Jennylyn Mercado may have been convincing as the femme fatale of the convoluted biopic, “Rosario,” but we’ve always found her too phlegmatic in the TV dramas she appears in. “Starstruck’s” first big winner (along with Mark Herras) is no pushover as a singer, however—as she demonstrates in her latest album, “Forever By Your Side.”
The songstress doesn’t have the kind of pipes that readily rack up one radio hit after another—her no-frills, straightforward singing style is occasionally predictable and too old-school for today’s hip-hop- and R&B-weaned music lovers—except in her new album’s upbeat, guitar-fueled title track.
Just the same, Mercado delivers winsome renditions that transport listeners to the ballad-loving era of the ‘80s—like Arnie Mendaros’ “Hindi Ka Na Mag-iisa,” whose ascending melody recalls Sharon Cuneta’s sweeping movie theme songs. Unlike the Megastar’s classic lung-busters, Jennylyn sometimes finds her placement above the chest—which gives her romantic tunes less heft.
Even more suited to her voice is Francis Salazar’s “Parang Kailan Lang,” which sends up Abba’s 1980 megahit, “The Winner Takes It All.” Another “holdover” from that era is Nyoy Volante’s lovely “Mahal Na Mahal,” characterized by faint strains of Timmy Cruz’s monster hit, “Boy.”
The assertive high voice behind the ubiquitous covers of Regine Velasquez’s “Dadalhin” and Aiza Seguerra’s “Pagdating Ng Panahon” belongs to Bryan Termulo—who sings both tunes in his latest album, “Hanggang Ngayon.”
Termulo’s eight-track recording opens with lackluster, generic-sounding love songs that don’t peak when they should. But, its repertoire perks up when the 24-year-old balladeer finds his groove toward the tail end of the lineup.
Our top picks: Jungee Marcelo’s dreamy “Aanhin Pa?,” Kiko Salazar’s “Nagtatanong Lang Naman,” and Roosevelt Itum and Koj Reynes’ hitbound title track, “Hanggang Ngayon.”
As with Dingdong Avanzado (“Maghihintay Sa ‘Yo,” “Ikaw Lamang”), you’ll remember Bryan’s impassioned, note-precise interpretations more than his confident but undistinctive voice. Just the same, it doesn’t hurt that he’s a skilled vocalist—and easy on the eye.
Joey G takes a ‘Stand’
After 25 years, Joey Generoso finally steps out of Side A’s shadow to release his first solo album, “Stand.” If you miss the sweeping mush of “Forevermore” and “Too Many Questions,” his nine-track debut allows you to revisit one of the singing styles that best represents the quintessential ‘90s ballad.
Bobby Velasco Jr.’s “What Will I Do?” recalls the soaring, wistful love songs of Toto. Also notable are Ned Esguerra’s “For You” and the Andrew Fromm-Steve Diamond collaboration, “That’s When I Fell In Love With You.” Can Joey G still scale the high notes that have made him a household name? Yes—and he effortlessly proves it in “1000 Miles A Minute.”
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