Philippine male singer James Coronel released his debut album James in 1997. Coronel was formerly a member of popular teen singing group Smokey Mountain. The music on James is dominated by passionate, easy listening love songs. In the album's liner notes, Coronel writes that he enjoys singing love songs, and he knows that Filipinos are fond of this type of music. Coronel is a talented singer and has a smooth, velvety voice. Side one of the cassette contains some fine songs. The opening, "Sa May Bintana" (In the Window), for example, is tender and fragile, and the words roll off Coronel's sweet, velvety voice. "Sandali" (Short Period), contains a pretty melody, once again sung sweetly by Coronel. Significantly, the songs were all composed by respected Philippine composer/producer Ryan Cayabyab, aside from lyrics written by Coronel on several songs. Cayabyab also produced and arranged all the songs, and the sound is superb. A standout love song is, "Di Bale Nang Walang Pera" (It's Ok Even Without Money), which contains a strong melody and chorus, sung with sincerity by Coronel. This song has international potential. Another outstanding song from side one is the spirited and penetrating "Masasaktan Lang Ako" (I'm Just Going to Feel Hurt), on which Coronel shows an ability to handle upbeat songs as well. Unfortunately, the material on side two isn't as strong, though it does contain the gospel-styled "Anong Ligaya" (What a Happiness).
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AllMusic Review by David Gonzales