Music

We Found our Summer 2021 Anthem, And Just in the Nick of Time

Excuse us while we hit repeat.
IMAGE DNA RECORDS
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If the dizzying heat hasn't already clued you in, we are well and truly in the midst of summer, and that means cold drinks, 24/7 air conditioning, and road trips (well, that’d be the case if it weren’t for this little thing called a pandemic). Although the rains have started in some parts of the country, it looks like we have at least a couple of weeks left of glorious sun this year. 

Summer is also the season for anthems: songs that serve as markers for that specific moment in your life story. 

A great summer anthem can mean different things to different people. It could take you back to that trip to Boracay with your ex, bobbing your head while sipping cocktails and watching the sunset. It could be the song stuck on repeat while you drove with your friends up to Baguio or Sagada. Or it could just be the most-played song on your Spotify or Apple Music while you were sweating under the oppressive heat on your way to school or work.

Photo by DNA Records.
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Whatever it is for you, a summer anthem always radiates good vibes, besides being snappy and fun.

And that’s exactly what “Midsummer High” is. Our pick for this year’s ultimate OPM summer song is from a band so young and (relatively) unheard of they’re actually nameless. No really. The band’s name is Nameless Kids, and their latest single is as perfect a summer anthem as any song could ever hope to be. Heck, it’s right there in the title.

“Miles away from the city nights,” vocalist Nhiko Viktor Sabiniano croons over chill keys. “Time alone from the midnight lights / Getting lost out of your diamond skies / Sip of whisky under sparkling ice.” It’s a tad too literal, but hey, how else do you set up a song about escape from the usual and familiar to pursue deep-seated fantasies? (Besides, any mention of whisky on the rocks gets our nod).

There’s sparse instrumentation those first few seconds, until Kim Allen joins Sabiniano on vocals in the second verse, creating a pleasant, more interesting dynamic that really propels the song into this-would-be-perfect-with-a-drink-in-my-hand territory. And then the palm trees swaying in the breeze, the waves gently lapping the shore, and the coconutty scent of sunblock all manifest when the chorus kicks in:

“Chasing the sound of oceans / midnight drives / under the clouds we’re lyin' / in this midsummer high / Into the sunsets, deeper than I could ever find / hearing the sounds of oceans / in this midsummer high.”

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The rap verse that follows threw me off a bit, coming so early in the song. I’m probably just used to these flourishes showing up towards the end of a track, but that doesn’t diminish or take away the aura of positivity and cheer that “Midsummer High” gives off oh-so-naturally. To put it succinctly, it’s an under five-minute trip to the beach, or the aural equivalent of a halo-halo break—sweet, cool, and perfect for a hot, sunny day.

Who is Nameless Kids

Naturally, the track got me curious about the group. In addition to Sabiniano and Allen, Nameless Kids is Kyle Perry (guitar), Jason de Mesa (bass), and Imay Alconaba (drums). All just barely out of their teens, the band has at least two other songs floating around in the ether: “Outlaws”—a song that answers the question: what if Sons of Anarchy (the TV show about biker gangs) was turned into a sugary, bubblegum-pop song?—and “Wanna Know Me,” an ‘80s-tinged ballad that’s so saccharine and achingly innocent it almost gave me a toothache.

Photo by DNA Records.
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That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Signed under ABS-CBN’s DNA Records, the band brims with potential, and reminds me of the genuine excitement that She’s Only Sixteen generated about 10 years ago, or even IV of Spades five years ago. The trio of songs that Nameless Kids has so far put out seems to have a central theme—one of longing, of purpose, and the search for identity.

I’d be interested to hear a full album (are the kids still doing that these days?). And I'm willing to bet that, by then, the Nameless Kids will be nameless no more.

Listen to "Midsummer High" here:

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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