Reviews: Kitchie Nadal, Juana, Session Road

Juana – Misbehavior (2005)
I would’ve seen them live one time they opened for Rivermaya — had I come early. But I was late, always late to the party. Late to seek this underappreciated mid-aughts little gem. Late to catch this “Reyna Ng Quezon City” back when she was still queen. By the time I got into them, the band wasn’t Juana anymore — the singer left, their name changed, etc. By the time I looked for their CD, I had to do search & rescue in the remaining record stalls in the malls, meet scalpers, join online second-hand CD groups. What did I miss to have on CD? Turns out, plenty. The minor hits “Ikaw Pa Rin,” “Goodbye,” “Pansinin Mo,” and more. “Connected” is your lost ’90s teenage anthem (I am a lost cause I am a zero / Always the victim and never the hero). “Jealous,” another upbeat number, about a bitchy coworker. In “This Year,” Shirley de Guzman does better than Chantal Kreviazuk, whose earlier version of the song appeared on the Serendipity OST. Whether it’s anticipation, yearning or maybe even desperation — mas ramdam mo ‘yung kanta sa version ng Juana. Mas may gigil din ‘yung tugtugan nila. ‘Yung kay Chantal parang medyo tinatamad pa s’ya eh. A-

Kitchie Nadal – Kitchie Nadal (2004)
See how a single song, a Koreanovela, massive airplay, and poster girl for-cover art helped this turn “megaplatinum” — though probably not in a Nina Live! sort of way. Or see how its success made the label execs/artist management finally realize how to market female rockers: relaunch their careers as solo acts, double-bill ex-Band X and ex-Band Y in concert, and expect windfall from the huge amount of goodwill. Because everybody loves female rockers/singers/songwriters/bandleaders — except when you’re jealous, or just a hater. We’re not even talking about the product endorsements and TV ads that followed. But but but the rest of this album rarely inspire nor evoke the same energy as the famous Koreanovela/radio hit — yes, the one with Onemig Bondoc cameo in the MV. “Run” and “Same Ground” do suffice respectively, as the forgotten first single and obligatory but solid follow-up, but the rest don’t quite stir up as much. Don’t like it when she gets preachy (“Bulong”) but I do like that she strains her cords in the final track, “Fire” — something this album could definitely use a little more of. B

Session Road – Suntok Sa Buwan (2004)
Competent bar band with a few songs to show for (“Suntok Sa Buwan,” “Cool Off”) and at least a couple of cuts, betraying their influences. Regretfully theirs or not, “Leaving You” borrows not only its I-ii-iii-IV from “Garmonbozia” (the song, not the creamed corn from Twin Peaks), but also its hook. Sure, it is its own thing, as with the rest. But the whole LP also kind of drags, esp. after blasting your speakers with Superdrag. B-

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