Freestyle: All Hits Live at the Araneta

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In 2001, Philippine band Freestyle released their fourth album, Freestyle: All Hits Live at the Araneta, recorded at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, near Manila. This follows the release of another live recording in 2000, Freestyle Live. The band has proven themselves to be skilled and exciting in concert, and the release of this album can only mean that the earlier live album was a commercial success. Freestyle has a soulful sound, influenced by rhythm & blues and urban music. The band's first two albums were studio recordings and consisted almost entirely of slow, soulful songs, which tended to drag after awhile. Conversely, the music on this live album contains mostly exciting, upbeat songs, as did 2000's Freestyle Live. Freestyle probably realizes that continuous slow music gets boring in concert. Again, as on Freestyle Live, this live album is dominated by remakes of American music. The opening five songs, for example, are a medley of Janet Jackson tunes, including "Runaway," "When I Think of You," and three others, and another medley on the album contains "Angel of Mine" and the Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love." It's not until the album's tenth song that Freestyle plays their own music; the high percentage of American music on this album mirrors the popularity of American music here. Freestyle is skilled, loose, and exciting in concert, and the album reflects this; the female vocalist and male vocalist/guitarist are at the top of their game. Still, it's too bad this album doesn't contain much Philippine-composed music.

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