quaint little rutted bucket

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Top Pick: Mandy Moore's latest, 'Coverage', hits the sweet spot between pop and maturity

This nineteen-year old charmer has lots of things going for her. Whether it is on the music scene or onscreen, Miss Moore's talent has never failed her, only to continue maturing and growing to be better over time. As perhaps the most successful of the female teen pop idols, her continued success stems from the drastic changes we've seen from the girl we heard debuting with the sweety-pop song 'Candy' (some pun intended) to the actress that carried 'A Walk to Remember' to the vestibule of success. Enter 'Coverage.'

As you may know (and as hinted by the album's title), Coverage at its rawest form, is only a cover album of older hits. Most people who have listened to covers know that the cover song could only be as good as the artist rendering it, so Mandy has lots to lose if she disappoints (read: babyboomers) fans of the songs.

But in typical Mandy-fashion, she doesn’t.

I’ve tried hunting some of the older, original versions of the songs, and while Mandy may sound like a pro singing on the karaoke, don't be fooled: these are good, first-rate covers.

‘Coverage’ starts off with ‘Senses Working Overtime,’ a fast-paced song to start and warm things up. Some are on the slow and mellow side of things, while some follows the oft-trodden track and delivered in Mandy’s unique style of pop. Personally, I’ve liked almost all the songs, with the exception of ‘One Way or Another,’ a track is which is awfully cheesy. (Maybe it’s just me, but I dunno. :)) Of particular note was the last two tracks, ‘Help Me’ and the recently-released hit single, ‘Have A Little Faith in Me.’

What actually surprised me was that, after listening over and over to ‘Coverage,’ I found myself hunting for most of the songs and trying to listen and obtain the original versions online. (Don’t ask where; most per-pay-download services like Apple iTunes are still limited to US/North America-only, so that leaves me with P2P :)) and on my folk’s CD collections. I found some, and listening to Mandy’s and the original artist’s rendition, I find that Mandy’s efforts in doing covers give the original works justice, by bringing wonderful pieces of music back into the mainstream and reintroducing them to entirely new generations of listeners who might or might have not listened nor heard the original artists’ works that are featured in Coverage. In fact, she doesn’t spoil them or anything; her renditions are juicy; very ingeniously and wonderfully done, and give new-found life to works that have been considered mainstays and popular acts of their eras.

Even if ‘Coverage’ is still pretty much a cover album, it showcases the great strides Mandy’s talent and maturity has so far achieved in an entirely new level and light. Surely good things can be expected from this wonderful girl-just-turning-to-woman. Coupled with lots of opportunities, plus her already-good plethora of talent, genius and creativity at her disposal, Mandy is sure poised to win more fans over. In all, Coverage is an excellent album; paying good homage to the originals in the covers she has done here. 8.5 out of 10. Recommended, if you’re after some good pop music you can kick back and listen to.

(So, liked my review? Honestly, I’m really not sure if it’s any good or not. But it was an attempt to get my writing back into focus. Email me your comments here. :))

It’s a no-brainer, really. The system needs change, now!

If there’s anything I had noticed lately that I could wish happened here, it’s the US Democrats’ method of choosing their party’s standard bearer. They hold caucuses which then hopefully determines the *real* candidate the Democrats want to run against Bush.

I wish we had the same system set-up here.

I wish we had real parties; where one could really join and pitch in ideas and suggestions, then work together on a plan of implementing action and change, and not just ‘coalitions’ that ‘break-up’ after each other’s through getting what they needed and wanted. Sigh. Philippine politics is a joke and an exercise in futility, really.

That was why I wondered then why our politicos seem to make too great a joke on our country’s elections and party system (Do we really have one?), whereas politicians in progressive democratic nations such as France, the USA, France and Germany make great strides in sticking it out with their party even when the going gets tough. I could only wish I could say the same for my beloved country.

Without collectivity, credible and honest politicians’ true and noble efforts can only be as good as the person next to us. Without a real party system in place, politics degrade into a long, big yarn of joke, leaving us with that bitter-after taste of bickering and dog-eat-dog mentality that pervades our country’s political scene. Without a real party system, people can go in and out of politics whenever they wish to. (Just take a look at the sheer length of actors/actresses-turned politicians who say that their desire to serve are the only qualifications they need to serve effectively. Sheesh!) Where are we to go?

I’m not really surprised at all why Communist movements such as the CPP-NDF-NPA continue to exist.

Inaction, lack of tangible and concrete progress, almost-endless infighting and backbiting, political butterflies… where are we now, after two EDSA revolts, a dictator, and a silly excuse for an actor-turned-Prez? (that is poised to happen again?!? $#@$%^*#!) Nowhere.

All because of this big shenanigan we even dare to call politics. And oh, all of those silly, ‘infallible’ idiots who continue to run for office.

We need real, sharp, honest and sincere politicians, not actors/actresses, not elitists, nor even trapos.


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