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Regine Velasquez still has gas left in the tank

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AUDIO JUNKIE:

How do you celebrate a 30-year career in music chock-full of highlights? If you’re Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, it’s simple: Put out an album to mark the milestone.

Regine Velasquez-Alcasid (mb.com.ph)

Regine Velasquez-Alcasid

“R3.0” is not a one-set affair but a three-part special as it’s the only way to match her awesome run. Here, she dishes out close to 30 tracks that both serve as retrospective and indicator to what lies ahead for her. The three phases are titled, thus: “Renditions,” “Rise” and “Reflections.”

There’s a method to this madness, of course. The first is a nod to one of Regine’s most successful excursions into pop. Ever since the multi-platinum hit “Covers” from the mid-2k’s came out, fans have been waiting for a new album of covers from her. As it turns out, the songbird delivers with a songbook that spans decades.

“Renditions” opens with her take on Up Dharma Down’s modern rock gem “Tadhana,” which surprisingly lends itself well to RVA’s vocal runs without going overboard. She also takes it back old school diva mode with a lush interpretation of the Didith Reyes gem “Bakit Ako Mahihiya.” Check out her versions of Shirley Bassey’s “Where Do I Begin,” George Benson’s “Greatest Love Of All,” Basil Valdez’s “Sometime, Somewhere” and you understand that they are great singers being paid homage to by another in the same league.

“Reflections” sees RVA update her own biggies. This is the part where she goes “Jagged Little Pill, Tenth Anniversary” on her hits. Acoustic, mellowed-down, re-envisioned raw, name it and she does it here. From her signature tunes “Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang” and “Tanging Mahal,” to her rehash of “On The Wings Of Love,” it’s all here. Regine’s aged-like-wine-voice sounds so close and raw on “You Are My Song,” “Araw Gabi,” and “Dadalhin” that she’s like sitting beside you as she sings.

‘r3.0’ ALBUM cover (mb.com.pH)

‘r3.0’ ALBUM cover

The hits are all good, but “Rise” is the most exciting section here where she delivers new music. Clearly, Regine still has a lot of gas left in the tank. She sings “Everyday is a new beginning/A never ending search for meaning” on the mid-tempo inspirational and Jimmy Borja-written “Higher” and you believe her. As track sequencing goes, she hits her stride on “Hugot,” a rising ballad written by “Philippine Idol” alumnus Miguel Mendoza. It’s an escalating emotional ride punctuated by moments made splendid thanks to Regine’s superb vocal.

New songs like “Skybound” and “Underrated” grow on you after a few listens. Thematically, it shows where RVA is heading to, musically. We like the catchy and ukelele-strewn “Prove To You” written by newcomer Ruth Anna Mendoza, and Jungee Marcelo’s acoustic pop number “Walang Hanggang Ikaw.”

Closing the album is a tear-jerker titled “First Man In My Life” on her late father, Mang Gerry, written by her husband, Ogie Alcasid.
“R3.0” is produced by Regine herself.

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