In 1998, Philippine male singer Richard Marten released his self-titled, debut album. The album was produced by noted Filipino songwriter Vehnee Saturno, who also wrote six of the album's 11 songs, and co-wrote two others. Marten wrote the remaining three songs. The album consists of easy listening love songs, a style of music quite popular in the Philippines, but Richard Marten is a cut above the usual bland fare, and contains some interesting and well-made music. Despite his movie star looks -- which immediately conjures the specter of a talentless, label-driven "image" artist -- Marten is a fine vocalist, and sings with emotion and depth. The album is cohesive and benefits from attention to detail. Most songs on Richard Marten are ballads on which Marten infuses passion and sincerity, including "It's Sad to Hear Our Love Song," "Ikaw Lang Talaga" ("You Are Really the Only One"), and "Binuhay Mo" ("You Make Me Alive"). Another ballad, "Pagka't Narito Ka" ("Because You're Here"), has a somewhat spirited arrangement, which includes syncopated keyboards and a jazzy guitar solo over which the vocals move slowly and confidently. One of the album's best songs is the beautiful "I Love You Girl," another tuneful ballad featuring an imaginative arrangement and exquisite harmonious vocals. "Reach" is another standout and contains a soulful, almost funky backbeat. Once again, as far as easy listening music is concerned, Richard Marten has a lot to offer.
Richard Marten Review
by David Gonzales