Dey Rose’s New Single is a Kundiman-Tinged, Arena-Style Ballad

Dey Rose’s last advance single off her forthcoming debut full-length is a slow-burner with kundiman-flavored lyricism and arena-style balladry.

I have been writing about Dey Rose’s singles for a while now, and while it is heartening to witness her unflagging devotion to non-repetition (and to a certain extent, wringing the neck of every arrangement possibility) I continue to be enamored by the vacillating tensions in her songs: between hardnesses and softnesses, traditions and innovations, debilitating melodrama and the triumph of the self.

Her newest, “Mamahalin Magpakailanman,” is no exception.

A collaborative effort between Rose and her father—also the last single to be put out before she unveils her first full-length, the family audio diary of sorts that is Evelyn)—the track is a two-movement slow-burner which boasts of kundiman-flavored lyricism coupled with arena-style balladry.

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As always, Rose and her band churn out studio gold, sprinkling magic dust on an already-solid writing base. The performance, as is this specific group’s wont, retains an understated charm before erupting into poetic bursts of inspired flash and flame.

“[It] was written as a complete classic ballad about everlasting love: a confession of undying and unconditional love, a promise to love forevermore, against all odds,” Rose says in a release, even going so far as to say it qualifies as “hugot” fare.

Initially drafted a straightforward strummer folk, Dey Rose’s team later on gave in to layering tracks, adding much but mostly taking most away, looking like they’d succumb to horror vacui until they thought better.

The track’s “arena” leanings are most evident during the tense interplay between subtly-driven guitars and barely-there synths, played with stunning class and economy by Alvin Brendan and Ameer Coco, respectively (who also concurrently serving as co-producers).

Photo by Kayla Sullivan

That said, it never quite teeters on the edge of suffocating maximalism. “I felt that while we wanted to make it bit more modern sounding, we must still preserve the genuine ballad feel,” the Vancouver-based Filipina shares further.

“Pangarap ko’y tanging ikaw / Ang buhay ko’y alay sa ‘yo / Hinding-hindi ka iiwan / Mamahalin kailanpaman / Bayani mo’y lilipad na,” Rose intones with signature flair and drama, and like most declarations of this nature—superlative, with a dignified plaintiveness, “feeling the fuck out of things”—it is this intonation, this almost-reckless soul-baring, that is at the core of “Mamahalin Magpakailanman.”

I already lost count, but if I were you, I’d do a deep dive of all the advance singles from Evelyn. This is the last one, and the way the body of work is looking, it’s bound to be lopsided, but in a good way. That’s what I’m most excited about, in fact: the further incongruencies Dey Rose still has up her sleeve.

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