SHOWBIZ NEWS THIS PAST WEEK

WINNERS: 2014 METRO MANILA FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS NIGHT 

PHOTO: “Bonifacio ang Unang Pangulo” won best picture at the 40 Metro Manila Film Festival. Philstar.com/Mark Atienza MANILA, DECEMBER 29, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Chuck Smith, Joyce Jimenez -  “Bonifacio ang Unang Pangulo” is the best picture for this year's Metro Manila Film Festival awards night on December 27, held at the PICC in Manila. Meanwhile, Derek Ramsay and Jennylyn Mercado were awarded best actor and best actress for their performance in the film "English Only Please," which happens to be their first romantic-comedy film. Eight films competed for the the mainstream category of the film festival, while there were five full-feature, five Student Short Films, and Five Animations for the New Wave category. The entries for the New Wave category was presented last December 17, while the eight mainstream films were presented through the MMFF Parade of Stars on December 23. CONTINUE READING...

(ALSO) Robin Padilla on ‘Bonifacio’s’ big MMFF win: Thanks but …

After “Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo” swept major awards at the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), its lead star Robin Padilla hopes that more young Filipinos would see the Andres Bonifacio biopic. Besting seven other official movie entries, “Bonifacio” bagged the coveted Best Picture prize, as well as the Youth Choice and the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural awards, during the MMFF awards night on Saturday. In a recent interview, Padilla said that more than the awards, what mattered to him more was that “Bonifacio” was able to tell the people the story of the Filipino revolutionary leader. Some sectors are pushing for the declaration of Bonifacio, “The Supremo,” as the country’s national hero, noting that he deserves the reverence that Jose Rizal has been receiving for more than 100 years. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Big Mouth strikes again in early 2015

PHOTO: Martin Nievera lives up to that ‘title’ whether he’s onstage performing or over a light lunch with select movie writers — gabbing non-stop, that is. First, a trivia: It was the late Bob Castillo (of People’s Journal) who gave Martin Nievera the unique “title” Big Mouth. That was in the early ‘80s after Bob and I, upon the request of Martin’s father Bert Nievera, interviewed Martin whose gift of gab was already in harness at that time even when he was just about to set foot in showbiz. The “title,” conferred on Martin with genuine fondness, stuck and Martin has been proudly wearing it like a medal on his sleeve since then. In fact, he’s using it in the title of his opening salvo for 2015 — The Big Mouth Rocks A New Year! at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura on Saturday, Jan. 3, starting at 8 p.m. with special guests Allen Sta. Maria, Morissette Amon and KZ Tandingan. That Big Mouth was unstoppable when Martin sat down for lunch with some movie writers a few days before Christmas at the Jet 7 Bistro (one of the show’s sponsors). READ FULL REPORT...

(ALSO) Box office: ‘The Interview’ makes $1 million theater debut 

Patrons buy tickets for “The Interview” at the Cinema Village movie theater box office, Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014, in New York. AP LOS ANGELES — Despite on demand availability, crowds still flocked to theaters to catch showings of “The Interview,” Thursday. The film made just over $1 million in ticket sales from 331 locations for an impressive $3,142 per theater average, according to distributor Sony Pictures. Many theaters reported selling out showings. Just one week ago, it seemed no one might see the satirical comedy following hacker threats, but, in a dramatic reversal of events, the studio this week decided to allow theaters to show the film and made it available for rental and purchase on digital platforms. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘The Interview’ hits US theaters

PHOTO: Moviegoers walk into the West End Cinema in downtown Washington, DC, for the “The Interview” movie on Christmas Day. Some two hundred US theaters are screening the Sony Pictures film starting Christmas Day, notwithstanding threats of terrorism and murmurings of an international cyberwar spawned by the farcical comedy about a plot to assassinate the leader of North Korea before it was even released. AFP  LOS ANGELES–Raunchy comedy “The Interview”–featuring a fictional plot to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un that has enraged Pyongyang–opened in crowded US movie theaters Thursday looking to make a statement on free speech. READ MORE...

ALSO CELEBS ASKED: What would you ask/give Pope Francis if you had a moment with him? 

Gabby Eigenmann -Actor --I just want to be blessed. It’s not only about being showered with more job opportunities… All I want from Pope Francis is to be blessed by him. It’s rare for our country to be visited by the Pope. So I want him to see and feel that the Philippines is not just a third world country—that Filipinos are warm, hospitable and loving; that in spite of the crab mentality that Filipinos are accused of having, they genuinely care for each other. I just hope we would always care enough to act. We always say that we want change, but it seems we are scared of it. I want the Pope to see that we Filipinos are very capable and are willing to change ourselves and our society. READ MORE...

ALSO: Taylor Swift’s 1989 in 2014

1989 was the year when Taylor Swift was born. She is now 25 years old. 1989 is also the title of her latest and first, all pop album. As she has done in the past, she tells stories in it, bits and pieces of her dreams and realizations about life, personal vignettes of how she came to be Taylor Swift. It is nothing profound or earthshaking but it sounds real. More than ever before Taylor’s music resounds with truth and we find ourselves in what she has to say.

1989 is not the perfect album. Taylor can be repetitive at times but it makes for a pleasant listen and she has a way with words that is endearing. It is obvious that at this point in her career that she is aiming more for cohesion rather than stand-out singles. This is the reason why the album comes across as initially unimpressive but grows on the listener with repeated plays. READ FULL REVIEW...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

WINNERS: 2014 Metro Manila Film Festival awards night


“Bonifacio ang Unang Pangulo” won best picture at the 40 Metro Manila Film Festival. Philstar.com/Mark Atienza

MANILA, DECEMBER 29, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Chuck Smith, Joyce Jimenez -  “Bonifacio ang Unang Pangulo” is the best picture for this year's Metro Manila Film Festival awards night on December 27, held at the PICC in Manila.

