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HUESPAPER BY THE NEW HUE

Manila, Philippines

Best 23 OPM Songs of 2023



What. A. Year. For. OPM.


As the year comes to a close, the music landscape keeps changing, delivering an enthralling fusion of contemporary sounds and classic inspirations that is winning over listeners everywhere. We explore the diverse world of Filipino songs of 2023 in this investigation, appreciating their distinctive stories, avant-garde sounds, and long-lasting influence on the development of the nation's musical identity.


Here we look into 23 of our personal favorites for the year in no particular order:


Alam Ko Na -- DENȲ , Just Hush, Third Flo'


One of the newest names in the Filipino R&B music arena, DENȲ is a Quezon City native. representing WAYBETTER, an artistic group made up of directors, producers, audio engineers, and artists. Alam Ko Na collaborates with local musicians Just Hush and Third Flo on her debut album, LOVES7AGE.



Atin-Atin Lang -- Al James, Flow G


We now have a collaboration between the megastars Al James and Flow G, two of the biggest performers in the Philippines. You should add "Atin-Atin Lang" to all of your playlists because it is a smooth and catchy song that is worth listening to again. Although sonically the song isn't what you would expect from the two, fans will nonetheless find it to be a nice and upbeat surprise. Apart from the upbeat chorus, the recently released song also features a positive music video that was made by Y.Stacey & Naki.



Gusto -- Zack Tabudlo Feat. Al James


Two of the biggest musicians in the Philippines have now collaborated on an unquestionably successful track! For his latest single, "Gusto," popular streaming musician Zack Tabudlo teams up with Pinoy hip-hop artist Al James. Both hitmakers showcase their songwriting skills on this genre-bending tune, which also talks about suppressing feelings for romantic interests.



Panahon -- Unique Salonga


"Panahon" reminds you of "Imagine". If it were only the softer, more romantic pieces on this record, it looks kind of inspired by John Lennon's work with the Plastic Ono Band.


Daisy caught us off guard. Appearing out of nowhere, Unique preaches "simplicity, peace, and love" as the metaphor for his third album. This record is full with nostalgia on its own. Daisy has a music produced by Unique that fits its concept, a sentimental, innocent ambiance. Even though the record is short, its vivid core's lo-fi, dreamlike quality makes for a pleasant, soothing listen, similar to "a memory of a memory." OPM pop at its most hypnagogic.



VIVID (Reimagined version) -- Ena Mori


Ena Mori knows how to flip you over. Winning the Album of the Year, Ena does't know how to stop and gives us a different take on her hit song, VIVID. This one allows you to enjoy the song in a slower pace that gives you time to dive into the lyrics of the song.



Fendi -- August Wahh


For my females, gay guys, and everyone else working hard and looking hot as hell, here's a Boss Bitch Anthem!


"My interaction with a hostess named Fendi, whom I much admire, served as the inspiration for FENDI. She is genuinely hustling because she is aware of how attractive she is, people; she is also very honest!" said August.



ERE -- Juan Karlos


The album's second track, "ERE," is four minutes and forty-four seconds of everything we adore about Juan Karlos deeply felt lyrics about a guy who feels deceived, coupled with vocals that capture that anguish and sorrow. Therefore, it makes sense that the hymn has gained traction on its own—especially if you've recently been active on TikTok. Additionally, just two parts of the song have gone viral on ERE, in contrast to the majority of songs that do so.



Orasa -- Dilaw


The band Dilaw's latest single, "Orasa," is yet another example of their skill and originality. The song, which is known for its infectious chorus, unpolished sound, and sympathetic lyrics, never fails to enthrall listeners and establish Dilaw as one of the most important up-and-coming musicians in both the domestic and global music scenes. Dilaw's music will surely continue to strike a chord with listeners from all walks of life as they eagerly anticipate their upcoming releases.


Small Town -- Clara Benin


The Parallel Universe singer continues to acknowledge that the world is changing and that unlearning people and places may be a rewarding approach to take charge of one's life and destiny in her new track, "small town."


“Small town was inspired by my high school experience living in the province, where it was inevitable to bump into someone you know when you’re out in public,” Benin reveals. “It’s a post-breakup song about trying to find yourself again and struggling because everything around you reminds you of your ex.” said Clara.



Roots -- Armi Millare


With "Roots," Armi appears to shy away from the grandiose and return to her artistic roots. It is replete with her signature penchant for laid-back rhythms, thoughtful poetry, and deft melodic craftsmanship. In other words, Millare is finally back in her element.


“The song ‘Roots’ is about opening up to the different systems of belief and experiencing it from an omnistic perspective, a state of discovery and certainty in something that may be seen as abstract. The style of the song is in Future Soul—a nod to the late ’90s and 2000s contemporary pop and R&B, which can be heard in the album “South Node”,’ Millare adds about her latest release.



More -- Gabby Suzara


Gabby Suzara wants her own mark. Being a second generation musician from the well-known Suzara clan, Gabby is one of the upcoming Filipino R&B singers in the industry now. Her debut track, "More", gives away on what flavor to OPM she has to offer.



G.K.Y.A.M. -- Adie


The new song "G.K.Y.A.M." by award-winning Filipino singer-songwriter Adie is an acronym for "Gusto Kita 'Yan Ang Mahalaga," which Adie and Franz Sacro wrote together.


"G.K.Y.A.M." offers a new take on groovy OPM pop, making lovers of this genre feel happy, romantic, and danceable. On Spotify, it has already received 300,000 plays and counting!



So Fire -- James Reid


Without a doubt, the song is a lively bop that will go great with your playlists for evenings out or relaxed car rides. You will be dancing the entire duration of this song because it embodies all the positive vibes.



