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A new take on OPM hits

Jed’s latest CD focuses on OPM with English lyrics

If you are still skeptical about a rosy future for OPM then a listen to these new releases might cause you to change your mind. Everything in the CDs comes from Filipino talents and it is all good. Here is proof that the Pinoy can create pop songs that can endure the passing of time.

The albums are reworkings of the oldies. One, Songs Rediscovered 2, The Ultimate OPM Playlist is by Jed Madela. He is a voice of the present and an international singing champion, no less. The other one is Kumpas, An Orchestral Celebration of Pinoy Rock Music by FilharmoniKA conducted by Gerard Salonga. The artists in this one are musicians who, determined to extol the virtues of OPM, use their classical training to breathe new life to the familiar melodies.

Jed is one of the best in the younger batch of singers we have today. He has perfect pitch and a clarity of tone that is rare among pop balladeers. His latest CD focuses on OPM with English lyrics. This style returned with a vengeance during the ‘80s and turned OPM away from the slangy Manila Sound to excellent compositions in English. Prime examples were the phenomenally popular Never Ever Say Goodbye by Nonoy Zuñiga and You by Basil Valdez. Jed stayed away from Never but he does an interesting, sweeter version of You in his album.

 The album also includes To Love Again also by Odette and sung by Sharon Cuneta in the movie of the same title; A Smile in Your Heart by Rene Novelles originally by Jam Morales; Got to Let You Know, written and recorded by Tito Mina; I’ll Always Stay in Love This Way by Boy Katindig popularized by Baron Barbers; Special Memory sung by Iwi Laurel in the soundtrack of the movie Hot Shots; Let the Pain Remain by Willy Cruz for Basil Valdez; and Everyday, a big hit for Agot Isidro by Mon Espia.

The first single out is I Need You Back, which is also by Odette and which was a big hit for Raymond Lauchengco in the landmark movie Bagets. The song has remained a radio staple during the past two decades. I do not think anybody dared challenge Raymond’s heartfelt interpretation. That is until Jed did. I am sure listeners will have a grand time comparing the two.

I do not think any of the creators of the hits included in Kumpas ever thought that they would one day hear their works played by an orchestra with a serious arrangement. But here is the CD and it is proof of their genius that the songs easily lent themselves to the new treatment.

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Gerard conducts but he has generously doled out the arranging chores to others. Ria Osorio, Marvin Querido, Sharon Feliciano, Denis Catli, JD Villanueva and Gerard himself are all up to the task. I wish though that they had been less reverential and taken more liberties with the songs. But, hey, these melodies are OPM icons and the fact that some of the original artists perform in the new versions, makes that hard to forget.

Included are Laki sa Layaw by Mike Hanopol; 214 by Rivermaya; Kanlungan featuring Noel Cabangon; Muntik Nang Maabot ang Langit by True Faith; Tao feat. Sampaguita; Banal Na Aso, Santong Kabayo by Yano; Ang Huling El Bimbo by the Eraserheads feat. Ely Buendia; Paglisan by Color It Red; Salamat by The Dawn feat. Jett Pangan; the Juan de la Cruz Band’s Himig Natin with original lead guitarist Wally Gonzales; and the Afterimage’s Next in Line.

While we are all in an OPM mood, I might as well mention a third CD. This is Love Knows No Boundaries, a collection of the most requested tunes from the Love Radio playlist. These have been digitally remastered and are now available in a two-disc set of audio CD and VCD karaoke. The sing-along mode is really how most Pinoys like their OPM.

One or two from this one are foreign covers like Nina’s Love Moves in Mysterious Ways and Mark Bautista’s I Need You. The rest though are true blue OPM like Aiza Seguerra’s Pakisabi Na Lang and Ogie Alcasid’s Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang. But no matter where they come from and no matter what the form, the fact that they are performed by Pinoys, make them also OPM. As for the rest of the songs, they are the kind that today’s artists can look up to and say, “hey they did this then, we can also do it now.”

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