Mon Del Rosario

Somewhere in My Past

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In 1999, Philippine male singer/composer Mon Del Rosario released his debut album, Somewhere in My Past. The album consists of songs composed by Mon Del Rosario but originally recorded by other singing artists. One number, the spirited, Latin-inflected "Mara's Dance," was first heard in a local movie. Though Mon Del Rosario is a veteran composer, this album marks his first venture into the recording studio. One wonders why he waited so long. He has an excellent singing voice, at least as good as -- and mostly better -- than other Philippine singing artists who take up studio time. He mostly sings in the middle to low range, though he can fluidly navigate a higher register if so desired, which he does from time to time. He also arranged and performs the backup vocals here, and they are imaginative and well-executed. The music is dominated by the slow, easy listening love song so popular in the Philippines but for which there isn't much of an audience outside the country. By its very nature, easy listening music is non-challenging, but Mon Del Rosario manages to make some songs interesting. He uses the minor key a lot, which adds a melancholy feel to the sound. The album lacks diversity, as nine of the ten songs are slow. The opening, "Somewhere in My Past," a duet between Mon Del Rosario and Cooky Chua (lead vocalist for Color It Red), contains a nice melody. The song would probably bore many more discerning listeners, but Philippine easy listening music doesn't get much better. The upbeat "Mara's Dance" is a welcome change of pace.

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