Rant and Rave: Why July’s ‘What If?’ leaves no room for questions

As the spotlight shines brightly on more indie talents, Why July takes the stage without missing a single beat.

Hailing from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, the group is composed of five members: vocalist Solo Adriano, guitarist Emil De Dios, pianist and vocalist Dani Mendoza, bassist Matt Marasigan, and drummer TJ Martinez. The band independently writes, records, and produces their own music.

With the release of their newest EP What If?, the band diverges from the usual relatable heartbreak beats that dominate the Original Pilipino Music (OPM) scene. The band will certainly reach greater heights from here as they showcase their distinctive sound, revitalizing the Philippine music industry with their bold and fresh melodies—the kind of music that is guaranteed to get stuck in your head for days on end.

No lies

The fruit of their growth and hard work as musicians over the last three years—a period where they didn’t release any music—is evidently seen as Why July shrouds their EP in a palpable state of groove and relatability. Made for lovers who become infatuated with the idea of love rather than the lived reality, What If? tells the story of the kind of ardor that is confusing and inadvertently obsessive.

In the first track, Swipe Me Right, Adriano perfectly uses feigned nonchalance to mask the desperation in his infatuation as he sings, “I don’t know about you but I know it’s love at first sight, so swipe me right, or don’t. It’s ‘aight.” Through the vocalist’s exuding confidence and charm, the song paradoxically turns its audience into what the song doesn’t want them to be; obsessed. Singing, “Oh please, want me in your life, oh please”, its lyrics are obsessive and mildly humorous. 

The second track, Wishful Thinking, features Mendoza playing a funky tune on the piano as they air out their frustrations surrounding an unclear relationship, saying, “We’ve been running in circles for quite some time, I’m talking ‘bout the way we never say good night. What are you scared of? Where are you hiding? Is this just wishful thinking?” In the same sense, Adriano tries to combat the blurred lines with a mask of indifference in the choruses, not wanting to lose his mind over the confusingly undefined relationship, singing, “I’m rolling the dice, ain’t losing my sunshine, ain’t losing my mind over thinking of you.”

Similar to Meghan Trainor and Bruno Mars’ sound in their earlier discographies, the title track What If? is reminiscent of early 2010s pop beats. With a sound that emits fun and nostalgia, its lyrics juxtapose this feeling with lines of unanswered questions about what-if scenarios, ending the EP’s story with an unrequited love that is familiar to many.

Marasigan’s heavy bassline protrudes exceptionally well throughout the EP’s entirety, making it second nature to move with the rhythm. With Adriano and Mendoza’s captivating and harmonious vocals, coupled with De Dios’ guitar solo skills and Martinez’s structural rhythm, dancing along to the beat is irresistible. Despite the wistful depiction of love found in its lyrical storytelling, the EP is sure to leave the listeners wanting to experience even a touch of the affection that the band sings about so passionately.

Being the EP’s lead single, Swipe Me Right captivates listeners more easily, thus undermining the synonymous talent present in the rest of the EP and rendering the other two songs hidden gems that shouldn’t be. In reality, each track was produced with careful thought, which seamlessly pieces the story and musical compositions together. Listening to each song intently is a must for the audience to gain the full experience of Why July’s musical storytelling, as well as an appreciation for the EP as a whole.

‘Rolling the dice’

It is no mistake to say that What If? has so much to offer to avid music lovers. The EP is full of wonder, longing, and love—a fitting encapsulation of a collection that weaves will-they-won’t-theys and uncertain futures so intricately into its melodies. In fact, it wouldn’t be quite a stretch to say that this band may potentially be the next crown jewel of the OPM scene. With the EP’s release and launch gig, the band’s pursuit of glory seems closer than ever, instilling a tangible thrill for anticipating audiences who can’t wait to see what the band has in store as a group comprised of real, promising talent.

Rating: 3.0/4.0
Red Binay

By Red Binay

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