Bless P. Rodriguez -“Mahalin (Count To Ten)”~ Candid, romantic R&B from a Filipina artist in France!
Bless Parco Rodriguez has an interesting background. She’s a Filipina singer-lyricist currently based in France. These are, of course, very different countries with very different musical traditions, and I was interested to hear whether Rodriguez would synthesize the two on “Mahalin (Count To Ten).”
There doesn’t seem to be much French influence in this song, but no matter – Rodriguez presents a very solid, if lengthy, song in “Mahalin (Count To Ten),” sitting firmly amidst the stylings of contemporary R&B. A dramatic piano chord progression opens the song, followed by a heavy bassline and an electronic drum part ornamented with the rolling trap high hats that have come to dominate almost every genre at this point. Rodriguez sings with competence and conviction, delivering lyrics that feel honest and yearning.
The song’s lyrics are overtly romantic – lines like “let’s celebrate / virtually intertwined” and a playful nod to the Toy Story series, “love me to infinity and beyond” emphasize that the principal theme of this piece. The chorus, including a catchy passage where Rodriguez counts to ten and splits English and Tagalog is forthright: “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten / Love me / Love me with all of your heart / Love me for what I am.”
“Mahalin (Count To Ten)” is also a curious contrast to Rodriguez’ earlier single from this year, the all-Tagalog “Buhayin Ang Baybayin,” which features her performing both rapping and singing over an instrumental that is informed by both R&B and rock. The latter is also a much more polished song; “Mahalin (Count To Ten)” is raw in its production – there’s a charm to the authenticity of it, but a little more polish would give Rodriguez room to really shine.
As a listener I think I’d place this song on any up-and-coming R&B playlist without a second thought; but I wonder, given the stylistic gulf between “Mahalin (Count To Ten)” and “Buhayin Ang Baybayin,” whether Rodriguez’s next move won’t be in yet another genre. Personally I found her rapping on the earlier release to be very compelling and would love to hear more of that from her.
At any rate, “Mahalin (Count To Ten)” is a competent, modern R&B song that delivers a romantic message in a sizeable, but intentional package.
Listen to “Mahalin (Count To Ten)” on Spotify here -
You can check out Bless Parco Rodriguez’ Instagram profile here: