Finding Hope & Revealing Society's Unseen with Nyebe
The release of ‘Nyebe (Snow)’ came like the first snow of winter - expected but somehow still surprising. The ballad was a staple at every stop in their WYAT Global Tour, allowing fans around the world to hear the unreleased track. It made perfect sense then that it would be their next single. Were we still surprised, shocked, floored, and overly emotional? Of course, we were. Join us on this little journey.
Out of the Shadows
On December 12, 2022, ‘Nyebe’ was released across all music platforms, including as a visualizer on YouTube. The most surprising thing about that visualizer is - there’s no snow featured anywhere. Now, was that intentional? We don’t know. It was an unseasonably warm November in New York City, after all. Deliberate or not, the video itself feels cold all the same. The black and white highlights the loneliness and longing at the core of the song.
There are always people quietly passed by - going about the plainness of their lives, and, in his role as creative director, Pablo has turned the spotlight on them.
Filmed across 3 countries and 5 cities, the visualizer uses the most poignant images from their world tour to paint a beautiful aesthetic that reaches beyond the obvious meanings of the song. Most beautifully, it highlights invisible people in society. In any society (and across cultures), there are people alone in a crowd, shuffled to the side and forgotten by society. There are always people quietly passed by - going about the plainness of their lives, and, in his role as creative director, Pablo has turned the spotlight on them. It makes sense - if anyone knows what it feels like to be invisible, it’s the 5 young men who rose from nothing to where they are today. It’s a subtle reminder that they haven’t forgotten what it feels like to be in the shadows.
The music is also something altogether special, which is hardly surprising. Transitions gradually move the song along like ocean waves. The melody swells quietly and subsides, repeating over and over while changing into a rock ballad. When it reaches the peak and crashes over at the end, it’s the emotional release that no one knew they needed. The theme of the ocean figures strongly in the visualizer as well, reminding us how life has crests and troughs like the waves in the sea. It’s undoubtedly one of Pablo’s unique gifts to write subtle transitions and lead his listeners on an emotional journey.
Across Any Distance
It’s another beautiful facet of ‘Nyebe’ that we relate it to ourselves in so many ways.
There’s one big thing we haven’t talked about yet. When ‘Nyebe’ was released, there were as many interpretations of the lyrics as there were listeners, and we are no exception. Two lines stand out for us. The first is Ken’s line during the chorus: “Malamig ma’y ‘di na bale” (Eng: It doesn’t matter if it’s cold). For us, it reads that he can ignore everything that’s not okay as long as they are together. And, given the following lines - things still aren’t okay.
The other line is Stell’s in the first verse: “Tayo may magkalayo, panalangin k’oy kayo. Takot ay maglalaho; itong aking pangako - ako’y nandito.” (Eng: We may be miles apart, but I still pray for you. Fear will eventually fade; this I promise - I am here.) To be honest, this one hits a little closer to home. If you take a look at our about us page, you’ll see that the writers of Profiles in P-Pop live on opposite sides of the world. It’s another beautiful facet of ‘Nyebe’ that we relate it to ourselves in so many ways. Whether we are separated by physical or emotional distance, we can all understand the pain that comes with it.
Hope In the End
Fortunately, there is hope at the end of ‘Nyebe.’ The visualizer ends with the five members of SB19 celebrating their brotherhood - they are happiest when they are together. There is solace in connection that goes beyond the hopelessness and longing the song begins in with. Like their previous single, ‘WYAT,’, ‘Nyebe’ is another SB19 song that celebrates our connections to one another. In the end, SB19 stayed for themselves, each other, and, ultimately, for their A’tin. Piece by piece, they are telling their stories of how pain comes together into hope. Matutunaw din ang nyebe.