Martin Nievera


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In 1998, Philippine singer Martin Nievera released Forever. The album comprises remakes of ten famous American songs and two Philippine songs. All 12 tracks are mellow middle-of-the-road and easy listening love songs, which are quite popular in the Philippines. The abundance of smooth music, however, doesn't make for much diversity, and the album sounds like one long, boring love song. Still, a few songs are worth the effort. The album opens with "Wildflower," a pretty love song with a sensuous melody. Nievera's voice is strong, smooth, and in command, and the words flow like honey from his mouth. Nievera's version of "It Might Be You," the Stephen Bishop hit, is nice enough, but some people might find the pace too slow, as the song is performed at a much slower pace than the original. Still, the song remains popular in the Philippines, and is a well-chosen selection for this album. The album would sound better if there were some upbeat songs to provide a contrast, but when track after track is a slow love song, a person might fall asleep. Nievera's rendition of the classic "Body and Soul" is substantive, but still, in this setting, a more discerning listener will yearn for the classic Coleman Hawkins version, one of the milestones of jazz. The album's best song is the rendition of Louis Armstrong's beautiful "What a Wonderful World." Nonetheless, this is a boring album, though it is indicative of the Philippine preference for mellow love songs that the album was a huge seller.

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