No Pinoy KTV session would be complete without at least one person belting out James Ingram songs. What can we say? Filipinos are incurable romantics so naturally, a James Ingram song is one of the ultimate hugot moments.
So it’s no wonder that so many people are grieving over news of Ingram’s death after battling a terminal illness.
Let’s take a look at these Pinoy favorites from Ingram’s repertoire and see what we can learn from them:
“Just Once” (1981)
Are you Filipino? Are you a man? Have you ever been in a romantic relationship?
If you said “yes” to all of that, then there’s a 200% chance that you’ve told your significant other at least once,
I did my best but I guess my best wasn’t good enough.
You of all people now know that a relationship isn’t all heart emoticons, unicorns, chocolates, rainbows, and edible underwear.
Eventually, you are going to do something so ridiculously stupid that you and your partner will fight, and maybe even call it quits. Then get back together again.
Then start over, fight, rinse, repeat. Like an endless washing machine cycle.
If you’re both lucky, your relationship will survive. If not, then you’ll be listening to another James Ingram song called,
“One Hundred Ways” (1981)
This song, which Ingram recorded for Quincy Jones “The Dude” album, is practically a how-to on making a woman fall in love with you. In today’s internet lingo, this entire song is filled with “romance and love hacks”.
For example, let’s say you fall in love with a woman (because your previous relationship went kaput). What should you do first? Quincy Jones and James Ingram tell you to:
Compliment what she does
Send her roses just because
If it’s violins she loves let them play
Dedicate her fav’rite song and hold
Her closer all night long
Lover her today
Find one hundred ways
See? If you really love a woman, all you have to do is find at least one hundred ways to show that love.
(Will this work for man-to-man, woman-to-woman, and transgender romances? Maybe. Why don’t you try it out?)
Also, this type of love advice brainwashes a man to simply keep doing what the woman wants. It’s the perfect Pavlovian-Skinnerian method to prepare a man for married life.
“I Don’t Have the Heart” (1989)
This song reached the No. 1 spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed there for a week.
Relationships change. People change. And sadly, we might have to break off a relationship with someone — even though we don’t want to hurt that person.
This is likely a true scenario for many Pinoys because this song still has currency as a break-up song.
I don’t have the heart to hurt you
It’s the last thing I want to do
But I don’t have the heart to love you
Not the way that you want me to
Of course, if your partner says this to you simply because he or she already has someone on the side without you knowing… that might be an excuse for justifiable homicide.
Judge: (talking to you after you killed your boyfriend) How do you plead?
You: Not guilty, Your Honor.
You: Your Honor, do you know what he did? He played that James Ingram song and told me “I don’t have the heart to hurt you. It’s the last thing I want to do.”
Then I found out that he already had another girlfriend for six months. I found out on Facebook! So I killed him.
Judge: I see. Case is dismissed. The defendant is free to go!
“There’s No Easy Way [to Break Somebody’s Heart]” (1983)
Okay. How do you break up with someone? That is so stressful. If you’ve actually loved the person then you feel guilty about saying that you’re leaving her.
No wonder that millennials would rather break up with someone over a text message,over an online chat, or at most, a phone call (as long as you’re on an Unlicall promo).
But guess what: in the 1980s, there were no cellphones, no social media, and no internet. Imagine that.
Back then, people had to break up with their lovers in person. You had to be actually physically present to tell the other person that the relationship is over. The horror.
How did old people manage to do that, you millennials are likely wondering now.
Also, how does the one being abandoned react? There you are, face to face with the person who just broke up with you. This stinking asshole just told you outright that it’s over.
What do you do? Go in the corner with your smartphone and send him an angry emoji? A broken heart emoji?
Do you slap his face or kick him in the nuts? Or laugh hysterically because of course, he must be joking if he’s giving up on someone as awesome-beautiful-sexy as you.
How does a millennial handle it when this most hurtful moment is happening in real life, without the barrier and distance provided by a smartphone screen?
It doesn’t help that social media makes it unbearably stressful for a millennial to break up with someone.
As this New York Magazine article points out, a break-up nowadays does not really mean a “break”. You will still be constantly, painfully aware of your ex- thanks to your social media connections.
The logical thing to do would be to block your ex- on social media. But will you? Our brains have been conditioned to be much too curious.
It’s so easy to stalk your ex- on Facebook and Instagram.
It’s so easy to find out how fast the bastard got over you.
Then you get to see who he or she replaced you with.
And they look so happy, those motherf******!! Grrrr.
So yes. For millennials, maybe more than Generation X, there really is no easy way to break somebody’s heart.
And no easy way to have your heart broken because thanks to social media, you’ll stalk your ex- and break your heart over and over and over and over… okay now slap yourself and stop it!
In this James Ingram song, the woman who is abandoned becomes, in a way, the “winner”. The man breaks up with her; he feels guilty. He tries his best to break it to her gently:
I held her close to me
‘Cause I know she breaks so easily
And then I told her
But I knew no matter how I tried to console her
She’d just do the best she could
But there are times the best in no damn good
And no matter how you try to be kind
There’s always still a part of you you leave behind
When it falls apart
There’s no easy way to break somebody’s heart
But then in response, she manages to keep quiet despite the pain and even manages to smile at him.
I thought that she’d break down
But she smiled at me and never made a sound
And I guess she understood in her way
Cause her silence told me everything she could not say
When it falls apart
There’s just no easy way
There’s just no easy way
There’s just no easy way to break somebody’s heart.
Wow. What sort of woman keeps her dignity and composure in this situation?
If you women out there react to a break-up like the woman in this song, you deserve a standing ovation at the United Nations General Assembly. You deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.
It could be more likely though, nowadays, that a woman who reacts that way should scare you.
After all, in the age of social media, she can practically track your movements, your location, your life. Payback is sooo easy.
She might be smiling now, but what could she be planning? In this case, we can only remember the warning, not by James Ingram, but by William Shakespeare:
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Photo credit: GALLO IMAGES/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK