Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

The soundtrack of our lives

Posted on November 06, 2016 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 6, 2016

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Illustration by IGAN D’BAYAN

As I write this, I am listening to the music of Simon and Garfunkel and other artists of the ‘70s. My iPod is on a playlist that I made of songs that mattered to me then. I was just in my teens when I first heard these songs. They still touch me to this day.

They defined many of my thoughts and feelings, which I could not figure out, much less express, by myself. They sang about the pains and joys, the anger and frustration, the angst of young people of that time, and the new world our generation dreamed of.

The songs were beautiful and the artists were cool as cool could ever be. They were expressive, opinionated, talented, novel, rebellious, experimental, chic, crazy, daring and they were making different kinds of music the likes of which the world had never heard before.

They were breaking from tradition in all ways. They did not look like their elders. They dressed very differently, they talked differently and they sang of love that was raw, real and honest. They also sang about politics, peace and changing the world. They moved my generation and touched us deep to the core. We could quote from the verses of these songs the way the religious can quote from the Bible.

It was a great time to be an artist and to make music. It was a time when artists understood what was going on, and the producers and executives just followed suit even before they could figure out the scene that was unfolding.

Having cut my musical teeth on the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Byrds, Fifth Dimension, Simon and Garfunkel, The Who, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Bee Gees, etc., spermizide – wie verhindern sie eine schwangerschaft? | ohnerezeptfreikauf my attitude and taste in music is wide, eclectic and very open. Memorizing hundreds of songs and being able to actually sing and play them was such a great education and achievement for me. My knowledge and familiarity with the chords and lyrics of these great songs of the ‘70s allowed me to express my emotions easier and gave me the template for writing my own songs.

While my generation was musically influenced by Western pop music, many of us consciously opted to write Filipino lyrics at some point. The rebellion in music was happening here, too, and it was tied up with the battlecry called “Filipinization.” In the campuses, the students were demanding more relevant education. By this they meant they wanted an education that was more in tune with the needs of the nation. Overnight, speaking in Filipino became the norm.

Some 40-plus years later, here I am listening to these artists-catalysts who shaped me as I grew up and led me to the same career that they were in. It is an exhilarating feeling actually.

Many of the singers on this playlist have retired. Some have even passed away. There are some who continue to perform. The music they recorded ages ago is still full of freshness, passion and genius.

Some years back, I used to mock the idea of one day becoming a “nostalgia” act. I felt it was a trap I did not want to fall into. That is why I continue to write new material. I just released my third solo album a few months ago. Yet, I must recognize that some songs I’ve written are as meaningful and “defining” to some people as the Western songs of the ‘70s are to me. I must respect that.

When I sing my old songs, I imagine that they must have been the theme songs of couples that trigger special memories of their youth, the musical background of many pledges of love they made that continue to touch them enough to renew their life-long commitments to this day.

More than listening to them as songs trapped in some era, some songs become timeless, and will always be relevant. These songs are shared with their children and even grandchildren who grew up listening to them, too, as the soundtrack of their lives.

I am proud of the music of my generation. Those songs were instrumental in developing our consciences and made us appreciate and even fight for universal values such as peace, equality, woman empowerment, tolerance, spirituality and yes, love!

If the world could just pause for a while and people would stop rushing to move to something new, if we could set aside the endless quest for new thrills and just listen to the music of my generation, we could hopefully re-learn what “cool” is really all about.

2 to “The soundtrack of our lives”

  1. Eilynne says:

    Yes, Jim. Songs of our generation are classics, timeless (like the Apo’s). Thank you for the nostalgic write-up. Please do me a favor, do you have old blogs that I can source from your archive which chronicles your life as a writer? How it began, etc. I need some inspiration from you, please

    • jimparedes says:

      This blog has almost all of my writings. I have 4 books. Humming in my Univeres, Between Blinks, Writing on Water, and As Is Where Is.. The last one you can download at lulu.com

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