When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? With their latest music video, P-Pop Band The Juans are asking us all to look closer. ‘Salamin (Mirror)’ is a reminder that you’re so much more than your reflection. Let’s take a look at this new song from The Juans.
Perfection in Imperfection
If ever there was a ballad urging you to keep your dreams alive, it’s this song.
Based on band member Chael’s real-life struggle to cope with his own diagnosis of bipolar disorder, ‘Salamin’ speaks of not being seen despite being in the public eye. It’s a deeply autobiographical song that shares Chael’s own personal dialogue, encouraging him to be more than his public persona and to accept all the imperfect parts of himself. With the line, “Paano kung ang matagal mo nang gusto ay matagal nang nasayo? (What if something you’ve been longing for has been inside you all this time?),” The Juans are offering hope to both their bandmate and their fans, the Juanistas. If ever there was a ballad urging you to keep your dreams alive, it’s this song.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster that’s all too familiar to those who have struggled with mental illness, from chaos to calm and from joy to fear and sadness.
The best explanation for the song comes from The Juans leader Carl in his vlog. The music video stars their close friend Stell Ajero from fellow P-Pop group SB19. Portraying Chael’s character, the video beautifully illustrates his struggle through acting, modern dance, and dramatic lighting changes. Throughout the video, The Juans are the positive voices in Stell’s head, pushing him through the manic episodes triggered by his reflection. The clashing, flashing colors signal the episodes and his fight to ride them through. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that’s all too familiar to those who have struggled with mental illness, from chaos to calm and from joy to fear and sadness. When he finds peace with himself at the end through the willingness to accept all the different parts of himself, it’s the closure we all need.
Poignant moments are sprinkled throughout the video, like the closed curtains during the turbulent scenes where the main character feels invisible. Details like this offer us a glimpse into Stell’s mind - the place shut off to everyone else. Japs’ emotionally-charged delivery of his line “Hindi maintindihan kung bakit ako nagkakaganito. Sila ba o sarili ko ang uunahin ko?” (I don’t understand what’s happening to me. Do I put others first or myself?) echoes the feeling of worthlessness that comes with the stigma brought with a mental disorder. Even the smiley face stress ball Stell’s playing with in the beginning speaks volumes by itself; how many times do we hide our pain behind a smile?
A Collaboration in a New Light
Even though the song is an important representation of Chael, we can’t help but mention how perfect the choice of Stell was for this music video. Older A’tin (SB19’s fandom) will remember Stell’s struggles with mental health and online bullying during the group’s early days. More than one fan was brought to tears seeing Stell on screen while The Juans’ RJ sings “Lagi mo lang tatandaan. Natatangi ang iyong kagandahan. (Always remember, your beauty is one of a kind.).” And what better way to highlight his skill as a dancer? His interpretation of the inner trauma (brilliantly choreographed by Kare Ade, formerly a principal dancer of BalletPH) projects his emotions on the small screen in a way we’ve never seen Stell dance before.
You Are Who You Need to Be
The caring nature of The Juans is clear in every line from this heartfelt single from their Liwanag album.
The caring nature of The Juans is clear in every line from this heartfelt single from their Liwanag album. Each voice resonates with emotion and we feel both their passion and compassion. We can only imagine how vulnerable Chael felt expressing such a personal moment through his music, but the inspiration for his fans in infinitely worth it. ‘Salamin’ ends with the encouragement that you are enough - that you are who you need to be. You’re made for more. You are seen. Now the acceptance of that fact? It’s up to you.