Renz Verano

Greatest Hits

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In 1999, Phillipine singer Renz Verano released Greatest Hits. Verano had released only two albums prior to this compilation, so its arrival was unexpected. However, half of this album's 14 tracks are previously unreleased songs, so the "greatest hits" appellation is a bit misleading.

1995's Renz Verano and 1998's Mula Noon, Hanggang Ngayon (Ever Since Before Up to Now) contained all ballads, as well as a number of international remakes utilizing new lyrics written in Tagalog, the Philippines' national language.

Greatest Hits also follows this formula, and all 14 songs are ballads, including three remakes of international songs featuring new Tagalog lyrics. One new adaptation is of "I Finally Found Someone to Love," the 1990s hit performed by Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams. Verano is joined by Philippine singer Melody here, and the result is pleasing.

Included from the first two albums are such standout songs as the adaptation of "How Do I Live," called "Paano Ngayong Wala Ka" (How Now that You're Gone) here, and the adaptation of "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman," called "Siya Ang Babae" (She Is the Girl). Both songs are beautifully done by Verano, whose mellifluous voice, edged with grittiness, gives these songs meaning.

A huge problem on the album is that the new original songs tend to sound alike, with little variation. The fact that all 14 songs are ballads buries even the foreign adaptations. Surely, some upbeat material is sorely needed. Listening to track after track of slow material is frustrating and boring.

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