PLAYLIST: A celebration of dance pop and the immortality of ‘Tala’

Amanda T. Lago
PLAYLIST: A celebration of dance pop and the immortality of ‘Tala’
We salute the 'Tala' craze with a playlist of pop songs that are just as danceable

MANILA, Philippines – Arguably the most inspirational song of the decade is something none of us could have predicted: Sarah Geronimo’s “Tala” – yes, that LSS-inducing song people have been dancing to all over the internet.

The song was released as the lead single on Sarah’s 2015 album, The Great Unknown – and it made a huge impact on landing. Critics warmly received the way the song infused mainstream pop with a tribal feel in the percussions. And fans couldn’t get enough of the catchy chorus that sang, of course, of Filipino listeners’ favorite subject, love.

When the “Tala” music video was released in June 2016, the song made even more of a dent in Pinoy pop culture as the nation beheld their beloved wholesome ate Sarah – then still known as the Pop Princess – showing off a totally different side of herself.

It certainly wasn’t like the jump Britney Spears made going from “Sometimes” to “Slave 4 U.” But the video – with Sarah impressively nailing some tricky dance sequences in a tattoeed bodysuit – cemented the idea (if her two previous hits “Kilometro” and “Ikot-Ikot” hadn’t already) that Sarah was a talented triple threat who does not come to play.

Over time though, the “Tala” hype slowly faded as OPM gave way to folk-pop and funk-rock. For 3 years, the shine of “Tala” remained largely forgotten by mainstream listeners – occassionally being taken out of the baul for the odd cover here and there.

Of course, on the drag circuit, it was a different story – and many, including Sarah herself, credit the reemergence of the song to the LGBTQ+ community, and particularly to Bench Hipolito, a drag queen and Sarah Geronimo impersonator, who featured the song in many of her performances.

By late 2019, years after its initial release, “Tala” had become ubiquitous once again.

Pretty much everyone who can follow the choreography (and even some who can’t) have shared their own dance covers online. Even inmates at the San Juan City Jail got in on the action.

Sunday variety show ASAP Natin ‘To even held a “Grand Tala Day” to celebrate the song that has become a national obssession 4 years after it was first released.

By this point it’s safe to say that “Tala” has eclipsed its own impact when it first came out – and we’re all for it.

In fact, we are so for it , that we’ve compiled a bunch of “Tala”-adjacent tracks from mostly Pinoy pop artists – with a little K-pop thrown into the mix for good measure.

With the same upbeat vibe, same danceability, and the same LSS potential, these songs are a reminder that when life gets rough, there is always a reason to dance – as “Tala” was, and, apparently now, always will be.

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Amanda T. Lago

After avoiding long-term jobs in favor of travelling the world, Amanda finally learned to commit when she joined Rappler in July 2017. As a lifestyle and entertainment reporter, she writes about music, culture, and the occasional showbiz drama. She also hosts Rappler Live Jam, where she sometimes tries her best not to fan-girl on camera.