Somehow, amidst all the drama and trials that marked 2021, it was a banner year for P-Pop with the debuts of several new groups and the release of record-breaking tracks. Here are our most viewed P-Pop & OPM videos of 2021:
#10: Kbye by ALAMAT (1.4 Million Views)
Boy Group, ALAMAT’s debut single and music video, “kbye,” sneaks in at #10 on our list with 1.4 million views since its release on February 14, 2021. The single came in the wake of a debut campaign highlighting ALAMAT’s unique vision to have pride in who and what they are behind the masquerade. It’s a vision highlighted in the song “kbye”, where the nine members of ALAMAT sing and rap in seven different Philippine languages: Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Bicolano, Waray-Waray, Hiligaynon and Bisaya. The result is an upbeat and catchy song in the colorful and energetic style that is now ALAMAT’s signature. Nearly perfect choreography and the smart use of languages create a music video that cleverly avoids being cliche or overly bubblegum.
The response to “kbye” was overwhelmingly positive. The music video reached 100,000 views within the first 22 hours and 300,000 views within the first week. On May 12, 2021 (only 3 months after release), “kbye” became ALAMAT’s first video to reach 1 million views. Fans flocked to follow the boy group after relating to the cultural and community pride of their music and message. Superior singing, dancing, and rapping skills have kept the fans coming.
Unfortunately, “kbye” is the only single featuring all nine original members of ALAMAT. On March 30, 2021, ALAMAT announced it would be continuing as an eight-member group. Kin spoke Tagalog and was the group's member from Metro Manila. He was also one of the lead vocals.
#9: Sugat by Ben&Ben feat. MuniMuni (1.5 Milllion Views)
Folk/Rock supergroup Ben&Ben released their collaborative album Pebble House, Vol. 1: Kwaderno in 2021. “Sugat,” with fellow indie-folk band MuniMuni, emerged as a fan favorite. It ranks at #9 with 1.5 million views since its release on August 12, 2021. Though Paolo of Ben&Ben added the chorus, the majority of the song is based on the personal experiences of member Toni Muñoz during a difficult time in her life. “Sugat” speaks of overcoming past wounds and healing on after facing periods of self-doubt, loss, and emptiness. It was fortunate that MuniMuni announced their return from an almost year-long hiatus at that same time. Ben&Ben knew instantly who their song lacked, and the perfect mix of upbeat melody and Filipino folk music was born.
The uniquely fluid opening notes of MuniMuni contrast perfectly with the clear tones that are a signature of Ben&Ben. A haunting flute melody, added by MuniMuni artist John Owen Castro, completes the audio poetry.
Shot in the Pinto Art Museum, the dream-like music video evokes the quiet calm of the song. It allows you to stay lost in thought while making the cathartic lyrics all your own. Slow pans of the band members against the backdrop of fine art pieces make this light, mellow tune a collaborative masterpiece.
#8: The Baddest by BGYO (1.9 Million Views)
No one was happier than BGYO that their comeback song would be "The Baddest." The single claimed the number one spots on multiple charts, including Billboard's Next Big Sound, on its August 20, 2021, debut. Indeed, the battle is already half won with 1.9 million views and a #8 placement on our list.
There's a great vibe to the track. The addition of Filipino rap parts written by members Akira and Gelo round out the impressive comeback. The mature, R&B-inspired sound is a new take for the boy band, signaling their readiness for a tougher, perhaps even sexy, image. The boys show off their vocals and dance moves cleverly reinterpreted as futuristic spies. As they face the legendary Filipino dragon, the Bakunawa, the MV turns into a battlefield where these committed artists must face off against their enemy.
Hidden within BGYO's "The Baddest" MV are references to various Philippine National Heroes and events in history. Easter eggs pepper the scenes and recreate nationalist-inspired sculptures and paintings, which are Philippine treasures. The comeback is very personal to BGYO, with main rapper Mikki naming it. These boys are preparing to take over the world, and we hope to see it soon.
#7: He’s Into Her by BGYO (2 Million Views)
The music video for “He’s Into Her,” BGYO’s second single, released on May 4th, 2021, has gathered 2 million views since then, landing it in the 7th spot on our list. The song about young love was initially released as the soundtrack for the digital Philippine romantic comedy of the same title. It gained 100,000 views in the first 5 hours, cementing it as one of the young group’s greatest successes.
The song, written and performed entirely in English, is a bouncy and upbeat love song that reminds the listener of summer vacation. It’s a mood that goes well with the music video, which takes us back to high school. Each of the five members portrays a different trope: the bookworm, the artist, the athlete, the Prom King, and the musician. The video follows the story of the 5 boys finding a journal about young love, which serves as a perfect tie-in to the series it was written for.
