MANILA, Philippines -- In her fourth studio album, ?Taking Flight,? Sarah Geronimo continues to show off the confident streak and musical maturity first heard in last year?s ?Becoming.?
Indeed, the singing champ?s first two albums, ?Popstar? and ?Sweet Sixteen,? boasted of a repertoire that included radio-friendly tunes like ?Forever?s Not Enough? and lung-busting covers of pop-rock favorites like ?I Wanna Know What Love Is.?
Initially, no amount of vocal bravado could give the young singer the lived-in sensibility and vocal pizzazz that her first recording efforts -- despite their chart-topping popularity and brisk sales -- sorely lacked.
In the past year, however, the affable pop princess has subtly shown that there is more to her than her Pied Piper-like ability to turn sappy lyrics and hum-worthy melodies into bestselling hits.
Even local music?s top composers are taking notice of Sarah?s newfound confidence: Louie Ocampo, for instance, contributes two songs to ?Taking Flight? -- the soothing ?I?ll Be Alright? (co-written with Edith Gallardo) and the sedate ?Close to My Heart.?
True Faith?s Medwin Marfil also lends Sarah his musical wit and feel for pop culture in the winsome ?Ikaw.?
Rebel Madagasang adds the rousingly anthemic ?I?ll Be Here,? which shows off Sarah?s well-limned vocal, emotional and melodic shifts, as well as the radio-friendly ?Time to Let Go,? an exquisitely arranged duet with constant collaborator, Mark Bautista.
It?s also great to hear the young chanteuse singing Trina Belamide?s more-than-merely-fluffy love songs. The 11-track lineup includes the talented composer?s ?So? and ?What If I,? which are, in terms of range, melodically subtler than her more popular compositions (?Shine?). They are nevertheless unconventional musical charmers that grow on you upon repeated spins in the CD player.
This time, Sarah also dabbles in songs that fit her youth: The noteworthy cut, ?I?m Sorry,? one of the album?s best and most vocally challenging tracks, is Soc Villanueva and Jungee Marcelo?s lyrically sumptuous collaboration.
Drizzle Nuniz?s ?Mr. Deadma? is a playful ditty that allows the singer to sing and act her age -- and effectively strips Sarah of her artistically cautious demeanor.
Chuckie Dreyfus reinvents his artistic persona -- from precocious child actor to competent songwriter -- by contributing two of ?Taking Flight?s? more notable numbers: The upbeat track, ?Miss,? and the lineup?s winning last song, ?Kahit Na,? which add a youthful appeal to Sarah?s bravely all-original compilation.
Let?s hear it for artistic reinvention!