Proof that sound perfection is possible
More than 20 years of traveling the world as a singer in five-star hotels and luxury cruise liners did not diminish Trina Bascon’s desire to record her own album. She has finally done it, using her own money and with The CompanY’s Moy Ortiz as producer, and some of the best local (Mel Villena and his AMP cohorts, plus a number of prominent veterans) and international (Italian pianist Moreno Donadel) musicians as session players.
The result, the 13-track “Wanderlust,” is an example of musical excellence that again puts the Filipino artist on the map of global recognition. Bascon personally assembled a repertoire that has entertained multi-racial audiences.
Most of the songs are pop and jazz standards that have likewise appeared on film soundtracks. Although it opens with a swinging version of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends” (featuring exhilarating backup vocals by The CompanY and galloping bass lines by Colby de la Calzada), majority of the tracks—“Two For the Road,” “I’m Old Fashioned,” “Anos Dourados (Looks Like December),” “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” “I Remember You”—entice listeners to lose themselves in a laid-back, romantic atmosphere.
In contrast, “Perfidia” and “Arrivederci” remind us that lovers fight or say goodbye; and “The Party’s Over” is truly an apt way to wind up the album.
A lone original track, the bittersweet “Magkikita Pa Rin Naman Tayo” (written by Ortiz), deftly captures Bascon’s life journey.
Her voice has a youthful glow that adds vibrancy to the old songs. And the musicians’ mastery of their craft prove that there could, indeed, be a perfect-sounding record.
Ex-Spongecola drummer Chris Cantada quit the band out of exhaustion and soon developed a heart ailment that required surgery. But all is well now and he gets to fulfill a wish to slide back into the scene with a debut solo album.
Though it’s coproduced by his more famous former bandmate, Yael Yuzon, “Heartbeat” showcases Cantada’s enviable skills—he plays guitar, bass, drums and even sings the songs that he wrote himself.
It’s not difficult to like “Heartbeat” because it has both the sensitivity and driving energy of a pop-rock record. The tracks, mostly in English, may take time to fully appreciate, due to the ambiguity of some of the lyrics, but there’s poetic beauty in them.
There are prevalent images of the outdoors, which shows that Cantada loves adventure: “We’ll swim across the mighty ocean waves” in “Other Side”; “I ride the shuttle to space” in “January”; “Don’t be afraid of stormy weather tonight” in “Repetition.”
In these songs he tries to connect or reconnect with a beloved. That person would surely go to pieces hearing them.
The lone Tagalog track, “Daytrip,” is a contribution from Yuzon and the rest of Spongecola (Reynaldo Dilay, Vinty Lava, with Cantada also helping out in the music). It has all the elements of a hit single.
But what stands out is “Jigawatt,” a nod to vintage rock ’n’ roll, in which Cantada reimagines a scene from the film “Back to the Future.”
Everybody knows the 27 tracks in this digitally remastered, import-edition CD—all of which went to No. 1 in the British and American singles charts during the short but overwhelming reign of Beatlemania from 1964 to 1970.
What’s new are the refreshing insights into songwriting and musicianship that one could discern by listening again. For instance, “She Loves You,” “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” “Cant Buy Me Love” and “A Hard Day’s Night” may seem simple and daft, yet they brim with youthful energy. The songs written when the Fab Four started turning on to mind-altering substances (“Day Tripper,” “Paperback Writer,” “Eleanor Rigby”) reveal how heightened consciousness finds its way to musical experimentation.
Take note that this is not just a John Lennon-Paul McCartney showcase; pay close attention to George Harrison’s masterpiece, “Something,” as well as his strokes of guitar-playing genius in the rest of the tracks; and, of course, how Ringo Starr glues them all through his indispensable time-keeping rhythms.
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