ALBUM REVIEW: Charice (2008) by Charice Pempengco

 

ARTIST: Charice Pempengco

TITLE: Charice (EP)

RELEASED: May 2008 in Philippines

CERTIFICATION(S): Earned Platinum certification in Philippines (sold over 30,000 copies)

TRACKLIST:

1. And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going)

2. It Can Only Get Better)

3. I Will Always Love You

4. Born to Love You Forever

5. I Have Nothing

6. Mama

7. And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going) (Minus One)

8. It Can Only Get Better) (Minus One)

9. I Will Always Love You (Minus One)

10. Born to Love You Forever (Minus One)

11. I Have Nothing (Minus One)

12. Mama (Minus One)

NOTE: Sorry for the long delay. This is my first time reviewing an album or EP in over a year, because I’ve been fairly busy with finishing up college and playing in two college bands.

Born in 1992, Charice Pempengco (her full name is Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco) has gained serious global fame since her discovery on YouTube. Her self-titled debut EP, which appeared in May 2008, features interpretations of hits by Jennifer Holliday, Whitney Houston, and others.

“And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going),” which opens the disc, is a well-executed rendition of Jennifer Holliday’s smash hit from the musical Dreamgirls. Jennifer Hudson also did a great rendition of it when she appeared in the movie version of Dreamgirls, for which she won an Academy Award. Anyway, Charice maintains superb control of the high register throughout on this cut, just like on her other songs. “It Can Only Get Better,” originally covered by Amy Diamond, is another example of how Charice can take virtually any song and make it good, just like people like Bette Midler, Sarah Brightman, and Frank Sinatra did. (NOTE: I’m not comparing Charice to those three artists; just saying.)

“I Will Always Love You,” originally performed by Dolly Parton and best known as performed by Whitney Houston in her movie The Bodyguard, has Charice paying tribute to both artists at once with her rendition. However, this version leans closer to Whitney’s version, even though there’s no denying that Ms. Pempengco still belts her heart out. WARNING: The high notes toward the end are guaranteed to either send shivers down your spine or just move you to tears.

“Born to Love You Forever” is a bittersweet cover of the Preluders song, while “I Have Nothing” (by Whitney) shows Charice at her finest on this CD. She even employs background vocals to fine effect on “I Have Nothing.” Finally, “Mama,” originally by Smokey Mountain,” closes the first half of the disc in a fashionable manner with attention-grabbing vocals and a pretty arrangement.

The second half of the disc is comprised solely of instrumental versions of the first six tracks. I personally felt that these instrumental versions (listed as “Minus Ones”) could’ve been left for a second disc on this EP, but they’re fine enough if you want to hold a karaoke competition or just practice. And at least they’re not bland, like the karaoke CD I heard on Ultimate Disney Princess.

Pros: Wonderful interpretations of old cuts and recent ballads.

Cons: Padding the rest of the disc with instrumentals might sound weird to some people, but to be fair to Charice, it’s not like they’re MIDI-remade instrumental versions.

Bottom Line: Good start to Ms. Pempengco’s singing career.

Final Grade: B+

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