Raining in Manila -- Lola Amour


Our rainy days now have it's official anthem.


Raining in Manila's lyrics eloquently convey the feelings associated with the wet metropolis.

Lines like “It’s been raining in Manila, hindi ka ba nilalamig?” and “So, I’ll be waiting in Manila kahit di ka na babalik” arouse feelings of want and longing, creating a striking portrait of a love lost in the pouring rain.


The band's distinctive sound combined with the sincere expression in every word produces an engrossing musical experience that touches the core of the soul.



Maria Hiwaga -- Sassa Gurl


Maria Hiwaga, an R&B song that Sassa officially released at the beginning of June, features strong drug metaphors as she sings and raps about falling in love with a specific someone while adopting a more manly image. If you didn't know who wrote the song, you would assume Maria Hiwaga was Al James' newest hot single, but Sassa defies stereotypes once more, demonstrating her flexibility. We can even get a BGC boy anthem from Mima. Essentially, Sassa is criticizing Filipino hip-hop musicians who like to boast about women and vices in their songs. More significantly, though, Sassa is demonstrating that LGBT artists can succeed in a medium that is traditionally dominated by men.



Tugmang Preso -- Loonie


The longest track on the album, "Tugmang Preso," has fans especially enthralled since it goes into great detail about Loonie's actual encounters with police accusations of selling high-end drugs and using illegal drugs, as well as his incarceration from September 2019 to January 2020.


The sixth song on the album told the story circumstantial of Loonie's involvement in the police buy-bust operation, which resulted in his and four other people being taken into custody on September 18, 2019, in a hotel in Poblacion, Makati. Through the rap song, he frankly explained how the cops were arrested by civilian authorities at the hotel after they were reportedly caught planting marijuana in his location.



GENTO -- SB19


The "GENTO" narrative conveys a strong message. Everyone looks for treasure, but very few recognize the path that leads to it. The truth is, the music video opens in an ancient Filipino house. They never go out of it. They remain in scene after scene. Because the gold ore is a treasure that has always been inside of them and with them, they labor to get it out. The world is looking for wealth, but not everyone is prepared to confront the refiner's fire required to turn it into treasure, or to undertake the grunt work required to pursue it effectively. SB19 completed the task. They have encountered fires. They're prepared.



Autumn -- Ben&Ben


"Autumn," which ushers in a new era for the group, takes a fresh approach and unveils nuanced nuances with every listen. Rich, acoustic arrangements, luscious textures, and ethereal accents are expertly blended in this heartfelt song, which is skillfully composed to evoke the longing of being in a relationship that is long-distance.


The award-winning band explains in a collective statement, “Autumn is a song where we showcase how we’ve evolved and matured as a band. Writing-wise, we felt the perspective was a more realistic and mature take on the subject. Arrangement and production-wise, we discovered a lot of new ways to express sounds that achieve the emotion we were going for.”



Two Feet In -- Mix Fenix


Known for her quirkiness on social media, Mix Fenix has been making buzz on the Internet for jokes. She is not joking this time as she released her new song titled 'Two Feet In'. Produced by Raymund Marasigan, the track is her first release with Lockdown Entertainment.


She has been doing IG lives on Wednesdays with covers but this time, there's a whole vault of originals to look out for. When we ask her what's different now with her take on music, she answered, "I already found my sound. It's Neo-Blues."



711 -- TONEEJAY


The themes of unity in achieving goals and freedom to live the life we choose are what set Toneejay's music apart. Toneejay gave us a glimpse into his life by sharing parts of his experiences in lyrics.


In contrast to his other songs, the trending track's honest and uncomplicated lyrical style helped it become popular. It elevates the listeners' spirits and motivates them to strive after their dreams.



TT (terrible things) -- bird.


The Filipino indie rock group goes through the motions with the greatest of hearts in less than three minutes, accepting the notion that not all loves are perfect and deserving of being fought for.


Dreamy guitar tones that gleam in seashore summers and breezy, subtle tunes straight out of the Turnover playbook allow you to easily get lost in melancholy. And that's always a positive thing! Indeed, one of the tracks on their critically praised debut album, oshin, "TT (terrible things)," never ventures beyond this well-worn soundscape. Their acceptance of the more somber facets of self-examination challenges the idea that they are knowingly associated with soulless, uplifting music.



Patutunguhan - Cup of Joe


Cup of Joe surprises us from nowhere.


The band tells tales about the difficulties of falling in love and figuring out your place in the world, creating an atmosphere of coziness and warmth. Their hit song "Patutunguhan" made the crowd in Maskipaps Crossover awake at midnight. Truly a band to keep an eye on.



B.A.D. -- Denise Julia, P-Lo


“I want B.A.D. to be the song you play when you want to feel confident, pretty, and to embraceyour sexuality,” she shared. “It aligns with my goal of creating music that makes people feel beautiful and empowered, stemming from my past experiences of feeling out of place due to my appearance.”


"B.A.D." is seductive and sensual, representing Denise Julia as a lady who embraces her uniqueness and is at ease in her own skin. We had a conversation on the "B.A.D." music video, the song's meaning, the value of representation, her debut album, and other topics with the rising star of the Philippine music scene.


All hail the Queen we say. Denise Julia, Patron Saint of Situationships, Pray for us.




Honarable mentions:


N.O.W. -- Miaow, Gabby Suzara and Tirso Ripoll

Shower Music -- PLAYERTWO

SITWASYONSHIP -- Janine Berdin

Tapusin Na Natin To -- Juan Karlos Feat. Paolo Benjamin

Hanggang sa Buwan -- Kenaniah


Now, if you want to have this playlist as your New Year countdown jam, stream it here. Happy New Year everyone! See you again on 2024!



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