Crowd-pleasing pop charmers from Maroon 5, Khalil RamosBy Rito P. Asilo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – It’s hard not to get drawn to the youthful vibe and toe-tapping swagger of Jonathan Manalo and Rox Santos’ “Now We’re Together,” a hit-bound cut from Khalil Ramos’ self-titled debut album.
The “Pilipinas Got Talent” runner-up is only 16, but he’s getting his fair share of shrieks and squeals from the young and pubescent viewers of “Princess and I,” in which he plays one of Kathryn Bernardo’s trio of pretty-boy consorts.
Khalil’s first solo recording proves he doesn’t get by on his boy-next-door good looks alone. His covers of Jude Guitamondoc’s “One More Chance” and Arnold Reyes’ “Kung Ako Ba Siya”—both popularized by Piolo Pascual—are radio-friendly charmers devoid of schmaltzy excesses.
Other pleasing revivals: Soc Villanueva’s “Kung Ako Na Lang Sana” and an upbeat version of Vehnee Saturno’s “Simply Lang,” which is notable for its rallying pep.
Ramos’ voice doesn’t possess the steely polish of most talent tilt champs, but its finely tuned, fuller-and-older pop timber reveals a range that can expand further with more experience and judicious training. He has to watch out for his vibrato, though: While it adds character to his voice, it has the potential to distract from his carefully concocted renditions.
Even more rousing—and dance floor-dazzling—is “Overexposed,” the fourth album of Adam Levine’s hit-making quintet, Maroon 5.
If you haven’t had your fill of the unshakable grooves of “Moves Like Jagger,” “Misery” and “Give A Little More” (from 2010’s “Hands All Over”)—not to mention the refreshing covers of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” and Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”— you’ll have more pop-coated treats with unrelenting beats to shimmy to in the group’s latest collection, headlined by the ubiquitous “Payphone” (with Wiz Khalifa) and the reggae-rolling second single, “One More Night.”
Yes, the genre-bending quintet (PJ Morton fills in for Jesse Car-michael, who’s on hiatus) has gone unapologetically pop, waxing one hit-making tune after another: “Lucky Strike” packs as much punch (and pulsating beats) as the techno-driven “Tickets,” the synth-fueled “Doin’ Dirt” and “Love Somebody.” But, if you’re partial to light rock and ballads, “Daylight” and “Sad” will whet your appetite.
Watch out also for James Valentine, Michael Madden and Levine’s “Ladykiller”—which pulls a surprise that’s too adorably idiosyncratic to miss!
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