After the popularly and critically well-received debut album, “Honeymoon”, Jensen and the Flips aren’t planning to stop any soon. Having released their sophomore LP, BTTR, they continue to prove that they are more than just a band. They are the one and only Jensen and the Flips.
Honeymoon definitely served as a good introduction and established the band’s name, groovy sound, songwriting style, and uniqueness among other indie musicians. But with BTTR, they have definitely grown and you do feel the maturity of the band as a whole and as individual musicians. They have proven themselves to be a staple of the Manila indie scene.
Though many other artists and musicians have written about the same themes, Jensen and the Flips brilliantly captures the different experiences and emotions behind being “in love” without compromising their uniqueness and charm. BTTR is a testament to people who are already in love or just falling in love; infatuated or disenchanted; turned on or turned off. Para sa mga taong umasa, paasa, iniwan, sinaktan; sa mga nag mo-move on o ayaw mag move on. Sa mga naniniwala sa poreber and to those who have given up. Para rin po ito sa mga taong hinding hindi susuko sa pagibig, at sa mga sumuko na. BTTR is an album that precisely encompasses all these many emotions, and properly delivers its one unified message:
True love is worth anything and everything in the whole world.
I actually think that the album has an overarching narrative. Having read the lyrics a few times, I really believe that there’s a story behind it.
From the title track, BTTR, this concept is already established. Frontman and vocalist Jensen Gomez sings about wanting to get to know and love his significant other better (hence the album title). Asking her to just close her eyes and feel the magic of the night, he promises her that she is everything to him and that he will do anything for her. And of course, the SPG part happens. You just can’t have a Jensen and the Flips album without a bit of sexiness.
In songs like BTTR, Love + U, Magic, Make It, Breathe Easy, Jensen just wants to fall in love and be in love. He wants this girl to know that he is really serious about her and, as I said earlier, he’s proving that he is willing to jump every obstacle for her.
Hehe, I can’t help but think of Reese Lansangan as the mysterious love interest, but that’s a topic for another day. #Lansomez5ever
I just wanna know you better
love you better…
I just wanna let you know
That there will be no one better than me (BTTR)
I’m so glad I have you… (Love + U)
And then he narrates that this girl doesn’t love him back and already has someone else in her life. He just wants what’s best for her:
Ako’y di mo gusto…
Pero laging tandaan
Na nandito lang naman ako…
Masaya ka sakanya… (Dapat Sana)
Eventually, Jensen implies that, after waiting patiently for her, this girl begins to fall in love with him:
Whatever storm or weather
I’ll love you whenever…
It’s been a long time coming
Glad it’s finally here
Yeah this love is worth the wait (Magic)
And apparently they go SPG mode on BDYTLK. I’ll spare you guys the details.
The narrative continues with Karma, Kill Me Now where Jensen explains that her current boyfriend is abusive. He says that her boyfriend is not the one for her, and that he is worth the try:
He should know I’m now your main…
He has to move away
I’ll be taking up that space he left
I’m worth the try, you can’t deny
Not just tonight, but for a long, long time…
I won’t do the things he did (Karma, Kill Me Now)
After telling her that he is the one for her, Jensen realizes that she is just playing with his emotions. But he doesn’t care because he is so deeply in love with her:
I know you ain’t taking me so serious
You’re just playing me
I’m furious but I can’t help it
Come closer, babe
Yeah, I don’t care how much you hurt me
Shake me, break me bad (Come Closer)
He continues to assure her that he will never break her heart and that his love is genuine despite everyone’s criticisms or all the other challenges they will face as a couple:
Don’t be afraid
Take a chance with me…
This love’s gonna make it
No matter what it is they say… (Make It)
And then they go back into some SPG territory with Breathe Easy. I mean, it’s almost Fifty Shades-esque. It’s probably about taking it slow and feeling the love while in bed. But there’s also some talk about “hurting”, “beating”, and “teasing”, so…anyway. Jensen calmly tells her to breathe easy and to just feel the passion and romance as the night goes by.
And finally, the album comes to a close with Want Me / Want You where Jensen falls into a state of heartbreak and confusion. He begins to doubt the power of true love when this girl he has been chasing after destroys him. But he does not give up on love. He remains true to his promise that he will continue to love her despite all the challenges and hardships:
I don’t see why should I believe
When after some time you’ll just leave…
I don’t wanna be here, but I love you
Break me ’til it makes you want me
Use me ’til it makes you need me…
I just want you to want me
Like how much I want you. Bad. (Want Me / Want You)
And that is an amazing narrative that really inspired me to just find love and fight for it. I hope you feel the same way too.
Though, I cannot overlook BTTR’s biggest problem. Many of the songs sound too much alike. The same guitar sound, brass sections in almost every track, and all that. Also, having the songs being so thematically similar did not help. Once Karma, Kill Me Now played, I started to feel the boredom slowly creep in. This caused me to lose focus on the music as my mind started drifting away from it.
But, again, if you just want to have fun and have a good time, this album is for you. It’s so full of love, ecstaticity, and heart.
Yes, it’s true that BTTR is not a lyrically deep album. Its themes and concepts are definitely familiar ground, and the lyrics are simple. But what makes the album special are the musicians behind it and their infectious charm and charisma.
I mean, Jensen and the Flips is a band of guys who just want to have fun and make music. That’s something many artists have lost nowadays. A lot of people think too much when they write songs and let go of the fun behind creating a masterpiece.
In losing themselves, Jensen and the Flips have crafted a unique sound and songwriting style that captures and infects the hearts of their audiences to feel the night, dance, have fun, and to just experience the magic of falling in love, no matter the risk, no matter the cost. Because true love is worth it all. And even though your heart gets broken in the end…
It is still very much worth it.
Despite many of the songs sounding very similar, BTTR remains a perfect soundtrack for falling in love and dancing to the night. Thanks to Jensen and the Flips’ carefree and animated songwriting.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER: