One Year Later, SB19's MAPA Is Still A Breakthrough Hit
Updated: Jun 12
With Mother's Day only a week behind us and Father's day coming up, we find ourselves at an anniversary. P-Pop Kings SB19 released 'MAPA' one year ago today. Few P-Pop songs have impacted the music and culture of the Philippines in the way that 'MAPA' did, and the evidence is there. With more than 33 million Spotify streams and 70 million views on the official lyric video, it's safe to say that this love song to their parents (and ours) captured hearts worldwide. Let's look back at the why, how, and all that happened in the last year.
Where it All Began
There couldn't have been a better way to set the scene for a song best described as a love song to their parents.
The whole picture made 'MAPA' a hit, and it started with letters. Before the new single release, each of the five members of SB19 wrote a love letter to their parents. One letter at a time, they posted them to social media with photos of their loved ones. Afterward, they invited their fans to do the same. There couldn't have been a better way to set the scene for a song best described as a love song to their parents.
SB19's leader, Pablo, wrote the lyrics to 'MAPA.' With help from the other members, it was written during a time when they were separated from their families due to work. The song's best known for its catchy chorus ("Lataratara"), but the end of the chorus has since become iconic by capturing the culture of the Philippines with the line: "pahinga muna, ako na" (rest first, let me). Though he had help with the track production from Jay Durias and Simon Servida, Pablo also had a hand in composing the song.
Today, SB19's journey to the self-creation of their music has come nearly full circle. The song, best described as a reverse lullaby, starts with a slow, piano-only melody. As the song continues through the chorus and the second verse, it builds to the bridge and becomes an upbeat and joyful song. The lyric video, for which member Justin De Dios was a creative consultant, follows the same theme. The simple drawings show the journey we go on from children following our parents to adults who have learned to fly on our own.
A Slow Start
...the genre and its artists were suddenly seen.
Despite where it is today, 'MAPA' did not enjoy the instant success that their comeback song, 'What?', saw only two months before. 'MAPA' was an emotional and hopeful song with a beautifully designed lyric video, but at that point, lyric videos were usually dwarfed in views by music videos. The video reached one million views within a week and two million within a month. Still, the views were trickling in compared to the 'What?' music video, which reached 7 million views within the same time.
Once 'MAPA' gained traction, however, it didn't stop. Between July and August of 2021, the lyric video added 40 million views with an average of nearly 1 million views a day. It was monumental, not only for SB19 but also for P-Pop. P-Pop is a new genre that is still gaining traction even in its own country, and the acceptance of 'MAPA' by casuals and fans alike meant that the genre and its artists were suddenly seen.
A New Legacy as Performers
There are no bad performances of 'MAPA,' and there are no weak vocals among the members.
As a result, 'MAPA'' was also the song of choice in some of SB19's most stunning live performances. There are no bad performances of 'MAPA,' and there are no weak vocals among the members. Whether it's the deeply emotional voices of Justin and Josh, the deep and soothing timbre of Ken, or the reaching riffs and runs of Pablo and Stell, each member of SB19 is at their absolute best in this song. Of course, it's hard to pick just one live performance, but their performances at Kalayaan 2021, Sonik Philippines, and their Our Zone Concert stick out for us. The first two at Kalayaan 2021 and Sonik Philippines were recorded live at large and empty venues (thanks for that, COVID). Thanks to the echo, it would be easy for the vocals to be a bit off at such challenging venues. Like the Kings they are, SB19 chose to use the reverb from the venue to lift their vocals, and the result is powerful elevated performances. The members know exactly where to place themselves in the massive venues to either limit or amplify the echo to suit their needs.
Our Zone Concert was SB19's two-day livestream concert to celebrate their third anniversary as a group (check out our articles about Ozone Concert Day One and Ozone day two). As a surprise to the members on the second day, their families joined them on stage just after the bridge to 'MAPA.' With his parents living abroad and the rest of his family in faraway Mindanao, Ken didn't expect much as Stell, Josh, Justin, and Pablo's families came onto the stage. Little did Ken know that his sister and uncle were standing behind him. Their sudden appearance sent Ken to his knees, the first time A’tin fandom saw the normally introverted main dancer bawl his eyes out. It was several moments before he could compose himself and continue the song.
One year later, 'MAPA' is still a favorite among fans and casuals. It captures the emotion of an entire nation. For the artists themselves, it is the absolute mastery of their voices. We can trace much of where SB19 is now back to this simple, emotional lullaby-like song. With respect and love, we look back on "MAPA" while looking forward to everything SB19 has in store for us, their A'tin, and the world. Pablo said it best: “Sa'n man mapunta alam kung sa'n nag mula” (Wherever I go, I know where I came from).