Joven Tan’s latest composition for this year’s Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs will be a big hit for the LGBT crowd. “Pare Mahal Mo Raw Ako” talks about a straight guy learning that his gay friend has fallen for him.
The premise might sound like something we may have heard before with Parokya ni Edgar’s “This Guy’s In Love With You Pare.” However similar the narrative may be, the delivery of “Pare Mahal Mo Raw Ako” is markedly distinct.
“Pare Mahal Raw Ako” is tender and intimate, especially with only a piano and a violin accompanying Michael Pangilinan’s tender voice. He gives the song a certain authenticity making you feel like, even if you’re not in the same situation, you’d probably have said the same thing.
You could feel that Joven Tan handled the issue behind his music and lyrics carefully through how the song sounds. The Himig Handog entry treats the theme as a serious matter giving it the tenderness and sensitivity that it needed.
Though it may still sound like a song about unrequited love, it paints a different picture of a love song about acceptance and telling your friend that everything is still alright with your friendship. “Pare, kaibigan lang kita.” The last line may sound like it is a sad ending, but it actually says “no matter what, we’re still going to be friends.” The song may be tackling a controversial issue but its message and sincerity should be enough to grab the top prize.