With timeless pop-rock anthems that cut across generational lines, Rivermaya has easily cemented their place as one of the most important Filipino bands of all time. Their songs have served their purpose as great anchors for intimate conversations and as a source of comfort for every Filipino yearning for music they can call home.
More than their wistful and sometimes introspective reflections on love, pain, freedom, and youth, Rivermaya penned music with a mix of unwavering earnestness and vulnerability, capturing the essence of everyday life in nuanced but relatable terms.
The band’s iconic lineup from 1994 to 1998, which includes Bamboo Mañalac, Mark Escueta, Nathan Azarcon, and Rico Blanco has produced some of the most enduring classics in Pinoy rock. From the chest-thumping sing-alongs of “Hinahanap-Hanap Kita,” “Elesi,” and “Ulan” to the stadium-sized glory of “Awit Ng Kabataan” and “Kisapmata,” from the melancholic balladry of “If,” “Panahon Na Naman,” and “214” to the cult appeal of “Bring Me Down” and “Luha,” the popular four-piece act achieved commercial success while delivering groundbreaking cultural impact and artistic vision in equal measure—something that has proven to be elusive, even among their contemporaries in the field.
Their legacy, which shaped the ever-fickle pop culture of the ‘90s with their distinct brand of eloquence and charm, is fully captured in their essential Rivermaya – Greatest Hits: Himig Ng Dekada 90 album, which chronicles the biggest hits of their formative years as well as the underrated tunes that still hold merit up to this day. Featuring twelve of their most iconic songs and two remixes, the compilation album gives listeners a complete picture of the band’s music: fearless in its humanity and imperfection, but smugly cool in portraying tenderness, chaos, and adventurousness in situations that don’t always feel like they’re made for the movies. It’s as real as it gets.
“There are powerful messages in the songs, for those who need to hear them,” drummer Mark Escueta reflects on the compilation album’s intrinsic appeal. “Overall, it’s fun to listen to the songs, even the sad ones. We’re honored that we get to share our music and inspire people on a personal, intimate level. We no longer own these songs; they belong to anyone who dares to wholeheartedly embrace them and still emerge whole from the process. It’s everyone’s songs now.”
With Mañalac, Escueta, Azarcon, and Blanco headlining a reunion concert on February 17, 2024, at the SMDC Festival Grounds, Rivermaya’s Greatest Hits record serves not only as a convincing argument for the band’s inimitable genius but also as a guide to the immortal music that’s so deeply ingrained in Pinoy collective consciousness. For long-time fans who would want to deep-dive into the band’s discography and review their career-defining ‘karaoke’ jams, this compilation album is the way to go for the essential no-skips fodder.
Here’s the track list to get you started:
- Hinahanap-hanap Kita
- Awit Ng Kabataan
- Panahon Na Naman
- Kung Ayaw Mo, Huwag Mo
- Bring Me Down
- 214 (Tripnotic Mix)
- Kisapmata (Mayhem Mix)
Rivermaya – Greatest Hits: Himig Ng Dekada 90 is out now on all digital music platforms worldwide via Sony Music Entertainment.
The original lineup, composed of Bamboo Mañalac, Rico Blanco, Nathan Azarcon, and Mark Escueta, stages a one-night-only reunion concert produced by Live Nation Philippines. Dubbed ‘Rivermaya The Reunion,’ the iconic pop-rock outfit will be celebrating the unparalleled Rivermaya legacy with a highly anticipated set featuring some of their greatest hits and rarities. Tickets are available on the Live Nation Philippines website and SM Tickets outlets.