“Is love still a thing?”
It seems like a line in a love song, but it’s a question raised by one of the country’s original rock bands, The Dawn, in a new song titled “Earth.”
The band is known for its anthem songs like “Salamat” and “Iisang Bangka.” This time, it asks the existential question amid the political, social, and even personal uncertainties.
“As human beings, when we’re faced with troubles that seem insurmountable, we tend to look the other way,” front man Jett Pangan explains. “Maybe not to say we’re in denial; it’s more of the fear of the unknown. It’s been a struggle to be a human being. There’s always the question: Can we go on like this? Is this the way we’re supposed to deal with things? Is there a better way?”
It’s not condescending, Pangan points out. In fact, he asks himself the same question. The pandemic also raised that big question. “We’re all hoping that after all these, we become better people,” he says.
Trust The Dawn to come up with a song that’s timely and relevant. Society has seen a rise in mental health concerns among the youth. A study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute states that between 2013 and 2021, there were twice the number of young Filipinos who felt loneliness, sadness, and being disliked.
One of the band’s guitarists, Rommel “Sancho” Sanchez, says that “Is love still a thing?” can also be read as “Is empathy still a thing?” He says that with the mode of communications now, it’s easy to be snarky. The band’s hope is that through “Earth” and this one powerful line, people will pause, reflect, and hope that they can be a little kinder.
Apart from its lyrics, there are many other reasons that make “Earth” distinct.
For one, it was recorded during the pandemic and every member of the band had to record individually. Drummer JB Leonor says he made a story with the drum parts alone. There’s a reason for every drum note.
For another, “Earth” is the last song that The Dawn bassist Mon Legaspi recorded before he passed away. And it was as an ode to him that the band committed to finish the track.
Sanchez was the last one to record the guitar parts. “I lost the recordings when my hard drive failed. We had to ask permission from Mon’s sister, and we asked a friend to help extract his parts. It was really difficult for me to record my parts,” he recalls.
The song itself went through a lot and now that it’s here, it’s definitely a treat not only to the band’s loyal fans but also to everyone who appreciates great music.
The warm reception to “Earth” inspires the band to keep going. Credit goes to guitarist Francis “Kiko” Reyes, who says that during the pandemic, the band continued to connect creatively. Pangan says that with all his rally calls and with the reception to the new song, all expectations point to a new collection of songs, or an EP.
Recognizing also how dynamic the music industry is these days, The Dawn wants to make sure that it is part of the action. With labels and genres now blurred, Pangan adds, people are more accepting of the music they listen to.
Through the years, the band has been blessed with a platform to be heard. This time is “Earth’s” time. And The Dawn will go where music takes it. No pigeonholing, just true love for music.
“Earth” is now on Spotify and YouTube.
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