State of Mind

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In 1999, Philippine band Reigndance released their debut album, State of Mind. The band's sound leans toward easy listening, but it has more substance than the usual easy-listening music heard in the Philippines. There is an admirable eclecticism to the band's music, and all the songs contain interesting, intelligent arrangements.

A good number of the ballads are substantive and could possibly attract the attention of international listeners, which doesn't happen very often on Philippine recordings. Lead singer Erik Vargas has an exceptionally fine voice, and his stirring, emotive vocals make even the weakest songs sound good. Significantly, Vargas composed and arranged all ten songs on the album. The album's opening song, "All I Need," initially sounds like any other easy-listening love song made in the Philippines, but then the song blooms into something meaningful, with the melody and lyrics able to hold one's attention.

The band has a sense of pacing, and instead of following "All I Need" with another slow-paced number, as what usually occurs on Philippine recordings, "Naaalala Mo Pa Ba?" ("Do You Still Remember?") is a moderately upbeat tune. "Kung May Pag-asa Pa" ("If There's Still a Chance") veers close to being a bland, easy-listening love song, but the singer's sincerity and passion make every ounce of this song sound meaningful.

Nothing, however, can save the boring "Mahal Pa Ba Kita Ngayon?" ("Do I Still Love You Now?"). "Miles Away (Always Keeping the Love)" is an upbeat number, while "Sadya" ("On Purpose") opens with the roar of hard rock/metal guitar. Vargas' emotive singing and sincerity saves "What I Believe" from being just an ineffective love song. The album is a substantive first effort, though Reigndance still needs to develop its sound and style; the band has much potential.