Sure, a third of the recording’s 15-track lineup is made up of revivals, but except for Sarah’s earnest but somewhat strident cover of Louie Ocampo and George Canseco’s “Ikaw” (sung with Martin Nievera, who, as usual, uses too much needless echo), at least they’re jazzed up, reimagined versions.
Take Vehnee Saturno’s “Nag-iisang Ikaw,” popularized by Louie Heredia in the ’80s. Arranger Marc Santos utilizes a rhythmic lilt that gives the tune a youthful, sassy spin as Sarah seamlessly juggles her head and chest tones.
Light and sultry
Janno Gibbs’ “Fallin’” gets even dreamier with the pop princess’ light and sultry delivery, while Marvin Hamlisch’s “Fallin’” (from the musical, “They’re Playing Our Song”), despite its puffed up finale, is a joy to listen to.
But, the album’s best bits are the originals—from Saturno’s hit-bound “Sino Nga Ba Siya?” (Sarah’s sustained notes in the end are exquisitely rendered) to Ocampo’s guitar-backed “I Miss You,” which will leave listeners with a wistful and bittersweet tingle.
If you like the singer for her showy high notes, she won’t disappoint in “Kung Siya Ang Mahal,” which amps up the level of vocal difficulty when the tune reaches its coda, all the way to its grand finale.
The songstress’ high registers aren’t always clean or consistently stable during live performances, but in a controlled setting like a recording, Sarah knows how to use her voice to advantage. For instance, in Darwin Hernandez’s “Bata,” which she sings with Kean Cipriano, she relaxes and reins in her vibrato to find a common ground between her pop sound and Callalily’s banda sensibility.
It’s probably a testament to Sarah’s growing maturity that she no longer seems compelled to belt every note as often as she used to—as she beautifully demonstrates in the seemingly birit-friendly portions of Saturno’s “Bakit Pa Ba?”
If you’re into dance music and electronica, however, you’re bound to be disappointed, because the album only has one track you can groove to: Raffy Calicdan and Amber Davis’ “Handang Umibig Muli.”
But, if you prefer gentle ballads sung with proficient empathy and understanding, Sarah’s latest album will keep you humming!