Magbalik Ka

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In 2001, Philippine female singer Glaiza released Magbalik Ka (You Come Back). The album contains six songs and can be considered an extended play (EP) set. The opening "Magbalik Ka" is tinged with easy listening, a popular style of music in the Philippines, but the song also sounds more modern than usual. "Only for You" is thoroughly modern and features a hip-hop-styled urban sound. "Pag-ibig Ko'y Sa 'Yo" (My Love Is for You) is soulful and the melody is a combination of urban and pop; it sounds like something Japanese female artist Utada Hikaru might sing, as referenced from her 1999 debut album, First Love, Japan's top-selling album of all time. It sold approximately nine million copies in Japan and another one million throughout Asia. Although Japanese pop music doesn't sell well in the Philippines -- the country is preoccupied with Western music -- the sound translates well. The pop-soul-styled "Ibang-iba" (Very Different) also sounds like something Utada Hikaru might sing. A look at the credits shows that Glaiza was produced by someone of Japanese ancestry, Paulo Kurosawa, and that the melodies for all the songs were composed by another person of Japanese ancestry, Ayumi Nishimura (the lyrics are by a Filipino). It's possible that the Philippines-based record company XAX Music is trying to replicate the massive success that Utada Hikaru and other Japanese pop singers have had in Japan and throughout Asia. Unfortunately, Glaiza's voice could use more charisma and her delivery needs development, and one wonders why she was chosen to make this album. Still, the songs might become popular due to the strong songwriting and the high production values.

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