The OPM of today is fragmented. The internet led to the democratization of music production and easier accessibility of foreign artists —which then led OPM to become more niche. But back during simpler times in the 2000s, when Tower Records and NU 107 were still alive, OPM was big. Unifying even. It had everyone’s ears, across economic class, including mainstream media. So to help you jog your memory, here are some of the Filipino songs, albums and artists that made 2006 a remarkable year for OPM:
1. Up Dharma Down - Fragmented
Up Dharma Down, or UDD as they are now called, released their debut album Fragmented under Terno Recordings in 2006. The band’s mix of post-rock, electronica and soul stood out from their pop-rock contemporaries. Their breakthrough opened the doors for other more experimenting artists in the years to come.
2. Sitti - Café Bossa
Sitti and Café Bossa’s success single-handedly brought forth the Bossa Nova trend. The album reintroduced Bossa Nova a.k.a. a new way of covering popular songs aside from straight-up acoustic (almost all the songs in the album were covers except for Para Sa Akin). Record companies saw this opportunity and launched their own female Bossa Nova singers but none stuck as much as Sitti (remember Sabrina, Sofia and Raffi Quijano?). So yeah, you can blame Sitti for Bossa Nova being the coffee shop and wedding reception staple that it is today. Later in 2006, Sitti released her Sitti Live! album
3. Urbandub's Mainstream Breakthrough
Urbandub had been a hidden gem of sorts before 2006. They achieved moderate success years with their songs “New Tattoo” and “Soul Searching” being part of the NU 107 playlist (“Soul Searching” won Best New Song in the 2003 NU Rock Awards). In 2005, they released their third album Embrace, their major label debut which included their breakthrough single “First of Summer”. I still remember screaming "PARKED CAR, THIS NIGHT SKY MAKES CITY LIGHTS SHINE LIKE DIAMONDS!!!" every time my friends and I here it on the radio. The band also released their follow-up single "Endless, Silent Whisper" in the same year.
4. Kamikazee - Maharot
Kamikazee, like Urbandub, had moderate success before 2006. Often associated with Parokya Ni Edgar, the band came to their own after releasing their sophomore album which featured the NU 107 Song of the Year "Narda".
5. Kala and Manila Sound
“Manila Sound” was the label used to describe the Filipino pop-funk of the ‘70s popularized by acts such as VST Co., Hotdog and The Boyfriends. In 2006, Manila Sound was reintroduced by Kala’s commercial hit, “Jeepney”. This new Manila Sound was supposed to be the next big music trend but not much happened afterwards. Kala eventually released their debut album Manila High the following year, along with other New Manila Sound artist SinoSiKat?
6. Chicosci - Chicosci
Before 2006, Chicosci was already an award-winning rock/metal band that had already released three albums. On their fourth album, they looked to tweak their sound towards a more pop and emo direction (even their aesthetic). It was a surprise change for their long time fans but this change in sound did bring them more mainstream success.
7. Imago - Blush
Imago continued their mainstream push after their song "Akap" from their album Take Two with Blush. Their first single, Taralets was a far departure from Akap. Akap was a somber slow-rock song about hitching a ride inside your lover's car's trunk while Taralets was a colorful power-pop song about go-karting.
Stray thought: What's with Imago and moving vehicles? Sundo's video had the band's singer Aia De Leon riding a bus.
8. Sandwich - Five On The Floor
Five On The Floor was Sandwich's first album after the departure of lead vocalist Mark Abaya. Raimund Marasigan's switch to lead vocals and the introduction of Mong Chavez proved to have added spunk and energy to the band. Their song "Sugod" along with Kamikazee's "Narda" and Urbandub's "First Of Summer" were the biggest OPM hits of that year.
9. Sugarfree - Tala-Arawan
Sugarfree continued their commercial success with Tala-Arawan. Dear Kuya's probably is their best music video with a whole parody version of Palibhasa Lalake along with showbiz legend Bella Flores. And we all know how Huwag Ka Nang Umiyak became an iconic meme thanks to Gary Valenciano's cover for ABS-CBN's Ang Probinsyano.
Stray Thought: Sugarfree also did the theme song for ABS-CBN's reboot of Panday starring Jericho Rosales and Heart Evangelista, entitled "Makita Ka Muli"
10. Sponge Cola - Transit
During the first half of 2006, Sponge Cola still had songs on the airwaves from their 2004 album Palabas ("Jeepney" and "Gemini"). The release of Transit was a statement of their intent to cement their place in the OPM scene.
Stray Thought: Bitiw became the theme song of Komiks Presents: Da Adventures of Pendro Penduko starring Matt Evans and Melissa Ricks.