Tuesday, May 16, 2017

FORMULA-Genuflect (2001)


With all of the music wishes I plan to fulfill over the net few days, it's nice that I've been able to fulfill a wish of my own! An album that I've been looking forward to adding to my boyband collection is the sophomore effort by the Filipino quintet that called itself FORMULA. I'd previously listened in on this group when they'd went under their old name, 'FOURMULA ONE', coinciding with the group's then four members. With five members at the time "Genuflect" was released, I suppose 'FOURMULA ONE' no longer worked as a stylistic name, and they decided on dropping the 'U' altogether. Despite the slight name change, their fine vocal harmony didn't change, which is a very good thing, as a marvelous hour-plus-long of music-listening is the finished product that results from their collective singing talents! The 'formula' here, for the most part, is a simple one: lush, beautiful ballads that charm and comfort the soul. Not too surprising, considering that my experiences around the Filipino OPM music circuit has taught me to expect a predominantly easy-listening, soft rock radio-friendly sound. I thought it would be fun to divide my listening time into two distinct parts: playing the Tagalog-language tracks first, then concluding with all of the English-title songs. By doing this, I got warmed up to their smooth, soulful voices again, which I haven't heard since checking out their self-titled debut album/ The first three are absolutely perfect, with me favoring the sound and presentation of Tracks #1 ("Maunawaan Nyo Sana Ako") and #3 ("Tatlo Kami Sa Puso Mo"), in particular. Track #4's "Bakit Nga Ba Mahal Kita" represents yet another wonderful selection from the OPM catalog whose lyrics I wish I understood; I can tell it's one of those magically moving pieces where the pitch is raised in the epic final movements. "Hindi Na Kita Maabot": This is the first track with the word 'Hindi' in its title; I suppose 'Hindi' is a Tagalog word, but I'm sure it has nothing to do with the Indian culture. I totally wasn't expecting the English lyrics that spring up in some parts of the chorus—remember me, your one and only love' and 'superstar'—and nor did I expect it to blossom into the strong ballad that it eventually becomes. "Pangako Ko, Asahan Mo": I like these that start off as a lofty piano ballad with only the stilled, dreamy chords as backing ambiance, no matter what language the words are being performed in. I like the sound to "Bakit Ngayon Pang Pasko" as well—from the jingly 'Christmas' sleigh bells to the soft piano to the tones of the hollow woodwind sprinkling through the music like falling raindrops. I'd get something else unexpected when my eyes scanned ahead at the track listing: "Ojala Que Me Entiendan". Now this is definitely Spanish! Translates to "I Hope That You Understand Me". I've always thought how Tagalog and Spanish sound remarkably similar to each other.....at least, it's something I've noticed in my OPM music-listening. Hearing the lyrics was confirmation. readily recognizing the rolled 'R' and the words 'llorar' and 'buscando' (meaning 'to cry' and 'searching for', respectively). Loved this song all the way through, the soft acoustic piano serving as a nice transition over to the main beat that kicks in for the second verse and beyond.

Now for the songs that made this album complete for me! Honestly, the handful of English tracks is the primary reason I had to have "Genuflect" in my collection. The very first of this bunch had became by first 'Music Surprise Of The Day': "Give It Up", a fine upbeat cover to the KC & THE SUNSHINE hit! I'd recognize that distinctively jazzing-up of the trumpets and the familiar chords anywhere, plus the memorable chorus that goes 'na na na na na, baby give it up, baby give it up'. In fact, "Give It Up" is the first upbeat song of any variety on this album; it's a great choice from the old-school catalog! Right afterwards was my next 'Music Surprise Of The Day': "All At Once", a very respectable and elegant remake of the unforgettable 80's classic! These FORMULA boys do this favorite of mine all the justice in the world, all of the lyrics staying intact and in their original glory. 'All at once, I'm drifting on a lonely sea, holding on to memories.....'—brings back some fond memories indeed! The late Whitney Houston would be smiling and proud. "You're Always There": Not sure if it to is a cover, but it's possibly THE greatest song given on this album, delivered as a duet with a guest female vocalist with a lot of nice words of tribute from man to woman throughout. An eternally-binding wedding song is what I see this as, loving the part about one always being there for the other in joy and pain. It had me marveling from start to finish! Even the mellowed song of reconciliation, "I'm Sorry", makes for marvelous ear candy. Something in the music's flow and the way he sings 'if I ever lost the keys of love'..... Should've known that I would be treated to a full acapella track at some point, and that's what I got when their harmonizing voices entertained me on the comforting piece called "No More". Then for me, a nice way to conclude my hour-plus FORMULA joyride was with one more familiar classic from the past: "You To Me Are Everything". The breezy, slightly retro-soul arrangement serves as terrific backdrop to the memorable words of 'you to me are everything, the sweetest song that I could sing':

1. Maunawaan Nyo Sana Ako
2. Kahit Ganito
3. Tatlo Kami Sa Puso Mo
4. Give It Up
5. All At Once
6. You're Always There
7. I'm Sorry
8. No More
9. Bakit Nga Ba Mahal Kita
10. Hindi Na Kita Maabot
11. You To Me Are Everything
12. Pangako Ko, Asahan Mo
13. Takot Ako
14. O Hindi
15. Bakit Ngayon Pang Pasko
16. Ojala Que Me Entiendan

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