The nostalgic journey is accented by BGYO’s signature harmonies, and dancing, which is undoubtedly what pushed the video up the charts and the trends lists so quickly, having debuted at #1 on iTunes Philippines. The track also won an award for Best Theme Song or Title Theme (Philippines) at the Asian Academy Creative Awards in 2021.
#6: Palayo by FELIP (2.2 Million Views)
Gathering 2.2 million views since its September 18, 2021 release, the highly anticipated "Palayo" music video marks the unexpected solo debut of SB19's Ken under his real name, Felip.
Sung mostly in his mother tongue, Bisaya (with a smattering of English and Filipino), Felip shows off the low tones he's become known for. The intensity of his voice hits hard while delivering his message. A rarity among the more commonly favored high notes and belts, Felip's deep, sensual voice delivers riffs, runs, and a smooth rap flow. When supported by the clean and almost hypnotic background swell of synth chords, it makes for a different kind of love song. Palayo was written and co-produced (with Josue, SB19 Pablo's brother) by Felip himself. He speaks of finding strength in choosing to love yourself enough to walk away from a toxic relationship.
Felip performs his R&B single with a dance troupe in an empty mansion. His distinct style reminds the audience why he is the main dancer of his P-Pop group, SB19. Much of the choreography is credited to him and shows off the clean, fluid movements he's known for while also hitting every beat of the song. The unexpected but simple steps highlight the mood and the luxe feel of the video while contrasting with the complicated layers of the music. All in all, it's a seriously satisfying video to watch.
#5: The Light by BGYO (4.5 Million Views)
"The Light," which was released on January 29, 2021, was a strong start for 5-member Filipino boy group, BGYO. It wracked up 4.5 million views in 2021, landing it in 5th place on our list. The group formerly known as "The Star Hunt Academy Boys or SHA Boys." debuted under BGYO in style with a ticketed concert event, "Be The Light: The BGYO Launch." The event allowed fans to view an exclusive first performance, be the first to view the music video, and even have the chance to meet the artists.
From its opening line, the music video for "The Light" encourages listeners to use their light to bring change to the world. It features Nate, Gelo, JL, Mikki, and Akira portraying difficult life situations that can be overcome by "following the bright, bright light." The members themselves are brought into the spotlight with smart wardrobe choices, including cultural outfits inspired by "Balabal Hari" – the silk cloaks worn by pre-colonial Philippine royalty. BGYO's outfits are a modern interpretation of these traditional pieces and were crafted to match each member's personality and role in the group. The Tagalog lyrics in the song were also written by the members themselves.
Encouraging empowerment, self-love, and hope, "The Light" is not only inspirational but also highlights the promising vocal and choreography skills of the new group.
#4: Bazinga by SB19 (4.5 Million Views)
Ranking at #4 on our list with 4.5 million views, "Bazinga" was a breakout success for SB19. In July, the audio track and lyric video were initially released as part of their Pagsibol EP. The song is best known for its skyrocket to #1 on the Billboard Hot Trending Songs List. SB19 is the first group other than K-Pop supergroup, BTS, to hold the position on the new chart.
"Bazinga" is SB19's 2nd song written in English, with only Ken's bridge part sung in Tagalog. Usually called a diss-track, it claps back at the haters and bashers who motivated SB19 along their way. The song proudly proclaims that "their hate is gasoline." Written and co-produced by Pablo, "Bazinga" flexes SB19's increased involvement in their own music. Never before has the group better highlighted their rap line than in "Bazinga," with its rapid-fire beats, pop culture references, and intense vocals.
The music video was released in October as part of their 3rd-anniversary celebration. In contrast with the lyrics, the MV pays homage to significant events in the group's 3-year-long journey. Following a gamer theme, it references their fandom and history while highlighting the near-perfect choreography and vocals they're known for. Particularly striking are the distinct costume changes in the music video. "Bazinga" MV features the members dressed as retro gamers, RPG characters, and jaw-dropping mortal kombat style characters. When the video ends with the group's triumphant victory, it feels like a summary of where they are now: SB19 with their A'tin, victorious against those who would bring them down.
#3: Pasalubong by Ben&Ben feat. Moire Dela Torre (4.7 Million Views)
"Pasalubong" is the third single and MV from Ben&Ben's second album Pebble House, Vol. 1: Kwaderno. The music video, released on July 30, 2021, boasts an impressive 4.7 million views. That's enough for #3 on our list. The MV broke a million views within two days, underlining the Filipino's ongoing fascination with unrequited love songs.
