It's amazing how much easy listening music is made in the Philippines, with many songs sounding as though cut from the same bland love-song mold. One might think that the Philippino audience would grow tired of it, but the demand (and supply) never ceases. Unfortunately for local record companies, the Philippine marketplace is more receptive to adventurous music by Western artists, and not many local rock or rap bands find commercial success. Record companies often end up releasing derivative easy listening music, seemingly afraid to break the mold for fear the marketplace won't respond. The artist's face may change, but the music stays basically the same. Case in point is the 2002 album Ayen, by local artist Ayen. As is the case with most female artists here, she is pretty, and this is probably one of her main selling points. She has an adequate voice, though she still needs some polishing. She's badly off-key, for example, on "When I Look in Your Eyes" and "Here in My Heart," the album's only upbeat song. Still, she has potential. There isn't much potential, though, in the material she sings, most of which is bland and derivative, as though heard so many times before in slight variations on other albums. That said, three of the better songs are "You're My Everything," "Nagkataon, Nagkatagpo" (Coincidence, We Met), and "Pain in My Heart," featuring strong, incisive performances by Ayen. However, the album has 15 songs, and these fine songs are surrounded by 12 not-so-fine songs, and get buried in the process.
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