“What the?!?” huhsmile reimagines holiday music with her new single
huhsmile’s social media followers know that she has an interesting way of looking at the world, and this shows in her music. However, anyone who hears of her for the first time through her new single, “merry xmas ibblock kita,” may react this way, as she imagines:
““sino nagsulat neto bakit ganun” (Who wrote this? Why that?)
A looser translation would probably go, “What the?!?”
The single is at once playful, biting, and joyous, and it is the result of a collaboration between huhsmile and Gab Tagadtad. While it evokes classic Filipino Christmas music through its chord structure, she credits Tagadtad for the final arrangement, which throws in the upbeat orchestration that makes the evocation even clearer. “It really brought the song back to me as a vocalist and made it fit my voice,” she says.
Listen to "merry xmas ibblock kita" here!
Behind that, however, is a realism that draws us into a different way of looking at Christmas nostalgia. “Christmas is usually a very nostalgic time for people,” huhsmile says, “and so while writing I was reminded of several people I’d rather not see again and I think the song just took off from there.” (Emphasis hers) The song is an antidote to the sentimentality most songs of its type possess; part of healthy remembering, as French philosopher Paul Ricoeur said, is a healthy forgetting. Her song is a good reminder that even at Christmas time, looking back can sometimes bite back—and the best cure is to know that the bite hurts but will no longer matter.
However, huhsmile says that what she is up to with her new single isn’t quite new. She cites two pop rock songs, “Merry Christmas Kiss My Ass” by All Time Low and “12 Days of Christmas” by Reliant K, as examples of holiday songs about people we’d rather forget. And when we asked her between which two songs she’d place her track, she gave “Happy Breakup” by Donnalyn Bartolome and “Di Na Kita Mahal” by Silent Sanctuary. “merry xmas ibblock kita” is a Republic Records release.