This is the second collaboration between Ben&Ben and Moira, the first being Moira's song, Patawad (Forgive), in 2019. Unlike the first, Pasalubong was written by both artists and arranged by Andrew de Pano, the group's percussionist. Filmed at Pebble House, the MV features the individual artists singing and contemplating alone. It opens with Moira's clear, soft voice singing of looking into the mirror and her reflection asking her a question. She's soon joined by Paolo Benjamin Guico, one of the twins who founded Ben&Ben, asking when what he longs for will be returned. Each member holds a token representing the person they long for and hope to have a relationship with.
The title is a play on the word 'pasalubong' for meeting someone and giving a gift when someone returns. This was cleverly turned into an emotional expression of longing and unexpressed love. Pulling on the favorite OPM "Hugot" Genre, the song ends more optimistically when they decide to go all-in and admit their feelings for each other. After all, isn't it the scariest thing to tell someone, "I like you?"
#2: MAPA Band Version by SB19 feat. Ben&Ben (14.1 Million Views)
This powerhouse first collab between SB19 and Ben&Ben ranks 2nd on our list with 14.1 million views. Released on June 27, 2021, "Mapa Band Version" was the first full musical collaboration for SB19. It was also their first time working with the folk/rock supergroup.
The Band version of the song follows the legacy of the original. "MAPA" was first written and composed by SB19 leader Pablo and performed by the Filipino boy group. The track was rearranged by Ben&Ben, who were given complete control of the arranging with only comments from SB19 to help the song flow better. While the original has a fairly mellow but upbeat feel, "MAPA Band Version" is a more energetic and joyful tune with unexpected melodies and harmonies. The result is a seamless collaboration between the two musical giants, celebrating both groups' vocals and musicality.
Adding to the list of firsts, the music video was filmed in the newly-renovated Manila Metropolitan Theater. Performed and recorded live, the MV was shot in a single take. The music video iconically opens with lamps lighting all across the stage. These lamps have since become a symbol for both the band version and the original track. Going forward, it features the 14 artists on stage performing the tribute song against the muted blue and tan stage lights. It's the perfect backdrop to the lively number celebrating our parents.
#1: What? By SB19 (15.2 Million Views)
Coming in at #1 with 15.2 million views, the comeback single "What?" became a hit for P-Pop supergroup SB19, marking the first release for their then unnamed EP, Pagsibol. The music video hit over 1.4M views within 24 hours of its March 9th release and ranked in the top five most liked Filipino videos in OPM history.
"What?" represents the first song where SB19 was entirely in control of every part of their own song. From the lyrics, composition, and music production to the choreography and creative direction for the music video. The backing instrumentals were even co-produced by Pablo and Fil-Canadian, Simon Servida (watch his vlog about "What?" here).
The music video opens on a more intense, dark note, markedly different from the band's debut album "Get in the Zone," with its happy, poppy sounds. Each member is shown in their own world, focus, and sound. Only when the five are together does the sound change and become more cohesive, brighter, and lighter. They've gotten together, fought the odds together, overcome their obstacles, and won.
With unexpected music progressions and lyrics focusing on self-love, self-acceptance, and doing your best, it's no wonder "What?" has more views than any other MV on our list. It's our undisputed Number One.
Bonus: MAPA Lyric Video By SB19 (65 Million Views)
Since it's a lyric video, it can't make our top ten list, but no P-Pop video took the internet by storm like "MAPA" by SB19. "MAPA" was released on May 16, 2021. It did well at release amongst SB19's fans, but it was casual listeners who rocketed the video's views into the millions. Its release coincided with SB19's historic nomination for Top Social Artist at the Billboard Music Awards. This meant the group was being interviewed nearly daily. Combined with the timing of the release just after Mother's Day, the song quickly became the sweetheart of the Philippines. With its lyrics expressing love and gratitude to parents and parental figures, "MAPA" aptly represents the values of the Philippines.
The lyric video itself is simple, set against the background of a map with the symbolism of paper boats and airplanes and the sprouting of new life. Not new for SB19, each feature of the lyric video is symbolic of both the lyrics themselves and the future directions of the group.
With the views still climbing, "MAPA" Lyric Video is set to be the first SB19 video to reach 100 Million views… and we will be here to celebrate with them.
Were you surprised by this list? What was your favorite P-Pop or OPM MV of 2021? Tell us in the comments below!