In Love and War by Ely Buendia and Francis M: An Album Review

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In Love and War Album Cover

Two real life friends, Ely Buendia and Francis M., were once struggling each of their personal battles and showed to the whole world that their diseases/illnesses will not hinder their passion to make music. Clearly, the collaboration of musical talents of these two individuals created good music together. Even though Francis M. is not here anymore to hear the full album, his legacy lives on as one of the most talented artists in the Filipino music industry.

As far as I know, the album wasn’t finished yet when Francis passed away (correct me if I’m wrong here). There were songs where Francis’ vocals were not present anymore. I guess those were the songs that Francis wasn’t able to record.

There are 10 songs in the album, almost all of the songs there were written by Ely such as “Buzzkill”, “Hands On”, “Bum Ticker”, “Wasak Waltz” and the old song he composed for Francis’ Happy Battle album, “Unstrung Heroes”. “Bleeder” was written by Francis M. and Pia Magalona while Dream Date was written by Ely Buendia and Diane Ventura. There are two covers in the album namely “Bus Stop” by the Hollies performed by Ely and Hilera and It’s All Right Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) by Bob Dylan performed by Ely, Purplechickens and Radha. The carrier single since last year, “Higante”, was composed by both Francis and Ely.

Listening to the whole album is like hearing their thoughts and experiences on what they’re going through, most especially Francis as his was a grave disease. Hearing Francis’ voice feels like he’s still alive. I like all the songs in the album but my favorite is “Bleeder”, “Bumticker”, “Dreamdate” and “Wasak Waltz” and “Buzzkill”. Below are of some my favorite lyrics in the album:

“Bleeder
(Francis M. and Pia Magalona)

One drop is all I need
One time for me to breathe
One night for me to feed this fever
And sleep, sleep, sleep

Coz I’m a bleeder (bleeder)
C’mon and stick me with your needle (needle)
Coz I’m a bleeder (bleeder)
So give my vessels a breather (breather)

Clearly, this song talks about Francis undergoing the “needle” because of his medications and procedures that needed to be done to prolong his life. Hearing this song breaks my heart as if I am feeling what he underwent. I liked the beats and the minimalistic lyrics which was not usual for Francis as he does rap songs with long lyrics.

“Wasak Waltz”
(Ely Buendia)

Eto na naman
Panahon ng tag-ulan
Di maiiwasan sa buhay nino man
Tulad mo rin ako
Isang pulo sa dagat
Na walang hanggan
Naghahanap ng masisilungan

Itaas ang kamay
At iwagayway
Masarap mabuhay
Itaob na ang tagay
Saan ka man pumunta
Meron man o wala
Diyan nagsisimula
Ang wasak na pagsasamahan

The song seems to be a song of friendship. Ely vocals on this song depicted his vocals during the Eraserheads era. It somewhat reminded me of “Minsan” by the Eraserheads.

“Bum Ticker”
(Ely Buendia)

Casio was a calculator
With a wax pistol in his hand
They put him in an incubator
With a blues singing thyroid gland

People are always talking about you
People are always talking talking

Bum ticker in the moonlight
crawling on its hands and knees
If you got the Panacea
Then baby I got the disease

Bum ticker

FYI, Bum ticker is an American slang for “bad heart. Ely had a “bad heart” more than once and had angioplasties before. I loved the intensified drum beats and the chants of the line “bum ticker” throughout the song which I think is very appropriate to the meaning of the song. Thanks to Brigada and Hilera for intensifying the heavy beats in this song. It reminded me of “Insomya” of the Eraserheads ;).

Overall, the whole album is easy listening. In fact, it’s not the Ely Buendia type of songwriting in Pupil which is dark and obscure. This time, Ely’s songs had the “funk” most likely because of Francis’ influence. The collaborations with other artists such as Turbogoth, Radha, Hilera, Brigada, Pupil and Gloc 9 are what makes this album more interesting.

In the last part of “Unstrung Heroes” remix, you can hear Francis asking for blood donations. The first time I heard this really made me freak out and then made me sad after.

The album was just released a few days ago but this was already being anticipated by Francis M. and Ely Buendia fans months ago. Glad that the album turned out well although it’s only 10 songs.

I hope that there will be a listening party gig so that fans can hear the songs live. Elmo Magalona already takes over the mic for his pop so I guess this is ok :).

Here’s the performance of Ely Buendia and Elmo Magalona in Party Pilipinas wherein they first sang “Bus Stop”, the second single from the album.

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