Regine Velasquez

Retro

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In 1997, Regine Velasquez, one of the Philippines' most popular singers, released Retro. The album places an emphasis on hit international songs from the past: Velasquez sings a hot remix version of Donna Summer's 1970s hit, "Hot Stuff," a version of Foreigner's 1980s hit, "I Want to Know What Love Is," and a jazz-styled version of "Superstar," a 1970s hit for the Carpenters. Retro contains a considerable amount of adventurous, modern music, often performed in a rhythm & blues vein, a most welcome development in a country where the local music scene is dominated by easy listening love songs. It often seems Filipinos will listen to adventurous music by international artists, but expect their own singers to remain in a "easy listening" musical straitjacket. Velasquez's version of the upbeat, dance-inflected, "Shake Your Groove Thing" is outstanding, her voice and style both relaxed and commanding. The song's exciting arrangement is also a revelation. Velasquez also performs several songs which can be considered middle of the road, but which sound quite nice here, nonetheless. These include the wonderful, "Looking Through the Eyes of Love," the tuneful, "You Were There," and the catchy "Zoom," among others. The album is Velasquez's best selling album ever in the Philippines, surpassing triple platinum, according to the label (platinum is 40,000 units sold in the Philippines). However, the success of the album also points to one of the drawbacks on the Philippine music scene: oftentimes Filipinos prefer international music (and remakes thereof) than music composed by their countrymen.

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