Julie Anne San Jose: Track-By-Track Album Review

Julie Anne San Jose‘s self-titled album was first released as a digital album on iTunes, and only a few hours after its release, it climbed up the Top Albums chart of iTunes Philippines, an incredible feat for an 18-year old Filipina singer. One week later, the album became available on Astroplus and Astrovision outlets nationwide. Over-all album sales are still unavailable as of writing.

For a debut album, going the eponymous route in its title is always a smart move. It gives off a stand-alone statement right then and there. It almost feels like the artist is introducing herself and her sound. And her sound, I am about to review. 

The album has eleven tracks, one of which is a revival of a Jimmy Bondoc hit (“Let Me Be The One”), another revival is “Hold On” by Side A, and the rest are original tracks. Two of the tracks are composed by the artist herself, Julie Anne San Jose (“Baby You Are” and “When You Said Goodbye”). Julie Anne was also the arranger and the back-up vocals for all the tracks, which is telling of how talented this young singer is.

Okay, enough introduction. Here are the track-by-track analysis of the album.

1. “Baby You Are”
This self-penned track is one of those tracks that emphasizes the singer’s vocal abilities and so, I believe this was the perfect first track for the album. The track is simplistically layered with an acoustic guitar accompaniment, which further focuses our attention to her raw vocal talent. It has this recording studio feel in it that reminds its listener of Julie Anne‘s YouTube and uStream sessions. The lyrics are also relatable and minimalist.

2. “Bakit Ngayon”
The very first time I listened to this track, I have always heard the band-feel to it. It brought me no surprise therefore that the composer of the song, Barbara Jeanne Bufete Ponciano, is a lead vocalist for a band. The lyrics is not at all wordy, but its repetitiveness isn’t annoying either. It is a great listen and one that has an easily recognizable hook at the chorus. The bridge is the significant continuation of the chorus which makes the track much deeper than it really is and makes it more interesting to listen everytime. The track is also the singular song that is in Filipino.

3. “Enough”
Alas, here comes one of my favorites off the album. This is the same song that has also managed to make its way to #6 of iTunes International charts. “Enough” is one of the three songs in the album about break-up (“Glad It’s Over” and “When You Said Goodbye” are the otheres). I like the ironic take on the topic — light and optimistic. Unlike the typical mellow break-up songs, this song written by Toto Sorioso is more relieving rather than stress-inducing. The beat is lively, radiant and bouncy. It actually veers away from the melodramatic format of songs under this subject of heartbreak. The track starts off with hook (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah) which makes it more irresistible and difficult to just skip. The rap part also brilliantly shows off the other dimension of Julie Anne‘s singing ability. Aside from that, the rap element bring makes the track more edgy and full of angst — something that the song’s message requires.  Over-all the song is, in my opinion, the most radio-friendly and radio-ready track in the album. I just hope its music video will be nothing less than what is needed.

4. “For Everything”
The song’s message is flexible — it could be a friendship song, a romantic relationship song, a song honoring your parents or a song praising God. It could really be about anything, depending on one’s take on the song. Composed by Rebel Magdagasang, this song is an expression of outright gratitude. This message makes the track less of a mere bubblegum-pop song. It’s a feel-good and meaningful song that relaxes anyone. The melody is also nostalgic and reminds me of a 90′s song that I liked before. The back-up vocals are amazing and adds a “reassuring” sound to the song — something that the message of the song implies.

5. “Glad It’s Over”
Just like “Enough”, this song composed by Soc Villanueva and Jungee Marcelo is about breaking-up and uses the same approach to the subject. The beat and the drone drumbeat at the beginning of the track is enough to lure me into listening to the song all throughout. The piano solo at the beginning makes a compelling hook. Opting to manipulate the refrain by using a phaser for the song’s bridge part is brilliant as it emphasizes the core meaning of the song — optimism amidst heartbreak. This also achieves an amazing ‘climb’ to final chorus part. The melody is catchy and is easy to the ears. Replay value? I’ll give it a 10, just like Enough.

