With SB19 and their fanbase, there’s no such thing as enough. 

The group’s debut album, Get In The Zone, was a smash hit that broke the charts, marking many firsts for a Southeast Asian act. Then came along Pagsibol, their first extended play which only expanded their career to new and unparalleled heights.

Despite releasing a number of singles last 2022, the demand for new music was still strong and evidently loud from the A’TIN fandom. Luckily for them (and for us), we were treated with a succeeding EP release that has taken the world by storm.

PAGTATAG! shows SB19 heading to a new direction and playing around with new sounds — one that infuses pop, hip-hop, EDM, and acoustic elements. Translated in English, the title literally means “establishment” which is a fitting name for a record that seeks to cement a new era for the group’s image and artistry. Regardless of the fact the album serves as their first release under their own label, there’s clearly something special brewing in the production of this project.

Having listened to it in its entirety, we can definitely confirm that SB19 fulfills this promise of theirs. Bold, brash, and better than ever — it’s evident early on in PAGTATAG! that these guys mean serious business.

From the lead single “GENTO” alone, the pulsating beats and confident delivery of the group already exude a natural sense of confidence. Though released back in May, the track continues to make waves not only with their fans but also with some of the biggest artists in the international music scene. The catchiness of the track is definitely a part of the reason why this song has become a viral hit all across the world, inspiring a dance trend that remains signature to SB19 and their identity. It makes a strong impact as the opening track of the EP, and like the gold that’s being alluded to in this track’s title, the rest of the EP is rich with material well worth mining. 

The project has its fair share of key adrenaline activators (e.g. the EDM/reggaeton-influenced “CRIMZONE”), but a surprising aspect comes from the areas in which the group lets their guard down on tracks that highlight their vulnerability. “ILAW” and “LIHAM” go beyond the (almost) enigmatic personas we’ve come to know of the members, yet their vocal versatility is put out on full display. Thanks to leader Pablo’s intimately penned lyrics, it leaves a warm and lasting impression to anyone listening.

“I WANT YOU” is a surprising favorite of ours from the project, with its 90s influence working as a sweet callback to Boyz II Men’s soulful serenades. Not only is it a fitting homage that works beautifully with each of their voices, but it’s an intriguing point of potential that the group can choose to explore further in their future projects. And while the seamless transition between English and Tagalog throughout the EP is already a commendable feat, the closing track “FREEDOM” integrates this especially well in a snappy set of verses that never lose sight of their identity. 

What’s most admirable about PAGTATAG! is that it evolves SB19’s creative flair to new heights — going to places that the group has never gone to before. While it can easily satisfy longtime members of the ever-loyal A’TIN fanbase, it also works as a great introductory point for those looking to become familiar with SB19 and their craft. 

As time has managed to prove, the guys of SB19 have evolved with every project they set their minds to. Whether it’s a new song, performance, album, worldwide tour, or self-established label they have next on the horizon, we’re already expecting the best for them — given that they never let us (or anyone for that matter) down.

When it comes to doing enough, that’s merely the bare minimum for SB19. Because boy, do they always get to give us their most.

Focus Tracks: “I WANT YOU”, “GENTO”, “LIHAM”

Listen to SB19’s “PAGTATAG!” here: