January 6, 2011

A surprise appraisal of Circus.


(Note: This review was "composed" during a spur-of-the-moment listening spree on my iTunes. I tend not to articulate stuff too clearly during spur-of-the-moment listening sprees.)

No, this album does not contain Ligaya or Pare Ko. (UltraElectroMagneticPop!) It does not have Spoliarium, Hard To Believe, Para Sa Masa, or Andalusian Dog. (Sticker Happy.) It doesn't have Maskara or the vastly underrated Ultrasound and Outside. (Carbon Stereoxide. P.S.: I honestly believe Wala is one of the best E-heads ballads people have never heard.) And no, it doesn't have the one-two punch of Fill Her and (the immortal) Ang Huling El Bimbo. (Cutterpillow. I'll get to that one eventually.) But God help me, Circus is catchy, funny, witty, and occasionally chocked with touches of gallows humor.

In other words, Circus is a good album, God damn it.

Punk Zappa is a hilarious character. The surprise endings of Kailan and Magasin have become my moments of Late To The Punchline Fridge Brilliance. (Apologies for the TV Tropes jargon.) And With A Smile is surprisingly intimate yet transcendent. Admittedly Wating is baffling as hell with the Pinoy cinema klasiks sound bytes, but you can definitely still sort of sense the weird brilliance of it. The Regine Velasquez-esque outtro is unintentionally (or is it?) funny as well.

And oh my god, I may have never gotten plastered out of my mind before, but Alkohol is freaking awesome. And hilarious.

I'm not sure if the bonus track showed up on older presses of the album, but the lounge version of Kailan makes for a surprisingly good easter egg that doesn't feel like a waste of CD space, which is more than I can say for most other "bonus tracks" you'd find on other albums. The sheer afterthought-ness of it even meshes well with the album's overall concept in its own Bizarro way.

Almost makes you overlook the fact that this was a young Eraserheads, a fresh new band just on the blush of fame. (Wait, did that make sense?) I'm having a time trying to imagine this album back when it first came out, picturing in my head the stoned teenagers and closet music snobs all concurring that Circus is in fact the omen of greater things to come for this then-young group.


(Stay tuned while I attempt to form a solid opinion on "Sembreak" and "Minsan"!)

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