Francis M

Happy Battle

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In 1996, Philippine male rapper Francis M released Happy Battle, which followed 1995's outstanding Free Man. He is accompanied by his backing band, the Hardware Syndrome, and two female backup singers called the Evil Stepsisters. The music of Francis M is always adventurous, but on Happy Battle he pushes borders even more. While the album has its share of the accessible melodies and guitar riffs that adorned Free Man, these elements are often downplayed, and he instead ventures into dissonance and even metal, as heard on "Livin' in the Wild." On the masterful "Tingga Sa Wan-Kita," Francis M and the band combine rough-hewned rapping with hard-edged guitar riffs and a melodic, soulful chorus. On the punkish "Make Your Move," Francis M sings a delightful, Green Day-type melody. Both "Baliktad Ang Mundo (Upside Down World) and "Sapot" (Web) feature hard-edged, dissonant guitar work. Yet, he croons a soothing love song on "Girl Be Mine." While Happy Battle is less accessible and doesn't have the same impact as 1995's Free Man, it remains a strong album, and Francis M should be commended for extending his musical reach.

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