I was originally supposed to post this two weeks ago, after the Eraserheads concert.
First... the runners-up:
From Ultraelectromagneticpop!, there's Easy Ka Lang, the jangly predecessor of "Cool Ka Lang," and Ligaya, which has a special place for every college student who's done thesis work. From Circus, Hey Jay does the conga, and bonus track Wating is campy in a good way (with movie dialogue interspersed in the verses). Cutterpillow, often considered the band's best work, has Huwag Mo Nang Itanong, Walang Nagbago, and Poorman's Grave, all well-written pop-rock classics. Sticker Happy's Kaliwete, Hard to Believe, and the underrated Futuristic, with its slowed-down outro, all barely missed the top 20. Dahan Dahan, Peace it Together (a spliced-up frankensong 7-minutes song), and Maselang Bahaghari both represent Natin99 well. Finally, from the largely-ignored Carbonsteroxide, Marcus Adoro's Hula is a fun slow-burning rock song.
20. Hula (Carbonstereoxide) - The band does its best Built To Spill impression: sublime bass-playing, soft-loud dynamics, and a sped-up bridge.
19. Fill Her (Cutterpillow) - The title's actually wordplay on "filler" -- which this song was supposed to be. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful quiet Eraserheads ballads.
18. Ang Huling El Bimbo (Cutterpillow) - The Eraserheads' magnum opus, and their most well-known song. I'm guessing over-familiarity can lead to a slightly lower rank? Not my fault.
17. Julie Tearjerky (Aloha Milkyway) - A top notch lo-fi sounding pop-rock song which got massive airplay in an L.A. indie rock station.
16. Tamagotchi Baby (Aloha Milkyway) - ...and a made-for-Asia single that got tons of MTV airplay. (With good cause. "Tamagotchi Baby" is one of their catchiest later songs.)
15. Para sa Masa (Sticker Happy) - This tender piano ode to the masses is actually a bitingly sarcastic lunge at the music-listening public that abandoned them during Fruitcake.
14. Waiting for the Bus (Cutterpillow) - Good old rock-and-roll, replete with nonsensical lyrics that heighten the song's already-brimming charm.
13. Ha Ha Ha (Sticker Happy) - Every line of every verse begins with the syllable "Ha." A well-written back-to-basics song in their "experimental" album.
12. Shirley (Ultraelectromagneticpop!) - This was never released as a single, but it was one of the tracks from the first album that captured the fans' hearts. The song name-drops chronicles a mundane college love story gone sour, then sweet again.
11. Minsan (Circus) - The perfect acoustic goodbye-to-you-but-memories-will-stay song, up there with "Paglisan." The last line's a heartbreaker.
10. Spoliarium (Sticker Happy) - A song about about feeling, and being lost in the world, which just begs for lighters to be raised in the air.
09. Alapaap (Circus) - In many ways, the first sophisticated Eraserheads pop-rock single. All the elements are here: the slow, brooding intro, the breakneck finish, the substance abuse double-entendres.
08. Tama Ka (Natin99) - With a kundiman-type opening and doo-doo-doos, this song proved that the 'heads can still write crowd-pleasers at the tailend of their band-life.
07. Pop Machine (Natin99) - Where all the band's electronic experimentation hit its creative peak. "Pop Machine" hits a nice groove, and accents it with well-sung falsettos from Ely Buendia. Pretty damn danceable too.
06. Shake Yer Head (Ultraelectromagneticpop!) - Best summed-up the Eraserheads' carefree disposition and everyman image early on in their career. A folky sing-along that ups the mood in any gloomy gathering.
05. Sembreak (Circus) - The evolution of "Ligaya" -- a love song written for the most mundane moments, and a reminder that bathroom basketball and being carless are both A-OK.
04. Torpedo (Cutterpillow) - Soft-loud, slow-fast dynamics, about a situation everyone has found him or herself in -- the "torpe" moment. I love how the doot-doot-doot outro just shrugs off any care for the world.
03. Kailan (Circus) - A love song whose persona is languishing in jail. I guess all that free time has led him to perfecting transplanting feelings into imagery. The best 'heads ballad.
02. Trip to Jerusalem (Fruitcake) - FINALLY! A song from the much-derided Christmas album. This one just rocks your socks off, and it also contains the moment that I remember best when I think of any E-heads song: that last chorus where the rhythm guitars and bass just drop out and all that remain are Raimund's drums, some guitar-noodling care of Marcus, and Ely's voice.
01. Lightyears (Fruitcake) - I've always heralded this song's merits, and for good reason. This is the Eraserheads at the creative peak -- writing this gorgeous song about yearning and distance, replete with orchestraic flourishes and celestial imagery. And yes, because my top two songs are both from "Fruitcake," I also readily claim and defend the Fruitcake album. I'd even say it's the band's best album, with Natin99 closely behind.