WORDS BY GELO GONZALES
Francis M’s much talked-about collaboration album with fellow luminary Ely Buendia has finally come.And more than anything, In Love and War exudes energy.
It has spirit, it is inspired, and positively disinclined to surrender, in spite of what we all know Francis went through during the production of this album.
True, not all of the songs would be about survival or the brave, defiant front Francis put forth in light of his cancer treatment.
But what you can’t deny is this: This is the work of an artist who wants to stick it to an opponent, intimidating and seemingly invincible.
“Fuck you, cancer, you’re not stopping me from doing what I want to do,” Francis would have told it had it been a creature blessed with ears and cognitive functions.
And Ely Buendia isn’t any different, having had a brush or two with death as well. This was an artist who very well knew that death—no matter how many of us claim that we’ve no fear of it—is still indeed a scary matter.
Their experiences, and that we are privy to their experiences, give the album substance and credibility. Together, they pool their emotions into an album whose themes transcend the usual breadth of topics in OPM music. †
Let us continue with our very own ode to Francis:
This emcee is dead,
Though his spirit was strong,
The body wouldn’t hold.
Against the enemy inside,
Terrible and fearsome and all,
Finally he succumbs.
This emcee is dead,
No new rhymes will be told
But his spirit, his music, his soul
Will continue to soldier on.
In every song, there’s a sense of urgency, a will to evoke sharp emotions like a circus knife-thrower hurling bolos at definite, very specific targets.
The opener, "Higante" hits the bull’s eye right away, talking about having the courage to face huge adversities. The song should be familiar to many, as it has already been released as a single in late 2009.
“Bleeder,” a track featuring Pupil and their energetic rhythm could be Francis at his most personal in this album. “One drop is all I need, one time for me to breathe…Coz I’m a bleeder, so give my vessels a breather,” he sings.