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Sarah G prays for change in ‘Pure’

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GERONIMO. Repertoire of inspired covers.

THE title of Sarah Geronimo’s 12-track new album says it all: “Pure.” We’re talking about the 24-year-old Pop Princess’ voice and how it has beautifully matured through the years—its deeper, more sultry timbre adds dramatic heft to her renditions. This is confirmed by her repertoire of inspired covers, skillfully arranged by Arnold Buena, Nino Regalado, Bobby Velasco, Melvin Morallos, Jimmy Antiporda, Paulo Zarate, Benjie Pating and Louie Ocampo.

She still isn’t as note-precise as Regine Velasquez—still the country’s premier songstress—nor as effusively soulful as Sharon Cuneta in her prime, but it’s hard to resist the rich and lush quality of her melodies when they fall smoothly and squarely on her confident middle registers, as she demonstrates in Florante’s stirring “Handog,” Rey Valera’s earnestly sung “Malayo Pa Ang Umaga,” and Sampaguita’s moody “Tao.”

Eerily, in Sarah’s cover of Willy Cruz’s “Doon Lang,” we thought we were listening to a less-breathy Sharon—from the Megastar’s characteristic phrasing style to her interchanging shifts in vocal placement, from deep chest tones to heady soft trills, and back. To hear is to believe—and you can listen to it alongside Sharon’s renditions of “Pangako Sa ‘Yo.”

This is also apparent in the slower portions of Freddie Aguilar’s rock-tinged “Anak,” and in the beginning of George Canseco’s “Hanggang Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan,” which is later compromised by a pitchy finale.

This isn’t really a bad thing: In fact, it could represent growth, because Sarah used to win her admirers solely with the lung-busting high notes that paid tribute to Celine Dion and her theatricality. (In Sharon’s case, this change marked a major transition—from the whispery “Tawag ng Pag-ibig” to her thick-voiced transformation in “Langis at Tubig.”)

The finger-snapping new arrangements of Ryan Cayabyab’s “Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musika” and Butch Monserrat’s “Umagang Kay Ganda” give the well-loved OPM classics a catchy, contemporary spin. They’re too good to miss.

And, when Sarah prays for change—as she does in her moving revivals of Kristina Paner’s “Sana” and Lolita Carbon’s “Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran”—you don’t have a choice but to listen to her and sing along!


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