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AJ Rafael’s “She Was Mine”: not your typical break-up anthem

YouTube has helped me a lot in updating myself with the latest songs from both local and international scenes. Not only because I no longer have the luxury of time to watch the telly, but YouTube allows me to download the videos of the songs. It also gives me the option to convert the video format into MP3.

This video search engine has also opened a lot of doors to people who have extreme talents in singing and dancing. Just like Marie Digby, Charice, Maria Lourdes Aragon and Arnel Pineda, you can also post your video on YouTube. If you really have the “X” factor, and if you are lucky enough, you might just land yourself a spot on either Ellen DeGeneres‘ show or Oprah’s. Why join the different talent shows when you can become an instant superstar on the internet?

Many Filipinos in California are already making it big in the indie music industry, and majority of them started out by doing some covers of the latest hits. You may want to try typing any of Bruno Mars‘ or Rihanna‘s songs on the internet, and you would see how many aspiring-to-be-pro singers and wannabe-superstars out there have done their own versions. Some however, shine not because of their rip-offs of other people’s songs, but because of their original compositions.

Take AJ Rafael for example.

Rafael's songs speak of the wonders and complications of LOVE.

AJ Rafael is a Fil-Am singer who has established a name already in Southern California. Coming from a musically-inclined family, AJ was born with an ear for music. At a young age, he started singing in a church choirs with his father as the accompanist. When his dad died, he replaced him, thus honing his piano skills even more. His love for music is deeply rooted to where he all started, as proven by the fund-raising concerts he did to benefit the church where he and his dad used to sing. He then started to play outside Southern California – showcased his stuff in New York, Canada and even here in the Philippines (but I bet he was not that popular then). It is also worth-mentioning that this guy is an advocate of different charity groups. Music Speaks, an organization that benefits families with Autism, and the Mahal Foundation, an organization helping to fix the poverty in the Philippines are among the organizations which he hold near his heart. A good guy and all that, no wonder he holds his record of having 200, 000 subscribers on his YouTube account; his videos with more than 40 million views; 11 million plays on MySpace, and 70, 000 (still growing) fans on Facebook. (info gathered from http://www.myspace.com/ajrafael)

Call him "Mr. Nice Guy". He really is! 🙂

A few weeks back, my sister asked me to listen to the latest song  she was very much into. She turned the volume on and what I heard after she hit the “Play” button was just pure awesomeness. I instantly fell in love with AJ Rafael’s song, “She Was Mine”.

I knew right then and there that it was not just another sappy love song.

“She Was Mine” talks about LDRs (Long Distance Relationships)  – the struggle to keep the flame alive, and the guts to let go when you know it is time to. What sets this sad love song apart is that the musical arrangement, or should I say the totality of it, is not so sad at all. Hearing the first few lines would definitely put you in a happy mood. I was actually surprised that the lyrics carried a twist at the end.I have selected what I consider as the “best parts” of the song:

So i hopped on a train three in the afternoon
I don’t know when i’m coming back,
but i hope that it’s soon
see, i never thought (never thought)
That i’d have to leave your side (your side)

It’s only physically
but you know that you will be on my mind
Twenty-four hours at a time
Cause in my eyes, you were mine (you were mine)

No matter where you go, i won’t be very far
Cause in my head i’ll be right there where you are
Cause love has no distance baby
Love, love has no distance baby
No, not when it comes to you and me

See, she wrote me a letter, said the weather wasn’t better
But she says that she was doing fine
“i want to see you face to face”, that’s what she wrote to me that day
And i knew that it was all a sign
So i wrote back with this song,
promise it won’t be too long
Wanna make up for all our lost time
Cause in my eyes, you were mine (you were mine)

No matter where you go, i won’t be very far
Cause in my head i’ll be right there where you are
Cause love has no distance baby
Love, love has no distance baby
No, not when it comes to you and me

So i’m going through these boxes, my life’s gone off track
It’s been three years, she hasn’t written back
But in my eyes, she’s still mine
And i know it sounds so stupid to be waiting this long
But i’m still in love, and i know i’m not wrong
Cause in my eyes, she was mine

No matter where you go, i won’t be very far
Cause in my head i’ll be right there where you are
Cause love has no distance baby
Love, love has no distance baby
No, not when it comes to you and

No matter where you go, i won’t be very far
Cause in my head i’ll be right there where you are
Cause love is no distance baby
Love, love has no distance baby, no
Not when it comes to you and me

Sadly, the LDR that is being talked about in the song did not work out. However, there is still so much positivity on the part of the the guy singing (or whoever Rafael’s inspiration for this was). The catchy lines speak of love’s complexities, as I find it funny how the guy seemed to be still in such an “i’m-perfectly-fine-it’s-a-no-biggie-at-all” disposition, despite the end of his love affair being right in front of him. Most break-up songs these days touch the ideas of death, suicide, revenge, bitterness, and all sorts of bad vibes. Then again, reality strikes that people have different ways of coping with such situations. Break-ups can really cause breakdowns to some, while others deal with it like it is just an ordinary day.

How we deal with loss on the matters of the heart is a choice that we can make. Guy A may opt to sulk and chug on the alcohol with Heart’s Alone playing on the background. Guy B can choose to hang-out with friends, have a few rounds of beer while being serenaded by Eraserheads’ Pare Ko. Girl A can have shopping as an outlet for her emotions, with Hilary Duff’s So Yesterday playing on her Ipod. Girl B can cry all day if she wants to, having Side A’s Tell Me as her company.

Then we have Guy C and Girl C ponder on the happy memories of their epic-fail relationships with a smile, while listening to this:

Relationships, miles apart or not, determine how well we are as a person. How well we relate with the significant people around us; with the bliss and sorrow; with the victory and defeat; with distance, space and time. “She Was Mine” imparts a hidden lesson to everyone that the end of the relationship is a chapter of one’s life story. It is either you take the path which would help you move on, or you head on to the road that says DESTINATION: WAIT IN VAIN.

"She Was Mine" talks about facing break-up with a smile. =)

AJ ‘s song highlights a different side of a long-distance relationship break-up. His music and lyrics will definitely make you think that all becomes well as long as the love that you hold is genuine and bears no grudges of some sort. Moreover, the words in his songs (not only in this single) allow us to realize that the love we carry is not only limited and specific to one person. Love is best felt when you share it with the people who greatly need it.

“She Was Mine” is definitely not your typical “say goodbye” anthem. It may not even appeal to you, nor even be considered to be your soundtrack should you undergo that painful experience soon (oh God, I hope not). Like the old saying goes, there is indeed a rainbow after the rain. This is what the song is miraculously all about.

S*** happens sometimes.

We fall in love. We fall out of love. You win some. You lose some. You stumble and fall.

You pick yourself up. You put yourself back together. You choose to wait. Or you choose to move on.

What matters in the end?

Long-distance or not,

you loved.

That’s a lot way better than not having loved someone at all. =)

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