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The P-pop songs that solidified the genre in 2023, as told by the Scout team


As somebody who’s been a K-pop girlie for more than half of her life—and no, that’s not an exaggeration—I won’t deny that I initially was among those P-pop doubters. I didn’t see its potential at first and thoughtlessly dismissed it as the local music industry’s poor attempt at copying K-pop or even J-pop at some point. 

But that stereotype couldn’t be any more wrong. I was wrong. Sure, P-pop may have been partly influenced by K-pop’s trainee system and have a few similarities with its fan culture and fashion. Sound-wise, though? The P-pop industry has built an identity of its own—one that clearly veers off the K-pop path.

From lyrics that consist of wordplays only Filipinos can understand to music (and video) productions that pay homage to folk arts and culture, the genre has layers its other Asian counterparts don’t scratch. 

And to further prove our point, the Scout team jotted down the P-pop songs that we personally can’t get enough of throughout 2023. (Because this year was definitely one of P-pop’s best—if not the best.)

P.S. If you do not see your faves here, that doesn’t mean we’re discrediting their impact nor are we ignoring the bops. We just had to make some tough *personal* choices, and this non-exhaustive list was the result.

“Pantropiko” by BINI

Full disclosure: I’ve always been so particular with playlist curation. I strictly follow a monthly theme—and the initial plan was to fill my ’Ber playlists with Christmas-themed tracks and mellow winter melodies. So, BINI dropping a summer bubblegum pop anthem in the middle of November threw a wrench into that plan. “Pantropiko” was a sharp contrast to the Yuletide wonderland vibes my playlists were supposed to exude, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Blasting it after listening to an ocean of holiday jingles feels like being whisked away from a snowstorm and catapulted into a tropical island—with a refreshing glass of mojito in one hand and my *imaginary* lover’s hand in the other.

– Kleo, junior content creator

“Dong-Dong-Ay” by Alamat

Don’t you just love it when P-pop groups proudly inject a generous dose of local art and/or culture into their music? Well, I do—and “Dong-Dong-Ay” by Alamat is a prime example of how it should be done. This track is basically an homage to Cordilleran folk song “Salidumay” but with a burst of modern magic. (And the fact that Taneo—a member of Alamat—hails from Kalinga himself adds a layer of authenticity to the auditory experience.) It should be a national treasure. I said what I said.

– Kleo, junior content creator

“I Want You” by SB19

Those who dare to hop into the SB19 rabbit hole would most likely get magnetized by either of their two most familiar territories: The aggressive, high-energy, and bursting with bravado pop-hip hop (“Gento,” “Go Up,” “Bazinga”), or the vulnerable tearjerker ballads (“MAPA,” “Hanggang sa Huli,” “Liham”). But there’s a gem from their 2023 album “PAGTATAG!” that proves these P-pop phenoms can possibly traverse any soundscape: “I Want You”. 

Here, the boys serve hypnotic, sensual sound and world-building, with the track’s structure also making room for their vocals to shine. It gets more mysterious with every listen, but is also naturally eargasmic—no wonder a recent live performance had to happen. Despite their growing global fanbase and awards being taken home, these artists are never complacent, making their underdog story worth keeping tabs on for. 

– Jelou, associate editor

“Karera” by BINI

Sure, this is another entry about BINI, but the girls have been working and serving this year that they deserve all the shoutouts they can get. The nation’s girl group’s “Karera” should have a spot in this list because of how empowering the message is. In a time where social media makes it seem like there is a certain deadline or timeline that everyone must follow—in order to be viewed by society as successful or someone who is worthy of good things—blasting this self-love and self-support anthem reminds us all to respect our pace and focus on our own path. BINI delivered that message and was a delight for the ears.

– Clara, junior content creator

“Loka” by G22

Living up to their moniker “P-pop’s female alphas,” G22 dropped a bomb on the P-pop scene with their latest single (and horror film “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Extreme’s” official theme song) “Loka.” It is written by AJ—one-third of the group—and delves into the chaotic nature of one’s mind. Battling inner demons and silencing the voices in your head are its main themes, making it a relatable anthem for anybody (read: me) wrestling with self-doubts. This track thrives with a heavy bass and an overall eerie vibe to it—which, to be honest, is rather refreshing in a landscape currently dominated by soft pop, R&B, and ballads. 

– Kleo, junior content creator

Photos from the official X accounts of SB19, BINI, and Alamat



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