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New albums drip with romantic mush and melancholy

By Rito Asilo
First Posted 21:01:00 02/09/2007

Filed Under: Music

CHRISTIAN Bautista?s first live recording, ?Just a Love Song,? is a must-have for the hopelessly romantic. The hefty, 19-track collection is a concept album that includes songs from the silver screen (?Message in a Bottle,? ?Staying Alive?) and from David Pomeranz.

The balladeer?s new disc appropriately starts with Barry Manilow?s ?Trying to Get the Feeling Again,? which Pomeranz composed.

Fresh sound

In ?More Than You?ll Ever Know,? he begins with an unfamiliar intro (?Now, don?t you worry anymore, as I?ve told you before, am never, ever leaving you??) before it segues smoothly into its familiar melody -- a well-intentioned effort to infuse a fresh sound into the classic love tune.

There?s much to enjoy in this collection: Bread?s ?Make It With You,? Pomeranz?s ?Got to Believe in Magic,? ?Of All The Things,? Diane Warren?s ?Could Not Ask For More,? Joe Jackson?s ?Be My Number Two,? and Rick Astley?s ?Cry for Help.?

It?s refreshing to listen to a rich male voice interpreting ?Finding Out the Hard Way,? which was composed by Sylvester Stallone?s brother, Frank, and originally sung by Cynthia Rhodes for John Travolta?s 1983 film, ?Staying Alive.?

Gerry Paraiso?s ?You,? first sung by Basil Valdez in the ?80s and revived a decade later by Roselle Nava, also finds its way into the track listing.

Our top pick is Walter Murphy?s ?Just a Love Song,? from the singer?s 1976 album, ?A Fifth of Beethoven.? Yes, Virginia, the popular ballad actually comes from an album of classical music -- but arranged with the disco beat! The unabashedly sentimental song drips with saccharine mush and melancholy.

Nina, too, has a new recording that bursts with love songs -- a self-titled, 11-track compilation that showcases the sultry siren?s versatility: Joleen Belle?s ?Ooh Boy? is a toe-tapping piece with a catchy refrain. Franne Golde?s sexy ?Where Is Love? has of a vocal arrangement reminiscent of Mariah Carey?s famous, breathy cooing.

Mike Reid and James Shamblin?s torch song, ?I Can?t Make You Love Me,? has been enjoying a succession of revivals. Bonnie Raitt?s anthemic song for the lovelorn is hard to top, but Nina gives a beautifully dressed-down version. It features simple, straightforward singing with guitar strumming in the background, and a last stanza that?s transposed twice to show off the singer?s stratospheric vocal range.

Top tracks: The introspective, traffic-stopping ?Someday,? that boasts of a rich melody and Nina?s emotive panache. Also noteworthy are Juan Ariel Coma?s birthday song, ?Sa Araw Na ?To,? Eric Cabahug?s ?Is It Over?? and Nyoy Volante?s ?I Need Your Love.?


Local band Join the Club, which broke into the music scene with ?Nobela? last year, recently came out with a special edition of the group?s album, which now contains the music videos of ?Nobela,? ?Lunes? and ?Tinig,? as well as eight other tracks. Our top choices include ?Minsan Pa? and ?Lunes.?

One of the pleasant surprises from the recording scene this season is ?Dancing in the Rain,? Ryan Cayabyab?s latest recording with the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra and the San Miguel Master Chorale.

The album?s songs have intriguing titles like ?Photographs of You and Me Together,? ?Frap for Two on a Beach in Cebu,? ?Alone, Drenched in the Red, Orange and Gold of a Manila Sunset,? ?Almost Sun-up and I Haven?t Slept.?

Short but sweet

Mr. C?s clear baritone opens the album with short but sweet melodic lines (?First Glance?) that mirror the general mood and sentiment of the rest of the lineup: ?If we could stay in love this way, I must say this love affair is gonna last forever??

The waltzy ?Like Children Dancing in the Rain with Nothing On? is somber but sweetly engaging -- a heart-tugging number that swells before it reaches its wordless finale.

Trust Ryan to consistently come up with uplifting, unpredictable melodies that can stand on their own -- even without words!

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