6. “I’ll Be There”
Written by Agatha Obar, this song was released as a single weeks before the release of the album and was used as the theme for the Korean drama, “Lie To Me”, currently being shown on GMA-7. After the album’s release on iTunes, it has made its way to #3 of Top Singles chart of iTunes Philippines. The song’s music video have reached a million views in just a few weeks and is dominating MYX charts. The song is a powerful ballad with a message similar to The Jackson 5‘s song of the same title, only this time, the lyrics are pertaining to a romantic relationship. The piano layer creates an inviting tone. The song elevates to the second verse by adding a wonderful beat. It then approached the final section of the song with a full blast of band instruments, then effectively finishes song with a soft piano layer once again.

7. “MSB (My Sweet Boy)
Much alike with “Bakit Ngayon”, I also heard the band-like sound in this song. And it comes to no surprise that it was also written by Barbara Jeanne Bufete Ponciano. This is one of the many tracks about unrequited and secret affection to someone. The intro was quite obscure and felt a little different from the rest of the song, but as the song went into chorus, it felt more solid and much more like a band song. Several listens to the song convinced me that the hook is within the chorus (“…won’t ever tell you ’til the day”). The bridge part of the song induces a suspenseful climb to its final section. The back-up vocals for the song’s final section is full of conviction which makes the singer’s emotions more heartfelt that it already is.

8. “When I Close My Eyes”
Another song written by Agatha Obar, this hopeful song about love shows the vulnerable side of Julie Anne. The simplistic tune and mellow melody contrasts itself from most of the earlier tracks of the same subject (“Baby You Are”). These kinds of tracks shows her tranquil voice without losing the power to support the conveyance of the song’s message. The back-up vocals for the song creates a flavorful and solid texture to the song, while still being able to keep the hopeful tone of the song.

9. “When You Said Goodbye”
Another self-penned track by Julie Anne, it is almost similar to the atmosphere and tone of “When I Close My Eyes”, but it has a different message. This is about break-up and is following more closely to the traditional mellow tone of most heartbreak songs. The refrain parts are great climbs to the song’s emotional chorus. Completely in contrast with tracks like “Enough” and “Glad It’s Over”, the song is dramatic and tear-jerky, but still shows off the powerful vocals in the bridge part to finish. The bridge is also able to justify in itself why it has to repeat the chorus, which is the ultimate purpose of bridge parts.

10. “Hold On”
Possibly the most melodramatic and heart-felt track off the album, this track was composed by Armando V. Eduque and was originally sung by the popular Filipino band, Side A. The song almost feels like the close-to-death end of a relationship. Yes, that’s how emotionally captivating this song is. This revival of the is definitely several times more genuine and more vulnerable than the original version. The violin solo in the intro alone injects that feeling. Adding to the emotional tone of the song are the lyrics that are sometimes too depressing to take and the instruments that blends with it naturally. The bridge part is too powerful and too emotional that you have to be numb not to feel the heart of the song. The nuance in Julie Anne‘s delivery of the song is outstanding and meets what the song really requires — pure and genuine emotions.

11. “Let Me Be The One”
Last in the track list is a song originally composed and made popular by Jimmy Bondoc. Julie Anne‘s version is more subtle while still keeping true and honest to the original version. I actually feel the emotion more in this revival. This version is more sensitive and vulnerable than Bondoc’s version. The high note at the song’s bridge is goosebumps-inducing and almost feels like a sudden outburst of contained emotions. It is refreshing to hear a girl’s take on this song. This is definitely worth the radio-play. It will give you a nostalgic trip back to the past when this song was still played every once in a while.

I am not always impressed by OPM artists, so if a singer can get me through one listen of his/her album, he/she has to be amazing. And with Julie Anne San Jose‘s album, I was able to listen through it multiple times, which very much verifies how amazed I am with this album and its quality. Julie Anne‘s voice lingers and digs deeper in your brain in each listen. This album is definitely worth your P 250.00 (or $ 4.99 if you plan to download the digital album on iTunes).

The CD version of the album is now available on Astrovision and Astroplus outlets for P 250.00. Grab your copies now.

You may also purchase the song on iTunes. Just log-in with your iTunes account (register first if you haven’t), then go to the following link and buy the album for $ 4.99. http://itunes.apple.com/ph/album/julie-anne-san-jose/id548177622

For those who already bought the album, please answer this poll:

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  1. August 21st, 2012
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