While on the subject of covers and remakes, I got to listen to Rivermaya’s cover of Joey Ayala’s working class anthem Padayon. The track can be found in Rivermaya’s Isang Ugat, Isang Dugo album, which features other tributes to great 80’s acts.
Padayon gives a very graphic description of the contradictions faced by the working class.. they who move industry and carry the burden of society, yet do not share in the fruits of their labor, totally alienated from their work. The song is almost like the other Ayala classic Magkabilaan, a song about the dialectics of society. But unlike Magkabilaan where there is an actual challenge to change society, Padayon merely describes the contradictions faced by workers, the haves and have-nots. Maybe the song hopes that things can get better, thus the call “Padayon” or forward/onward (I think that’s how it translates but not so sure). The poetry of Padayon is sharp as it is graphic, but at the end of the day, it is still just a commentary on social realities. Still, a song like this to get some radio airplay is still a welcome development.
Rivermaya’s Rico Blanco delivers a powerful rendition of the song. I cannot imagine anyone else singing this Ayala anthem with enough angst and fervor. The sounds are raw, stripped down, enough to give that not-too-polished, blue-collar feel to it. (Though the sounds may not be as full as the the orginial recording. Medyo manipis ang tunog. )
A comparison with the original Ayala version would just not be fair, but let me say that Rivermaya did a good job on this one.
We do hope that Rivermaya’s cover of Padayon gets even half the airplay that Bamboo’s cover of Tatsulok is getting.
Maybe we’re seeing the dawn of progressive music breaking through the mainstream. What used to be played in rallies and activist tambayans, we can now hear over the airwaves, listened to by a wider audience undreamed of by the artists who first sang these songs.