All-Filipino boyband 1:43 (pronounced as “one forty-three”) is set to release their debut slambook-album Time for Love under MCA Music this Wednesday April 27.
I first heard of 1:43 when their Christmas song Merry Christmas Na came out late last year. I had a rather unpopular opinion of them because I actually liked the song. Some people easily dismissed them as just another boyband trying to ride the K-pop bandwagon. On the other hand, I heard OPM potential in their song. Then came PiNK (Pag-ibig Na Kaya), a collaboration with fellow artist Myrus, and I was more convinced that 1:43 was going for a more Filipino sound, and not a K-pop sound as others wanted to point out.
I was very surprised when I listened to the whole album. The production and the actual songs themselves came as unexpected and pleasant surprises. The boys’ two singles Merry Christmas Na and PiNK come with three more original songs and their minus one versions.
The standout song from the album is Para Kang. This track is composed by multi-awarded composer Jojo Panaligan, also known as Yman, responsible for the 1996 Metropop Song Festival song Di Ako Marunong Kumanta. Para Kang got me so excited for the boys that I sent a text message to their manager congratulating them. If 1:43 can perform this song live and kill it, a part of me will become a fanboy. The song is so lively and so fun that my mind had it on repeat even after I stopped listening to it. Genius lyrics I never thought I’d hear: “falling star sa wishing well”. That line just captures it all for me.
The third track, Sa Puso Ko’y Ikaw is a love song composed by their friend Myrus, who is also featured in PiNK. This is the first recorded song ever written by Myrus. I can imagine 1:43 fans swooning over this ballad. The song’s melody very naturally captures young love in its freshest moments when it has just bloomed. The vocal arrangement is handled in such a way that the four boys sounded like they are echoes of a singular self. The song reminds me of that simple joy of carefully picking the best flowers to give a special someone.
The title track Time for Love, the only English song in the album, gives tribute to 1:43′s official fans club that bear the same name as the song. Myrus took care of the melody, and Eric Cabahug, who has worked with Nina and Alynna, wrote the lyrics. The song evokes a refreshing and youthful energy that fits the boys of 1:43.
With this album, I find that 1:43 is committed to become an OPM pop act with a direction. The overall sound is genuine and distinctly good Filipino pop, something I rarely hear in mainstream music today, and something the boys of 1:43 are willing to deliver.