Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Jasmine Trias-Jasmine Trias (2005)


With all of the new young talents flooding the pop music mainstream seemingly by the masses these days, it's sure nice to know that the ones who haven't yet managed to make it really big from a commercial standpoint aren't forgotten. That statement holds especially true for everyone who achieved fame through the "American Idol" television series, whether they were formally bestowed with the prestigious 'American Idol' title or not. Filipino-American third-season contestant Jasmine Trias is one of the many former idolists who was still a winner, despite having only released one proper album in her professional singing career since competing alongside the likes of Diana DeGarmo, John Stevens, Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia Barrino. Well Jasmine surely won over the judges and voters with her ringing rendition of the epic Whitney Houston hit, "Run To You" (from one of my all-time favorite movies, "The Bodyguard", I have to offer!), just as she absolutely won me over with all of the ringing renditions of familiar favorites featured on here on her self-titled debut—both the USA release as well as the repackaged Asian edition,the latter of which I took the liberty of including as a special bonus package. Where do I start? How about her marvelous take on the timeless Luther Vandross gem "I'd Rather", which takes a mellower approach with the light piano/acoustic guitar combination as Jasmine's voice allures the ears with the memorable words of ' I'd rather have bad times with you, then good times with somebody else '? Then there's her outstanding deliverance of the Natalie Cole classic, "Inseparable", which I find totally captivating! Wish it could've been much longer than just the two-and-a-half minutes of play, perhaps with a nice jazzy instrumental to bridge the beginning and a repeat of the chorus at the end, but I'll take it either way! And to think that I'd only recently heard Natalie's own original—maybe within the past year or so—thanks to me taking the time out to explore the older recordings of the recently-departed singer. "Too Many Walls", also from the repackaged Asian edition, was a beauty of a slow-down cut originally performed by dance artist Cathy Dennis about not being able to penetrate the barriers of love, performed beautifully by Jasmine in every way. "All I Need": the title had been slightly misleading the first time I saw it, because the familiar lyrics of the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell Motown classic had immediately confirmed that she was actually performing a remake of "You're All I Need To Get By". Had only heard both the Aretha Franklin cover (from the 70's no less!) and the more modern Michael McDonald remake (from his "Motown Two" album released in 2004) before Jasmine's version, which has a more urban, r&b/hip-hop flavor to it, which totally suits her style. The suspenseful melody and dark, unsettling groove do alter the mood of the song somewhat; it takes some getting used to before that same feeling from the Motown original is captured and felt. Ah, but then there's her dazzling exhibition of EXPOSÉ's "I'll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me", which I knew would be dazzling, considering how impressive I'd found Jasmine's vocals to be and knowing how much I adored the EXPOSÉ original, even as bittersweet of a song as it is. I purposely placed it at the end in hopes that it would top off your listening to Jasmine in a grand and appropriate fashion! However, the proper concluding track—at least on the USA edition—is ends things nicely, too: "If I Ever See Heaven Again", a song penned by songwriting extraordinaire Diane Warren. But familiar covers and familiar songwriters aside, Jasmine makes the music all her own from the very start with the spicy opener, "Sexy Boy", setting the tone right away that she can flow right up there with the rest of the hip pop divas. Which brings me to such cuts as "I Still Luv U", where I'm reminded of the syncopation style of DESTINY's CHILD, "DJ Don't Quit", whose electronic club arrangement brings to mind a favorite Janet Jackson jam of mine called "2nite" from her "Discipline" album, and the very-club-worthy cut "Lose Control", whose infectious beat and the message of 'freak, baby, 'til I lose control' shows there's a side to this lady who just wants to get down and party. While I nominate "Whatcha Gon Do?" as your next 'Slow Jam Of The Night' nominee, I nominate both "Don't Go" and "What You Do To Me" to be your next 'Bedtime Jams Of The Night', given the dreamy mood created by the twinkly melodies and the sensual r&b flow, blanketed by Jasmine's honey-sweet vocals on each one. There is one other award I would like to give—'Power Ballad Of The Night'—and the candidates are "Silly Of Me", plus the Filipino-language offerings "Sana Lagi" and "Kung Paano"; you'll be marveling in music goodness during all three! Nothing good about making too many excuses in a romantic relationship, but the "Excuses" that serve as the second track is very good on the ears! You may have seen and heard a lot of "American Idol" performances throughout the years, but if you haven't yet heard of Jasmine Trias, now would be a good time to listen in on what your ears have been missing:

1. Sexy Boy
2. Excuses
3. All I Need
4. Whatcha Gon Do?
5. DJ Don't Quit
6. I Still Luv U
7. Don't Go
8. Just A Fool
9. Silly Of Me
10. I Won't Worry
11. Can't Hold Back
12. What You Do For Me
13. Inseparable
14. If I Ever See Heaven Again

*****BONUS TRACKS*****

15. Sana Lagi
16. Once Again
17. Lose Control
18. Kung Paano
19. I'd Rather
20. Too Many Walls
21. I'll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me

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