Song Dissections are all about looking at the parts of songs most people ignore, and focusing on them instead. Today, we’re looking at Up Dharma Down’s (UDD) anthemic sad song, “Tadhana.”
Undoubtedly one of UDD’s most popular songs ever, “Tadhana” was originally released as part of the group’s 2012 release Capacities under Terno Recordings. Though the band had already released several albums prior to Capacities—Fragmented in 2006 and Bipolar in 2008—it was undoubtedly “Tadhana” that truly brought the group into the mainstream consciousness. In their defense, UDD had already been enjoying relative success with the release of “Oo” from their debut album, but “Tadhana” truly brought them out into the open. In fact, many would claim that the song spearheaded the sudden surge of “hugot” songs populating the airwaves nowadays.
At this point in the article, I would usually begin dissecting the lyrics, but since, surely, you all know the lyrics—both the literal lyrics and meaning—by heart, allow me then to talk about the song’s history and subsequent impact on Philippine society instead.
In line with the humuhugot feelings and poignance of the song, Armi Millare, vocalist of UDD, actually wrote the song during one of her travels to Mt. Santo Tomas in Tuba, Benguet. She had divulged this information regarding the iconic song in an Instagram post back in October 2016, simply captioning it as: “2010, Mt. Sto Tomas where Tadhana was 'written' and recorded on my phone.”
According to Armi, she was tasked to create a song for an upcoming TV show right before boarding a bus going to Baguio. When she arrived in Baguio, that was where she thought of the initial draft of “Tadhana,” starting with the song’s iconic first line. The rest, she claimed, was finished, recorded, and arranged when she got back to Manila a few days later, citing that it was one of the things that “wrote itself.”
It’s been a quick seven years since the song was first drafted in Mt. Sto. Tomas, but it seems that it only keeps re-writing itself in every wonderful cover and rendition the inspired Filipino musicians make of it every day. The song is nothing special, even being described by Armi herself as “generic” to an extent. However, I believe that what made it truly outstanding was its timing: “Tadhana” was released during a time when songs were devoid of honesty, and the song’s candid and sincere confession truly made it endearing to a public that was seeking something to help them overcome their own shyness. Armi and UDD provided that in spades, and continue to do so every time the song is played or covered.
“Tadhana” is inarguably one of the best UDD has ever produced, and is a fine example of the emotional allure of songwriting and music in general. It’s also an example of the fickleness of creativity: sometimes, genius comes from unexpected places and unusual situations.
Don’t stop creating.
Whether you loved them as Up Dharma Down, or have only become a fan after their recent change to UDD, you can listen to the infectious song on the artist’s Spotify page below:
What’s your favorite UDD song? 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.