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Nothing says “party” more than Multiplex.

Back when mini-component systems were the “in” thing, the big radios came with a collection of Multiplex tapes that were always at war with “minus-one.”  It was a great way to spend Halloween; the days before All Saints’ Day were spent with doble-kara performances of “Endless Love,” where half of one’s body would be dolled up like Diana Ross, and the other half dressed up like Lionel Richie.  There’s also the birit competitions that go with Whitney Houston falsettos, particularly that of “I Will Always Love You.”  Quite a number of performers were born from the folds of Multiplex lyrics pamphlets, painstakingly memorized for the Tanghalang Bayan at the town fiesta.

Never mind if it’s a rendition of a song by Simply Red.  I hope you comprehend.

For the lot of people born in the age of Multiplex and minus-one, there was always common ground: Michael Learns to Rock.  Drunks couldn’t pull off the modulation and harmony required of emulating the voice of Jascha Richter; only kids would.  Yet even the simplicity of “That’s Why” or “Sleeping Child” isn’t enough for stage mothers who wanted instant, momentary fame for their children blessed with awesome vocal cords; you needed more complex songs that threatened the integrity of their voices.  Like, say, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” by Celine Dion.

Yes.  There were days when the sun was so cold… I’m not the best poet in the world, but you know, it was made of awesome during its time.

Multiplex was beyond the dearth of talent found in karaoke.  The scoring system was a relatively new innovation, and all you need to do to get a perfect score is to scream into the darned microphone to intimidate it into giving you a fairly good average (say, a 98% rating).  Multiplex was different; it was all about raw talent.  To succeed in Tawag ng Tanghalan (or some other equivalent), and to gain the respect and adulation of every discerning audience member-slash-judge from the stands, you needed to memorize the song and give an awesome performance.

The awesomeness of all this was in Air Supply, who could make the most awesome lyrics… but nary a kid would sing them at a competition level.  The bootleggers somewhere in the market would make good money for “rehearsal tapes,” particularly songs by Jamie Rivera.  Then there was always the duet: many a childhood romance would be made from Multiplex performances of “Please Be Careful With My Heart” and something like, say, “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love,” no matter how wrong it was on so many levels if you have kids singing them.

Then again there’s that other purpose of Multiplex: dance hits.  Like, Pizzicato Five.  Or Larusso.  Yet in these days of iTunes and nobarreh nobarreh batchu, I doubt that a Tawag ng Tanghalan performance of “Nagmahal Ako Ng Bakla” would do particularly well.  Perhaps what we need to get a blast from the past is for Harlem-dancing kids to choreograph a brand-new routine for “Dying Inside” by Timmy T.

1 comments on “Multiplex”

    • Abi
    • October 31, 2009

    I miss multiplex 🙁 Oh the simplicity of life.

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