Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ONE WAY-One Way Street [Philippine Edition] (2010)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: August 18, 2015

What started out as a quick road trip along the OPM boyband circuit has suddenly become a joyride! This third day of my trip sees me getting reacquainted with the multi-talented Filipino singer Christian Bautista (I'd previously listened in on his self-titled debut) while getting newly acquainted with the Korean r&b trio that calls itself ONE WAY. Together, they collaborated on the track that concludes this special Philippine Edition of the trio's breakout "One Way Street" album: "Wrong Number". Nothing wrong about this cut; it's contemporary r&b at its finest—smooth, tender voices, a warming melody and crisp production accented by a hip-hop flavor (the rap break is fabulous; digging that 'beep beep beep' during the acapella beat drop). I'd have been sold that these guys were the real deal just from listening to "Wrong Number", but there's many more ways that ONE WAY made an excellent first impression on me. Let's start back at the top with the opener, "U Drag", where they jump start things by breaking it down and telling you what the group's all about. Then enter the tight urban beats to the album's second cut (this one is a total jam!), which could really serve as the trio's signature anthem. Just like in the opening cut, they show off their rhyming skills with the spurts of rap they thrown down throughout. Then I would enjoy my latest cultural exposition with the bilingual cut "Magic". I'm even less knowledgeable about Korean than I am of Filipino Tagalog, but it's always fun hearing song being performed in foreign languages. Nope—not a cover of that CARS classic this time, but the song is 'magical' in other ways, namely the catchy dance beat and the graceful flow of the music, particularly the smooth transitions between the rap breaks and the pleasant lyrics. The remix three tracks later replaces the dance beat with a slowed-down groove, so both the pop fans and the r&b fans are catered to (this slower remix, actually, sounds more appropriate for their style). '없는 번호' (I'll have to look up its proper translation) keeps the bombastic urban-style r&b beats coming before the beats swing a different way altogether on my favorite cut, "Casino". It's like trippy, r&b funk with a classy, jazzed-up twist—perfect production for a song with a showroom vibe whose theme is about a lady who deems herself as a new Madonna—a materialistic girl, that is. The casino room ambiance of the slot machines in the intro is a nice touch (these little nuances go a long way in creating audio appeal for me) while that jazzy piano break midway through is just crazy awesome! With this "One Way Street" album under my belt now, there's only one way up from here—another drive around the block with this Korean trio with no U-turns or detours in sight:

1. U Drag
2. One Way
3. Magic
4. 없는 번호
5. Casino (feat. Maria Kim)
6. Magic (Remix)
7. Magic (Instrumental)
8. 없는 번호 (Instrumental)
9. 없는 번호 (Remix)
10. Wrong Number (English Version)
11. Wrong Number (with Christian Bautista)

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