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Summer’s significant releases soothe and sizzle

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:06 AM March 29, 2016

IT’S NEVER too late to live your dream. That’s the message Rita Wilson wants to get across with the release of her self-titled second album, this time composed of self-penned tunes.

The 59-year-old film, TV and stage actress, heretofore better known as Tom Hanks’ wife, says in the liner notes of “Rita Wilson”:  “Ask yourself what your dream is, and when you have the answer, go get it,” she urges.

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The 15-track collection makes clever use of Rita’s clear and resonant alto as she shuttles between adult contemporary pop and country music.

The unlikely musical fusion delivers accessible, radio-friendly tunes that bank on the singer-actress’ proficient interpretive skills and the album’s relatable themes and tales about love (“I’m Guilty,” significant for its toe-tapping appeal), loss (“Still Gone”), heartbreak (“In the Dark”), her lifelong insecurities (“Strong Tonight”) and the blessings in life we ought to be thankful for (“Grateful”).

You won’t find anything more revelatory than the haunting “Forgiving Me, Forgiving You,” about a woman, locked in a bitter fight with someone she loves, calling for a “truce” because, as she rationalizes, “we’ve got better things to prove.”

Is the aforementioned song about Tom? Maybe, but not likely—because in the collection’s 11th cut, “Every Day,” Rita pays loving tribute to Tom, whom she describes as “an incredible husband and extraordinary partner.”

Anne’s radio-rockin’ allure

Anne Curtis also alternately soothes and sizzles in her latest album, “Forever Young.” She may not have Rita’s Broadway-grade vocal chops, but the

31-year-old actress-host more than makes up for her inadequate singing with feisty, unabashed bravado and glossy, well-produced songs that, for the most part, “digitally” mask her shortcomings as a “singer.”

While it is true that Anne’s uneven collection is a strictly-for-the-fans endeavor, there are tracks that entertain as much as they amuse and bemuse because of their radio-rockin’ allure: With lilting harmonies and fun counterpointing from duet partner Christian Bautista, “Falling Star” reminds you of Jason Mraz’s frothy bubble gum ditties.

Other choice cuts: “Hey Boy” benefits from Anne’s self-deprecating humor and playfulness. On the other hand, “Call Me Babe” is notable for its pounding, booty-shaking arrangement.

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Anne should steer clear of songs that demand vocal clarity and note precision, however: “Di Na Ako” and “Smile Again” are gravely compromised by shaky vocals that elude even the Auto-Tune technology’s flaw-fixing and voice-refining abilities.

Bolder, brassier Kris Allen

Kris Allen, the singing champ who defeated the vocally superior Adam Lambert in “American Idol” Season Eight, returns to the spotlight via his fifth album, “Letting You In,” with a bolder and brassier sound.

The recording’s 10-song repertoire finds the 30-year-old singer-songwriter not just sharing his thoughts about his satisfying home life (“Time Will Come”) and the people he loves (the nostalgia-driven “I Remember You”), but also letting his hair down and allowing himself to have some fun.

We aren’t just talking about dreamy tunes (the easygoing “Way Up High”) that you can sing along with. This time around, you can also shimmy to the sensational singles, “Feeling This Way” and “Move,” as Kris shakes his derriere to their invigorating grooves.

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