Unang Tamis

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In 2001, Philippine female singer Gian released Unang Tamis (First Sweet). Four of the album's ten songs are easy listening love songs, a style of music quite popular in the Philippines, and the other six songs are more modern-sounding. The modern songs include two remakes of American tunes, the soulful "Lost in Love" and an updated version of Carole King's "So Far Away." Four Philippine-composed songs also sound modern, including "Ayoko Sana" (Hoping I Don't Like) and "Hinihintay Lang Kita" (I'm Just Waiting for You), which are actually easy listening couched in modern arrangements; the upbeat "Mahal Na Kita" (I Love You Now); and the ballad "Only You" (not to be confused with the Platters song of the same name). The easy listening songs are nice enough, although "Sa 'Yo" sounds a bit derivative, as though heard in a variant form on other Philippine easy listening albums. Also giving the easy listening songs substance is the fine musicianship. Gian often sings in a high register, which, unfortunately, sounds too thin. She sounds better in the middle register, as heard on "Minsan Lang" (Sometimes Only). Regardless, her voice isn't very strong, and even when she sings in the middle register, she still needs more depth. She also lacks the charisma that could help compensate for this lack of depth. However, she comes alive on the soulful American-composed ballad "Lost in Love." She starts in her usual thin voice but gets stronger and soars toward song's end. Why she didn't sing like this more often is a puzzle -- the album would be better.

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