Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CD Review: "The Hands of Time" (Gino Padilla), A Gem Buried in the Quagmire Known as Contemporary Philippine Music

Prepare for a dragging build up here, people...

Ages ago, it was on one of the very few instances when i joined the wifey in her late-night channel-surfing habits, when we stumbled upon a mestizo-looking singer who looked sort of like Gino Padilla on one of Sharon Cuneta's shows (I forget which one...).

Lo and behold, it WAS Gino Padilla.

The song he sang was "Keeping the Memories Alive," a fresh new track from his then brand new record called "Hands of Time." I was intrigued as the song had a good hook on it, and Gino Padilla's singing had always been flawless.  But hey, it was late-night TV, and like most late-show fare, one forgets stuff when one wakes up the following day to the sound of either the cellphone set as a loud alarm clock, or the wifey yelling repeatedly that you are already embarrassingly late for work.  Too bad for her i don't embarrass easily...

Fast forward to January, 2010... I was recovering from a life-changing chapter in my then sad excuse for a life, wandered into a record bar (one day, our children will wonder what a record bar is) and found "Let Me Be The One," a new album by Gino Padilla. That late-show performance from way back echoed back into my brain, and I quickly scanned the back for the song. No luck. But I picked up the album and have enjoyed all that music non-stop ever since. Read the review here. "Hands of Time" seemed to no longer be in stock, much less in print.

Through the fan/stalker's ultimate tool known as the internet, I managed to strike up a line of communication with Gino, and he generously sent me what i suspect is one of his personal copies of "Hands of Time." Endless spins on the CD player, and a year and a half later, here's the CD review...

Still there, reader? Good. Now let's talk about music... Good music.

* * * * * * * *

There's a reason "Keeping the Memories Alive," flooded back into my head over two years after the only time I heard it. It was simply a damn good song. Of course, it sounded and felt a bit like it was 1987 again. But hey, those were good times for OPM (Original Pilipino Music).


It's too bad radio (and TV) didn't give too much airtime to the album, as balladeers like Gino don't seem to get much respect lately, and get their share of attention mostly as retro-nostalgia acts. But despite being an album produced in the new millenium, "Hands" comes across more as a delectable slice of 80's OPM seemingly dug out of someone's secret trunk of unheard-but-shouldve-been-hits.

Cuts like the album's title song "Hands of Time," "Find that Child Hiding in You," and a handful of others on the disc all sounded like they belonged in the airwaves when they were ruled by Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Raymond Lauchengco, Louie Heredia, and the Neocolours. If released back then, these would have been hits, and may probably be found nowadays in "Best of" OPM collections being hawked in Quiapo, and subsequently confiscated by the Optical Media Board.

Gino is obviously ecstatic about getting to record again. So ecstatic, that in addition to his personal thank-you song to his benefactor, Miss Sharon Cuneta, "Angel is Disguise," which was well-meaning, inevitably well-sung, but a bit sappy, the entire record sounds too damn happy. So happy in fact, that even the album's supposedly saddest song, "Let This One Go," where he finds the woman screwing around and eventually dumping him, doesn't sound remotely pissed and pained. It still sounded somewhat... happy.

But this record WAS cause for celebration for Gino, who came out of recording limbo with this album, and got to play in the sandbox known as the revival/remakes record market soon enough after this with the wonderful "Let Me be the One." now, people... THAT is still available out there. Do your ears a favor and go grab a copy now.

'catch you later.

No comments: