By Ian Urrutia

Nobody writes Pinoy love songs like Iego Tan does. His singer-songwriter alter-ego, Shirebound and Busking, defies the hugot rulebook by dredging up the romantic in the ephemeral. His songs are idle conversations or internal monologues stripped to the core: no sorting of residual feelings, no grand metaphors that define love, no promises for the paths to cross again. But what makes it work is the element of kilig that slowly and masterfully unfolds in the process. The charm never dissipates even when he holds back by concealing his intent with irony or sarcasm (“A Million Little Things,” “Waltz Of Four Left Feet”). Without stating the obvious, he makes us want to, sort of, believe in love again.

Shirebound and Busking’s “Miss Mosh” reflects Iego’s flair for the everyday mundane. Seldom do we hear a confessional like this track that is quite uncertain of the act of admission, but takes comfort in writing a song anyway about a girl that happens to catch his fancy, in a mosh pit, of all places. The jangly indie rock verses tend to lean towards complementing the themes of romantic yearning, which reflects that one fateful encounter while driving on his way home. As the song approaches the chorus, everything goes haywire and snot as punk: the mosh pit becomes the narrative’s center stage, and the instrumental breakdown evolves into the main hook, inviting random bodies to smash into each other out of sheer joy and excitement.

Iego subverts the framework of pop music without breaking away from its very essence. He dismantles the structure of what qualifies as a chorus, and writes comfortably from a place of earnestness and experience. And when “Miss Mosh” ends with a quote and translation of a line from Ang Bandang Shirley’s “Nakauwi Na”—the very same song that shares an affinity with Iego’s songwriting style and wit—he somehow rekindles the exact, same feelings in a different timeline, allowing us, listeners to hear the beating of his heart, and maybe the countless others who might have the same story to tell. “Being with you feels like I’m home already,” he sings, bringing smiles to our faces. Without resorting to embracing the promise of forever or capturing the enormity of romance, Shirebound and Busking effortlessly evokes both the nuances and pleasures of young love. He takes us to a journey that feels like the ride of a lifetime.

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