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Filipino Novelty Songs

Essay by   •  December 30, 2010  •  Essay  •  831 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,223 Views

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A novelty song defies the usual musical genres like alternative, rock and roll and pop, to name a few typical categories. Novelty songs are characterized by their humorous content and they often parody current events, trends or pop culture. They also have a catchy, simple melody which contributes greatly to the fame of the song and the composer. There are some critics who disagree with categorizing novelty songs as real music but this hasn't detracted the fame and contagiousness of these types of songs. For the past few years, the contagiousness of novelty songs has swept the Philippines. Many studio networks like ABS-CBN and GMA have recognized the popularity and commercial appeal of novelty songs and it is rare now to go a day without being bombarded with a novelty song in the television, the radio or even the newspapers. But unlike the usual Western novelty songs which are bland and often fade into obscurity in spite of tremendous momentary fame, Filipino novelty songs are so unique because of our famous and distinctive Pinoy humor that is incorporated into these songs. There are three features in the formula of Filipino novelty songs. The first feature is the heavy use of double meanings and entendres. The second is a reference to a number or a food which is used in relation to the first feature. Lastly, the Filipino novelty song, like any other in the world, has to have a catchy melody.

The first feature is the use of double meanings and although it is not exactly unique to Filipino novelty songs, it is probably most used here. The double meanings are usually of a sexual nature and they slyly hint and poke fun at sex although, being a hidden meaning or an undertone of the song, it is never said bluntly or directly. It isn't just the lyrics of the songs that imply its hidden sexual meaning though. Everything, from the dance steps and costumes imply sex. Consider also that the dance groups that perform these songs like the Sexbomb dancers and the Viva Hot Babes base their popularity on sexuality. Perhaps the reason behind the popularity of these hidden sexual connotations is because Filipinos are a very conservative race and although we are becomingly increasingly more liberated and open about sex, most of us still find it a little taboo or embarrassing to mention it so openly.

The second feature I've observed of Filipino novelty songs nowadays is that they usually refer to a particular food or number. We have songs like Jumbo Hotdog, Halukay Ube, Pito-Pito, Spageti Song and Ocho-Ocho. I really don't know what they've found so interesting about hotdogs or about the number 88, but I think the reason behind their use could be well associated with the first feature. They can easily be attached with sexual connotations, therefore providing the song with double meaning. With that, I wouldn't be surprised if in the



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