Song Dissections attempt to look at songs just a little more closely, and maybe try to understand why they make us feel the way they do. Today, we’re looking at James Reid latest release, “On Top.”
Just a few days ago, James Reid, after much excitement from both his fans and the music industry, had finally released his latest album, entitled “Palm Dreams.” Released under Viva Records, the album was produced by Paulo Tiongson and Reid himself, with the latter being given full control on the overall creative direction—songwriting, arrangement, and production—of the album. This creative independence is evident in many of the songs, and showcases how great an album can be when an artist is simply allowed to be an artist.
One particular song which stands out is “On Top,” a collaboration between James Reid and close friends Sam Concepcion and Bret Jackson (known as King WAW in the music scene). The lyrics are—plainly and simply—about sex, and makes no attempts at hiding it or masking it with romantic metaphors or flowery imagery: “I just want you on top of me, I'll show you what you're missin’, If you go down, and start kissin’.”
Vulgar as the lyrics may seem to be, the way it was arranged and composed—plus the way the artists interpret the song—makes one feel that the song was created in the context of a relationship, wherein sex is merely one part of the many facets of companionship. It’s in stark comparison to many comparable songs in the genre which isolates the sensual aspect, objectifying the act, and is—in many ways—simply disrespectful of one’s humanity.
On Top’s straightforwardness and succinctness is rare in the Philippine music industry, especially from a high-profile artist like James Reid. But in a way, that’s what makes it special: it’s honest and at the same time realistic, and in no way makes any attempt to sugarcoat the things we don’t talk about often enough. Sex, in the context of a healthy relationship between partners, is integral, and is part of the nearly-infinite number of things that keep a relationship strong.
We definitely need more songs that capture reality for how and what it is, rather than deluding ourselves in romantic fantasy, and wallowing in romanticized sadness.
Watch the trio perform their song “On Top” on GGV in the video below:
Listen to James’ latest release on Spotify below:
And you can listen to his entire library of songs—also on Spotify—below:
What’s your favorite song by James Reid? Share it down in the comments below, or tweet them to me via @rafael_reynante!
Raf rarely gets bored. However, when he does get bored, he works out his mind by dissecting the hidden and subtle meanings of songs. He enjoys philosophizing on pop songs, traveling the Metro in his hatchback, exercising constantly, and collecting leather bags.