Ang Huling El Bimbo

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"Ang Huling El Bimbo"
Single by Eraserheads
from the album Cutterpillow
Released 1995
Genre Alternative rock, indie rock, pop rock
Length 7:29
Label BMG Records (through their Musiko label)
Writer(s) Ely Buendia
Producer(s) Robin Rivera

"Ang Huling El Bimbo" (English: The Last El Bimbo) is a rock ballad by Pinoy rock group Eraserheads from their 1995 album Cutterpillow as well as their international album Aloha Milkyway. Aside from the usual band instruments the group used, the song features a synthesizer along with a piano. The song, narrated in the first person, tells the story of a man's unrequited feelings for his childhood friend, whose life came to a tragic end.

The song won MTV Asia Viewer's Choice Award at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, making the Eraserheads the first Filipino artist to win the award. In the Philippines, it was used by McDonald's for their commercial titled "First Love" in 2009[1] as well as by radio station NU 107 as its last song on its final day of broadcast on November 7, 2010.[2]

There are two known versions of the song. The first one has the singer continuing to chant the chorus until the song fades. The second version replaces the monotonous chant with a guitar solo and an orchestra ensemble playing the chorus. The music video uses the first version.

Structure[edit]

First stanza[edit]

The song opens with the chorus melody playing twice before a short pause ushering the story arc recalled the narrator's childhood memory, introducing a certain girl whose love for dancing captured his interest. The first refrain discusses his budding feelings for the girl as he visits her after school where she would teach him the El Bimbo for the rest of the day. The song's melody at this point increases pace, complemented by the arrival of the chorus, suggesting that he developed an innocent love towards the girl with the unsullied way of holding each other's hands as part of the dance routine.

Second stanza[edit]

The second stanza focuses on his growing feelings for his childhood friend through their constant dancing. He openly describes her drop-dead hip-swaying moves and how his life seems brighter every time his arms are draped around her. The second refrain and chorus follows.

Bridge[edit]

To transition from his past to his present situation, the narrator effectively uses a bridge delivered by a simple phrase ("La la la la") while playing an alternative chorus (lower) chords and a wooden image of the Virgin Mary is seen in the background.

Third stanza[edit]

As a grown-up, the narrator (Ely Buendia) tells that he and his childhood friend parted ways without seeing each other for a very long time. However, hearsay spoke of the girl being unwed, having a child and earns a living as a dishwasher in the district of Ermita, Manila. And one unfateful night, she was accidentally ran over in a dark alley. The last refrain, also considered as the climax, implies how all his dreams suddenly crumbled upon hearing the news; that he'll be only able to dance with her in his dreams, and how his affection for the girl will forever be unrequited.

The chorus playing twice followed by the bridge phrase serves as the song's denouement; and the impressive guitar solos and almost-theatrical musical accompaniment provides the dramatic finale.

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by Auraeus Solito, basically retells the lyrics of the song. There are some additions though:

  • After the four boys (who become the Eraserheads) and their childhood friend make a ruckus after their dance, the friend's mother comes in and takes her away and after the mother destroys vinyl record, the video focuses on the wooden image of the Virgin Mary.
  • The Eraserheads dance with their childhood friend (played by theater artist Wena Basco), now wearing white. But she tells them that it is their last dance ("Eto na ang huling El Bimbo," English: "This is the last El Bimbo"). She then collapses in their arms.
  • The band bury their childhood friend in a spot filled with leaves. As they turn their backs, the woman rises like a zombie as styrosnow (a reference to one of their songs on the album Fruitcake) falls. Later, the burial spot is in flames.
  • At the end of the video, the childhood friend continues to dance until the song ends. At the last note, however, she waves goodbye.

Other credits include cinematography by Louie Quirino and production design by Karissa Villa.

Covers[edit]

  • Philippine band The Company made a cover version of the song with a music video involving a woman roaming around the streets and eventually died at the end
  • Rico J. Puno covered the song for the Eraserheads tribute album Ultraelectromagnetic Jam! in 2005.
  • Former South Border pianist Jay Durias also covered the song from the tribute album, The Reunion: An Eraserheads Tribute Album in 2012.
  • The pinoy punk-rock band Kamikazee also made an unreleased cover of the song which the band said that it was supposed to be included in the tribute album Ultraelectromagnetic Jam! in 2005.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "On McDonald's Commercials, Ang Huling El Bimbo and Viral Marketing Strategies". 18 January 2009. Fitz Villafuerte. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Liwanag, Punch (2010-11-08). "NU 107 ends run with thanks and tears". Manila Bulletin.