Thursday, September 11, 2014

SIDE A-Only 1 (1995)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 11, 2014

Flipping it back to the easy side of listening now as I return to the OPM circuit with the Filipino band, SIDE A. The first time I got acquainted with these guys, it was through listening to their compilation album called "Vicor Music 40th Anniversary Collection". So I got a quick taste of a little bit of everything that the band had performed in their first few years of existence. Since I liked their easy-listening sound so much, I kept SIDE A in mind for further listening. Fast-forward fifteen months, and here I am once again enjoying their sound, this time with their 1995 album, "Only 1". If you haven't listened to SIDE A before, then I can assure you of one thing: it will take you 'only one' round with the eleven selections found here on this album before you suddenly fall as deeply in love with this band's music as I have! Isn't it so nice when you can listen to one beautiful song after the next and each one just does something special to you or touches you in a special way? Such is what I experienced in my 40+ minutes, beginning with the charming opening title track. Simple songs about simple love with a simple soft rock sound—these are the ones that always get me. Still not very well versed in the Filipino tongue, but that didn't stop me from finding appeal for both "Kung Wala Ka Na", the album's first slow number that starts off gently before exploding into something more powerful as the music grows on you, and "Tila" (I assume 'Tila' is a woman), where the acoustic guitar, the graceful tempo and the mellow voice of the guy on lead really brings out the beauty of this song. "Just Wanna Be With You" is as tender and sincere as a love song can get. Becomes especially nice in the closing moments when the vocals of the lead singer get high and lofty. It became the second selection after the opening title track that I put a star next to because of that special effect thing taking place here I alluded you earlier. Things get a little teary-eyed on the next track, but, like the title states, that's okay, because it sounds so great that those tears of sadness felt in the lyrics will turn into tears of joy once you've taken in the bluesy vibe, the striking guitar riffs and the rich, soulful voice of a lonely man who's become content with the prospect of his woman leaving him for good. The music taxes the soul again minutes later on the album's second melancholy number, "Something's Missing". Yeah, you already know this one's gonna be sad with a title like that. Love that deep piano here; each keystroke is like a dagger being stabbed straight into the heart as the story goes on about the lady being missing from the songwriter's life. "Can't You See?" warms the mood up with more romantic sunniness while livening the music up some with a slight r&b groove. But then, those daggers in the heart come right back on "Where Do I Go?", where the songwriter is doing some very deep soul searching. Everything clicks on this gem which, like "Tila", begins as an acoustic piano piece (always a great idea for allowing listeners to appreciate a singer's talents!) that sounds innocent enough until the rock guitar riffs, the pounding drums and the soaring vocals all sneak up on you at once to turn the song into one colossal, show-stopping performance! The SIDE A crew saves their harshest words uttered on this album for last with "Die Just A Little". Immediately thought about country singer Faith Hill and that favorite song of mine called "Cry" when I saw that title, as it's the same words she sings in the main chorus that goes 'and you'd cry just a little, die just a little'. In SIDE A's case, it's the woman that is wished to be dead so that she can be out of sight, out of mind. Yet despite this negative choice of words and the whole angry mood of the song, it turns out to be one of the strongest performances I've heard by this Filipino band so far:

1. Only One
2. Kung Wala Ka Na
3. Just Wanna Be With You
4. That's Okay
5. Tila
6. Fallin'
7. Something's Missing
8. Can't You See?
9. Where Do I Go?
10. Save Me
11. Die Just A Little

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