn Chorus
5. I Melt with You
6. After the Snow
7. Carry Me Down
8. Tables Turning
This contains the song that catapulted Modern English into massive, commercial popularity—“I Melt with You.” I regard this album as the band’s
transition from its Gothic beginnings to its eventual New Romantic
predilection. While the brooding theme of the lyrics remained, the instrumentation
had become upbeat and more intricate and the melodies more catchy and engaging.
My other personal picks off this album are “Someone’s Calling” (another WXB 102
airplay regular in 1986), “Life in the Gladhouse,” “After the Snow,” “Carry Me
Down,” and “Tables Turning.”
"Someone's Calling" may be found in the same album that contains the massive hit "I Melt with You." This song used to be a regular staple on the Philippine FM radio station WXB102 during its heyday in 1986.
The trademark tribal drumming style in Modern English's music is highlighted in "Life in the Gladhouse."
Another distinct aspect of the music of Modern English is the chorus-and-flanger effected bass, which served not only as a backbone to many of their songs but also as a substantial component of their music's instrumentation. The characteristic of the bass playing, particularly in "After the Snow," may be described as a subtler take on the style of Peter Hook (Joy Division / New Order).
Is it something in the water
Did it fall from out the sky
I've never known a feeling like
I wonder why
1. Rainbow's End
3. Spinning Me Round
4. Ricochet Days
5. Hands across the Sea
6. Blue Waves
8. Chapter 12
As Modern English progressed, its music became more instrumentally
intricate and Classical-inspired. To classify the band at this point as New
Romantic is very befitting. The third album, Ricochet Days (1984), may be regarded as the peak of the band’s
musicality—a bittersweet mélange of basic Rock tools (electric guitars, bass,
drums, and synthesizers) and Classical instruments (piano, violin, cello, oboe,
and horns); the song structures were well-arranged and the instruments
meticulously layered. The album featured also Kate St. John (on oboe), a
primary member of another Classical New Wave group, The Dream Academy.
favorite songs in this album are “Rainbow’s End,” “Spinning Me Round,” “Hands
across the Sea,” “Blue Waves,” and “Heart,” which best represents the band’s New
Only one-hit listeners would claim that "I Melt with You" is the only great song of Modern English; "Hands across the Sea" is, in fact, a far more romantic and better-arranged song in my perspective.
Many music reviewers and even so-called fans dismiss Ricochet Days as a lackluster album—I wonder why—because the album is obviously well-crafted and full of catchy and meticulously instrumentated but easily digestible tracks. "Spinning Me Round," for instance, is such an attractive song.
When I first heard "Blue Waves" in 1985, I knew right away that this is the trademark sound of Modern English—angular rhythm guitars, repetitive and patterned lead-guitar melody lines, melodic bass lines, catchy choruses, and memorable keyboard lines intricately woven into each other.
No doubt, "Heart" is where one can find Modern English in their most graceful New Romantic state.
Stop Start (1986)
Well there it is in black and white
No need to read between the lines
You made it clear to the letter
You’re breaking off the chains
1. The Border
2. Ink and Paper
3. Night Train
4. I Don't Know the Answer
5. Love Breaks Down
6. Breaking Away
7. The Greatest Show
8. Love Forever
9. Start Stop / Stop Start
The fifth album geared toward an edgier type of Rock, emphasized by the
dominance of the guitar and the drums and by the obvious absence of Classical
instruments aside from the horns. The structures of the songs were also
simpler, not much instrumentation and mood changes. Nevertheless, the Postpunk
angularity of the guitars, the keyboard melodies, and the catchy choruses remain.
In some degrees, the changing tide of what’s commercial in the Alternative Rock
scene in the tail end of the 1980s has affected the musical direction of Modern
English; but remaining members Robbie Grey (lead vocals), Gary McDowell
(guitars), and Mick Conroy (bass, guitar) were somehow able to maintain the
trademark danceability and sing-along hooks of the band’s music. It is also
worth mentioning the fact that there were three guitar players in this album—McDowell,
Conroy, and new member Aaron Davidson, and this explains why the sound became
edgier and more guitar-oriented.
Recommended songs are “The Border,” “Ink and
Paper,” “Night Train,” "I Don't Know the Answer," “Breaking Away,” and “The Greatest Show.”
"Ink and Paper" and the rest of the album Stop Start (1986) may find Modern English in an edgier and more Rock-oriented style, but the whole album still carries the melodic catchiness and meticulous instrumentation the band's previous music was known for.
The opening track of Modern English's fourth album, "The Border," is an urgent cue to the band's shift to an edgier kind of New Wave.
Many music listeners focus their attention exclusively on the singles, failing to discover the beauty of entire albums. "I Don't Know the Answer" is a gem even many self-proclaimed fans of Modern English tend to ignore.
As we move through cruel waters
Give me strength to be by your
It’s so difficult sometimes to be
The years they leave us your side
1. I Melt with You
2. Life's Rich Tapestry
4. You're Too Much
5. Beautiful People
6. Care about You
7. Let's All Dream
8. Coming Up for Air
9, Pillow Lips
10. Take Me Away
In 1990, Modern English released its fifth album, which contains a
re-recording of “I Melt with You.” Pillow
Lips was supposed to be the album that would market the band to the
so-called U.S. audience, thus the new version of their most popular song.
However, by the entry of the new decade, the Alternative music landscape had
also shifted from the melodic and romantic New Wave to the heavier and rugged
Grunge. Modern English was one of the casualties. Before Pillow Lips could even make a mark on the scene, many of those who
used to laud them had already written off not only them but also the entire New
Wave genre. Because of this, many people who used to love Modern English failed
to discover the beauty of this album. This was inevitable for it was released
during the pre-Internet ’90s, when music fans were virtually slaves of
commercial media, a time when the taste of many music lovers was still greatly
affected by the radio and TV. The songs in this album were Synthpop-oriented, had
less guitar works and sprinkles of Reggae and Dubstep.
