Known as the Philippines' "Concert King," crooner/balladeer Martin Nievera recorded a number of albums for local independent Vicor Music between 1983 and 1989's Dream before leaving for another label. Martin Nievera possesses a powerful, silky voice, and puts it to good use on Dream. The album contains seven ballads, as well as two upbeat, stirring numbers, "Blame It on Love" and "Can't Let Go," on which the versatile Martin Nievera puts forth vibrant, exciting performances. His talent is readily apparent, and his skill is enhanced by his passionate, emotive performances. The dominant middle-of-the-road material sounds modern and contains more depth than the ubiquitous Philippine easy listening love song, which is simpler in construction and usually less exciting to hear. One of the album's best songs is the superb ballad "Say That You Love Me," composed by local songwriters Louie Ocampo and Allan Ayque. The song possesses a strong, beautiful melody that Martin Nievera brings to full bloom. The songwriting is so strong that an international star such as Luther Vandross might enjoy singing it. Martin Nievera applies a harder edge to his voice on the upbeat "Can't Let Go," and this approach makes the song's showbizzy, glitzy style seem less superficial. While the album's middle-of-the-road ambience appeals to both Philippine youth and adults, it probably wouldn't find a youthful audience outside the Philippines, though it's possible an adult contemporary audience might appreciate it.
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