Noon at Ngayon

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In 1997, Philippine male singer Blakdyak released his debut album, Noon at Ngayon (trans: Before and Now). Blakdyak has a fine, expressive voice, and uses it well in the reggae music that he specializes in here.

He's also a talented composer and has a knack for buoyant tunes; he wrote eight of the album's ten songs. His lyrics are enticing and cover various topics, including love songs that also highlight Philippine societal mores. He also writes some light-hearted affairs, such as a song about a band comprised of animals, as heard in "Hayop Na Combo" (trans: An Animal Band).

While reggae began as protest music in Jamaica, protest music doesn't have much of an audience in the Philippines, although there is plenty to protest about. This album was very popular and sold well, and "Modelong Charing" (trans: Model Homosexual) became a massive radio hit and a Philippine classic.

"Modelong Charing" is a novelty song that works off a quick, spry beat and catchy melody. It tells the story of a male transvestite who entices a Japanese national to unwittingly fall in love with him/her. Things fall apart when the Japanese national discovers that the "woman" he loves is really a man.

"Don't Do That Joey" is a musically engaging 1950s-inspired mix of doo wop and reggae, while "In Lab" (slang for In Love) borrows from Neil Sedaka's "Oh Carol." Noon at Ngayon is an enjoyable album, both musically and in the lyrics, and Blakdyak could handle protest music if so desired.