Take some nice, mellow songs and give them to a singer with a smooth, sensuous voice, and the result is Now & Then, the 2000 release by Ogie Alcasid. As with most solo artists in the Philippines, Ogie Alcasid is a balladeer. The album is divided into two sections, and the "Now" section contains seven easy listening and middle-of-the-road love songs. Significantly, all songs on this section were composed by Ogie Alcasid, who, as a songwriter, displays a penchant for warm, passionate melodies. "I Promise," for example, is a highlight in both the songwriting and performance, and could even impress some international listeners. All songs on the "Now" side have something to offer, including the heartwarming "I Believe." However, because the songs are all slow, they aren't as distinctive as they could be, and the "Now" side would benefit from some upbeat numbers to spice it up. The ballads are strong, but they aren't strong enough to be placed one after another without a change of pace. The "Then" side also contains seven songs, all of which are covers of Western and domestic tunes. Starting things out here is the bouncy "Bongga Ka Day" (You're Groovy), on which Ogie Alcasid is relaxed and confident. It's the only upbeat number on the album, although his cover of "Never Been to Me," performed in a quite appealing manner, is a mid-tempo outing. Ogie Alcasid's cover of Bread's "If" also warms the heart, and is characteristic of the local market's undying thirst for love songs. While not a head-turner, Now & Then is certainly more than competent, and provides some nice moments.
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