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[OPINION] 'Raining in Manila': A music video that dares to be different

By ERIC CABAHUG Published Oct 26, 2023 9:56 pm Updated Oct 26, 2023 10:27 pm

It took about four months for Lola Amour to make a video for their massive hit Raining in Manila, but it took only a few seconds to turn some viewers off and unleash a flood of criticism.

“Tone deaf,” goes one comment on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Poverty porn,” goes another. Yet another calls it “Resiliency porn.”

The trigger isn’t the full video itself, only the 30-second clip released as a teaser on the eve of the debut of the entire 6-minute piece. In it, the members of the band are depicted as everyday Pinoys navigating their way onboard wooden bangkas through deep floods caused by heavy rain.

“This was not the serve you think it is,” laments a commenter, adding “You ruined the song by being tone dead (sic) and so out of touch[.] so dumbbb.” 

Another social media user offers an alternative storyline. “They could’ve just [struck] to the generic boy and girl trying to go to their meeting place despite the heavy downpour of rain scenario, pero hindi, gumawa na lang sila ng poverty porn kuno na medj out of touch na.” 

“That’s so leptospirosis-coded,” another netizen notes. 

Lola Amour responded swiftly. Saying they heard the feedback and “understand your disappointment,” the band acknowledged their mistake and apologized. “We were not sensitive enough about how the teaser was presented, and with that, we are sorry.”

The band’s statement continues with an appeal to viewers to “give the MV (music video) a chance as it was greatly misrepresented by the teaser.”

Some did and they did not find anything wrong with the piece. “The video was fine to service the lyrics,” says one. Another agrees, “It was pretty harmless. Didn’t feel it glorifying disaster nor perpetuating toxic resiliency. Didn’t like it. But it was fine.” 

One is a fan of the video and does not get the criticism. “Why are ppl hating this?! Just bc something is depicted means it’s romanticizing. Ang ganda kaya, parang Weathering With You at mas malapit sa sikmura ng Pilipinas. Humans can and will love amid the climate crisis. There’s a genre called speculative fiction look it up.”

The full video is certainly speculative fiction. It’s set in a future where climate change has gone haywire, causing continuous rain for as long as over three years at a time. At its core, it’s a fantasy romance between a guy and a female magic gecko. It’s neither poverty porn nor a romanticization of resilience. 

If there’s something truly striking about the video, it is this: It’s rather odd. Not just because it’s absurdist—the real-life gecko even transforms towards the end into a human-size…gecko (basically a mascot)…with some powers—but, more crucially, its playful, dark comedic tone and too-clever-by-half “creativity” that brings to mind the RC Cola commercials strike a discordant chord with the sadness, even melancholia of the song, which is a bittersweet ode to love that remains despite distance.

It’s tone-deaf this way and disturbing in the way it unnecessarily includes violence that ends in an eerie scene that wouldn’t be out of place in a newspaper’s photojournalistic image of a casualty of the government’s drug war sprawled lifeless on the street.

The love lost for Amour because of this video may be warranted, after all. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of PhilSTAR L!fe, its parent company and affiliates, or its staff.