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Friday, October 16, 2009

Christian Bautista makes a career-defining move

If I were Christian Bautista, I’d think I’d died and gone to heaven while working on this new CD. Okay, let me tone that down a bit. I’d be feeling like a kid let lose in a toy store with a horde of treasures to do with as I please. And what treasures they are! Those are the songs in the Jose Mari Chan catalogue, which as rediscovered here in Christian’s new album, Romance Revisited, The Love Songs Of Jose Mari Chan, are truly some of the most beautiful ballads ever written.

Tribute albums are nothing new. But this CD is one of the very few to feature only a single artist and lucky guy Christian turned out to be the anointed one. I do not know who else dreamed of doing this project or if Jose Mari or label Universal Records had other choices. But whatever misgivings there may have been about giving this opportunity to Christian are now totally forgotten. The fact is, I cannot think of anybody who could have done it better.

Jose Mari must be pleased and Christian must be ecstatic. The balladeer torch had been passed, from a singing idol of over four decades to a worthy successor. Remember, Jose Mari had been making hit songs since the ‘60s. For a recording artist like Christian, this career-defining move beats everything else. Maybe even finding a new girlfriend.

The best thing about this album though, is how it has proven how truly enduring are the songs of Jose Mari. Nobody is going to say anymore that Refrain or Beautiful Girl has become dated or is now too old-fashioned for young listeners. As heard in Romance Revisited with their new arrangements, these and the others are fresh, very current and will soon be again in the charts.

The first bet for the hit lists is Tell Me Your Name. Good choice. I have a strong hunch though that I Remember The Girl and Afraid For Love To Fade would be even bigger. Maybe, so would any of the duets, Please Be Careful With My Heart with Sarah Geronimo; My Girl, My Woman, My Friend with Regine Velasquez; Here And Now with Lani Misalucha; and A Heart’s Journey with Jose Mari Chan himself.

Also included are I Have Fallen In Love (With The Same Woman Three Times) which is the Ninoy Aquino poem
for his wife Cory; Beautiful Girl; Can’t We Start Over Again; Be Gentle; Stay My Love; Afterglow, Jose Mari’s first hit; A Love To Last A Lifetime; Constant Change; Deep In My Heart; Refrain; Can We Just Stop And Talk A While; and So I’ll Go.

Now still on Christian but about another album. Call it coincidence or a clever marketing ploy, but now also available alongside in Romance Revisited in the stores is Christian’s The Platinum
Collection. This comes from Warner Music, the label which signed the unknown Christian some six years ago and which propelled his career to stardom. The CD is a compilation of his early hits including some unreleased versions, of One Who Won My Heart and Limutin Na Lang, both done acoustic style.

The other cuts included are The Way You Look At Me; Trying To Get The Feeling; Got To Believe In Magic; Captured featuring Sitti; My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own; Hands To Heaven; Invincible; You’re Still You; Kelan Kaya?; Colour Everywhere; More Than You’ll Ever Know; Miracle feat. Nina; You And Me (We Wanted It All) with his former girlfriend, singing champion Rachelle Ann Go; So It’s You; Say That You Love Me; and Completely.

It must feel like Christmas morning for fans of Christian. Imagine getting both these albums at the same time. Add to this the fact that Romance Revisited comes with a 2010 calendar in a gorgeous gift box. But now that I’ve mentioned Christmas, I’d like to say that it would have been nice to have a Christmas song in the Jose Mari Chan album. I am sure that Christian singing A Perfect Christmas or Christmas In Our Hearts would have made the album perfect. But I guess we are already getting more than enough. So let us just all enjoy Christian’s two albums.

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