Appearances can be deceiving
- Philip Cu-Unjieng () - May 8, 2011 - 12:00am

The two CDs today possess a lot of great music, period. From the cover images, one may suspect that the music found within is of a specific genre, or with narrow musical appeal; but surprisingly, in both cases, I found myself smiling as I was driving and listening to the music. They’re both worthy purchases.

Jessie J — Who You Are (MCA Universal). British-born Jessie is essentially a talented songwriter, and it shows in the music displayed on her debut CD. Beyond the immediately catchy single Price Tag (with guest B. O. B.); as one listens to the songs, one can easily imagine Jessie being asked to write songs for a diverse range of artists — Gwen Stefani, Rihanna, Pink, and even Adele. The Adele tag would be her Casualty of Love song, while L.O.V.E. could have easily been sung by Mariah Carey, and Mamma Knows Best would sit easy on a Christina Aguilera album. It’s this quotient of versatility and her superb renditions of her own tunes that made me sit up and forget the Goth-like, hard rocker image that screams from her CD photos. A real winner, and one to watch out for.

Johnny Alegre, Cynthia Alexander, Susie Ibarra, et. al — Humanfolk (MCA Universal). What started off as a world music project hatched by noted Filipino musicians comes to fruition in the album Humanfolk. With guitarist Johnny Alegre acting as unofficial spokesperson, there’s a lot to be said abou this CD of impeccable music. Jazz, electronica, world music, it’s an elusive blend of diverse influences that is being played out on this album. And the way the traditional Filipino instruments — especially the percussive ones that Susie Ibarra employs — become part of the weave is amazing to uncover. Think early Weather Report or Pat Metheny Group, filtered with Asian, specifically Philippine hues, and you’ll have some idea of the accessible music palette that just sparkles and shines.

ADELE CASUALTY OF LOVE CHRISTINA AGUILERA CYNTHIA ALEXANDER GWEN STEFANI HUMANFOLK JESSIE JESSIE J JOHNNY ALEGRE MUSIC SUSIE IBARRA
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