Martin Nievera

Forever, Forever

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In 1999, Philippine singer Martin Nievera released Forever, Forever, a follow-up to the top-selling Forever, released in 1998. As with Forever, Forever, Forever consists entirely of remakes, dominated by remakes of American songs. Of the album's 15 songs, 13 are remakes of American hits and two are remakes of Philippine songs. This ratio reflects the wide interest in American music throughout the Philippines, where American music consistently outsells Philippine music. Again as with Forever, Forever, Forever is dominated by slow, easy listening, and middle-of-the-road love songs. There are two mildly spirited songs, "I'll Always Stay" and "Sweet Baby." The taste for mushy love songs in the Philippines is unquenchable. Pointedly, these albums do not sell outside the country, although various labels have tried. Taken one at a time, these songs are nice, and some songs are nicer than others. Nievera's rendition of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody," for example, is a standout. His performance here isn't just a note-for-note imitation, but has some originality. He veers, for example, from the original melody at times by singing it a half-step up, and soars majestically toward the song's end. All songs here are well-known in the Philippines, including "Make It With You," originally performed by Bread. To his credit, Nievera has a fine voice, and is able to sing at a soulful, high pitch and in a strong middle range. His rendition of Eric Carmen's "Love Is All Around Us" is also quite nice. Still, 15 love songs on one album can be too much. Once again, though, this album was a top-seller.

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