IN SARAH GERONIMO'S latest album, "Becoming," the teen queen shows uncommon restraint and maturity. In the lineup's radio-friendly first track, "I Still Believe in Loving You," for instance, her strong, gliding interpretation showcases the song's beautiful melody without her usual angsty, chest-powered shrieking. In fact, for the tune's final last notes, she even uses a lovely head tone.
Made up mostly of original tracks that display her beautiful pipes, Geronimo's album experiments with different sounds: There's the upbeat, pop-powered "Iingatan Ko"; the Latin-tinged "You Mean the World to Me"; the jazzy "After Love"; the tweener-like tunes, "And I'm in Love Again" and "Baby Blue"; the dance track, "Don't You Worry," and the inspirational "Peace Is All We Know."
Fans who are used to hearing Sarah singing soulful ballads won't be disappointed with "Magliliwanag Rin Muli," "Kaibigan," "Alaala Mo" and the beautiful "Carry My Love."
While the album isn't completely successful (a third of the songs are melodically and lyrically undistinctive), it's nevertheless heartening to hear Sarah spreading her musical wings by trying new types of songs that wouldn't have been considered in the lineup of her showy first albums.
Most singers these days take the fastest route to Hitsville by waxing one revival after another. After all, it's easier to promote songs that have easy recall. So, it really takes courage--and a sense of adventure--to release a mostly-original collection of songs for pop music's hard-to-please fans.
This healthy career trajectory is a welcome breather for the teen queen, who has of late been churning out well-sung and popular--but not necessarily better--remakes of songs like "Bituing Walang Ningning."
In a few years, it would be great to hear Sarah sing more local classics--from kundiman to pop hits of the '70s and '80s. For now, however, let us allow the pretty singing champ to experiment with songs that are perfect for her age.