Carol Banawa

Carol

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In 2000, Philippine singer Carol Banawa released Carol. The album consists entirely of easy listening love songs, a style of music quite popular in the Philippines but one that poses little challenge to either the singer or the listener. Banawa was a familiar presence on Philippine television when the album was released in 2000, and perhaps this is why the album was made. The reason surely isn't her singing ability, which is quite limited; her voice is thin and lacks depth, sounding like a ten-year-old kid on helium.

Banawa is young -- teenaged or in her early 20s -- and her voice still needs to develop. Even so, it probably won't develop into anything worth caring about. At least she sings on-key, which many other television/film stars who attempt recording careers are unable to do. The album lacks diversity, as all of the 13 tracks are slow, easy listening fare. Most of the songwriting is average or below average. Some songs, however, have substance, including the catchy "Kanino Ba" ("To Whom") and the sunny "Only World"; the latter, written by Filipino Vehnee Saturno, took second place for songwriting in a late 1990s Shanghai Music Festival. Despite its less-than-sensational material, though, the album has a professional gloss, and it's obvious much care and attention was given to its production. And even though the album is highly predictable, there is one moment where Banawa reaches beyond herself: In the album closer "I'll Be There," the singer takes the uplifting lyrics and soars passionately towards the heavens, especially at the song's end. How this happens is a puzzlement, and perhaps Banawa has more of this inside her.