Personal favorites are “Life’s
Rich Tapestry,” “Beautiful People,” “Care about You” (which I regard as the
twin song of “I Melt with You”), and the slow ballad “Pillow Lips.”
I regard "Care about You" as the twin song of "I Melt with You" in terms of title, song structure, and melody. My only complaint about it is its having been titled as "Care about You," instead of "I Care about You" to make it more parallel with the title of its predecessor.
I think "Pillow Lips" is a song that even many fans of Modern English had overlooked for many years. Should we blame it on the massive appeal of "I Melt with You"? Nah, I blame it on the short attention span of many music listeners, who could not hold their loyal interest in bands that they claim they love, ready to move on as soon as commercial media begin to cast their spotlight on another new band. "Pillow Lips" is a slow somber ballad, in which Robbie Grey's vocal sounds like that of Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet.
In "Life's Rich Tapestry," someone familiar with the band's entire discography could easily describe Modern English as being in their most Synthpop preoccupation.
Everything's Mad (1996)
I’ve read your books
And seen your films
I’ve lived this life
And tried everything
But I don’t know anything
1. The Planet
2. That's Right
3. Waves (When I Cum)
5. I Can't Breathe
6. Here We Go Again
7. I Don't Know Anything
9. Flim One
10. The Killing Screens
Most likely because of the failure of Pillow Lips to crack the U.S. market, Modern English went on a
hiatus soon after the release of the album. In 1995, the band became active
again but with only vocalist Grey as the remaining original member, supported by musicians Ted Mason on guitars and Matthew Shipley on keyboards; and in the
following year released the sixth album, Everything’s
Mad. By this time, even many of the band’s long-time fans had no idea that
Modern English was still performing, much so that there was a new album. Musically,
this album may actually be considered a return to the band’s Classical roots.
After the Rock-heavy Stop Start and
the Synthpop-oriented Pillow Lips,
the band had again beefed up their music in this album with string instruments such
as the cello, violin, and viola and even adding a touch of Hindustani with the tabla
My favorite tracks are “I Don’t Know Anything,” “The Planet,” “Heaven,”
and “That's Right.”
The melody of the strummed guitar in the intro of “I Don't Know Anything” had a ring of The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.”
"Here Comes the Sun" is one of my favorite songs by The Beatles, included in the band's 11th studio album, Abbey Road (1969).
For “Heaven,” Modern English obviously used as a springboard the song “Cheek to Cheek” written by Irving Berlin and first performed by Fred Astaire in 1935.
Here is Fred Astaire's performance of the Berlin composition, "Cheek to Cheek," in the 1935 movie Top Hat.
In between low-key concerts in the United States, the band began
recording new songs in 2001 for a new album; but because of difficulty in
securing a record label, they were able to release the album, entitled Soundtrack, almost a decade afterwards.
There’s such a lot of tension
It’s almost everywhere
A sharp increase in volume
It fills the air
1. It's OK
5. Call Me
6. Here Comes the Failure
7. The Lowdown
8. Up Here in the Brain
9. Deep Sea Diver
10. Antique Future
The sound of Modern English in this album is somewhat similar with that
of Stop Start—edgier kind of Rock, guitar-oriented,
steady bass lines, simple song structures, with a very minimal use of the keyboards.
Overall, the music has the sensibilities of '90s Alternative Rock. I could hear traces of Gin Blossoms, The Lemonheads, The Replacements / Paul Westerberg, and Toad the Wet Sprocket in
some of the songs and also echoes of Ned's Atomic Dustbin. I don’t mind the simplicity; but because I know that Modern
English could be really musically creative and intricate—best exhibited in 1984’s Ricochet Days—I am still
yearning for yet another Classical-rooted album of new materials. I hope this is not only wishful thinking.
are “It’s OK,” “Here Comes the Failure,” and “Up Here in the Brain.”
I couldn't find on YouTube an uploaded video of any song from the album Soundtrack, so I decided to make a simple one myself just to be able to represent this album of Modern English in this article I've written. I am hoping that Modern English will include this on their playlist at their forthcoming concert in the Philippines, to dispel the criticism that they are only as good as their old songs.
According to the band’s website, a new album is soon to be finished. During
their 2012 U.S. tour, the band previewed one song, entitled “Moonbeam.” If the
sound of this song is to be taken as a cue for the rest of the album, then the sound
of Modern English is definitely back to its dark Postpunk beginnings. Meaning, I have to wait for two more albums before I may get something that would sound like my favorite Modern English album.
"Moonbeam," a new song by the all-original-members-present Modern English, apparently included in the band's soon-to-be-released eighth album. If this is a cue to what to expect to the sound of the entire album, their music is certainly back to their humble beginnings...Gothic and Postpunk. The circle would have then been completed.
Modern English is currently comprised by the reunited original members
Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar, vocals), Michael Conroy (bass,
vocals), and Stephen Walker (keyboards) with additional musicians Steven Walker
(guitar) and Ric Chandler (drums). The reinvigorated group is actually
performing in the Philippines with another classic Postpunk band, The Alarm, on
May 3, 2013, at SM Mall of Asia Arena. And this is the primary reason I decided to
push through with my plan to visit home again—I am watching these bands live! I
will also make sure that I get to have pictures with them taken and that my
Modern English and The Alarm records get autographed.
I'm ready with my stuff for possible signing for my trip to the Philippines to watch the concert of the NewWave / Postpunk bands Modern English and The Alarm.