Meanwhile, Derek Ramsay and Jennylyn Mercado were awarded best actor and best actress for their performance in the film "English Only Please," which happens to be their first romantic-comedy film.

Eight films competed for the the mainstream category of the film festival, while there were five full-feature, five Student Short Films, and Five Animations for the New Wave category.

The entries for the New Wave category was presented last December 17, while the eight mainstream films were presented through the MMFF Parade of Stars on December 23.

Here is the list of winners at the 40th Metro Manila Film Festival:

Best Actress: Jennylyn Mercado for "English Only Please"
Best Actor: Derek Ramsay for “English Only Please”

Best Picture: “Bonifacio ang Unang Pangulo”
2nd Best Picture: “English Only Please”
3rd Best Picture: “Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2”

Best Supporting Actress: Lotlot de Leon for “Kubot: Aswang Chronicles 2”
Best Supporting Actor: Joey Marquez for “Kubot: Aswang Chronicles 2”

Best Child Performer: Ryzza Mae Dizon for “My Big Bossing's Adventures”

Best Director: Dan Villegas for “English Only Please”
Best Screenplay: “English Only Please”
Best Original Story: “English Only Please”
Best Cinematography: Carlo Mendoza for “Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo”
Best Editing: Marya Ignacio for “English Only, Please”
Best Production Design: Ericson Navarro for “Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2”
Best Visual Effects: “Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2”
Best Makeup: “Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2”
Best Original Theme Song: Von de Guzman for “Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo”
Best Musical Score: Von de Guzman “Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo”
Best Festival Sound Engineer: “Bonifacio Ang Unang Pangulo”
Best Float: “Bonifacio Ang Unang Pangulo”

New Wave:

New Wave Best Picture: “Magkakabaung”
New Wave Special Jury Prize: “M: Mother's Maiden Name”

New Wave Best Actor: Allen Dizon “Magkakabaung”
New Wave Best Actress: Zsa Zsa Padilla for “M: Mother's Maiden Name”

New Wave Best Director: Jason Paul Laxamana “Magkakabaung”

New Wave Best Supporting Actor: Kristoffer King for “Maratabat”
New Wave Best Supporting Actress: Gloria Sevilla “M: Mother's Maiden Name”

New Wave Short Film Special Jury Prize: “Kalaw” by Asia Pacific Institute

Special Awards:

Commemorative Award: Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito-Estrada Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award: “Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo” FPJ Memorial Award for Film Excellence: “Bonifacio Ang Unang Pangulo” Gender Sensitive Award (Main Category): Gender Sensitive Award (New Wave): Gender Sensitive Award (Student Short Film): Youth Choice Award: “Bonifacio Ang Unang Pangulo” Female Face of the Night: Nadine Lustre


FROM THE INQUIRER

Robin Padilla on ‘Bonifacio’s’ big MMFF win: Thanks but … Julliane Love de Jesus @JLDejesusINQ INQUIRER.net 2:38 PM | Sunday, December 28th, 2014


Robin Padilla. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—After “Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo” swept major awards at the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), its lead star Robin Padilla hopes that more young Filipinos would see the Andres Bonifacio biopic.

Besting seven other official movie entries, “Bonifacio” bagged the coveted Best Picture prize, as well as the Youth Choice and the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural awards, during the MMFF awards night on Saturday.

In a recent interview, Padilla said that more than the awards, what mattered to him more was that “Bonifacio” was able to tell the people the story of the Filipino revolutionary leader.

Some sectors are pushing for the declaration of Bonifacio, “The Supremo,” as the country’s national hero, noting that he deserves the reverence that Jose Rizal has been receiving for more than 100 years.

“Malaking karangalan [ito] para sa amin at nagpapasalamat kami sa MMFF … pero higit sa mga [award] mahalaga sa amin na maibahagi ang napaka makabuluhang kwentong ito,” he said. (This is a great honor for us and we thank the MMFF for it … but more than the awards, it is more important for us to share its very meaningful story.)

Padilla added, “Sana mas marami pang tao, lalo na ang mga kabataan, na makapanood [ng pelikulang ito].” (We hope more people, especially the young, watch the movie.”

Directed by Enzo Williams, the film also won technical and special awards for cinematography (Carlo Mendoza), sound engineer (Wild Sound), musical score (Von de Guzman), original theme song (“Hindi Pa Tapos” composed and performed by Gloc 9) and best float.

The historical movie also received the Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award for Excellence, a recognition bestowed to films that uphold nationalism and depict characters that fight for the poor and the disadvantaged.

The MMFF’s 40th year has eight official entries including romance-comedy “English Only Please,” action-fantasy “Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2,” action film “Magnum Muslim .357,” comedy films “My Big Bossing’s Adventures” and “Praybeyt Benjamin 2,” and horror films “Feng Shui 2” and “Shake, Rattle & Roll XV.”


FROM PHILSTAR

Big Mouth strikes again in early 2015 FUNFARE By Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 29, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Martin Nievera lives up to that ‘title’ whether he’s onstage performing or over a light lunch with select movie writers — gabbing non-stop, that is.

First, a trivia: It was the late Bob Castillo (of People’s Journal) who gave Martin Nievera the unique “title” Big Mouth. That was in the early ‘80s after Bob and I, upon the request of Martin’s father Bert Nievera, interviewed Martin whose gift of gab was already in harness at that time even when he was just about to set foot in showbiz. The “title,” conferred on Martin with genuine fondness, stuck and Martin has been proudly wearing it like a medal on his sleeve since then.

In fact, he’s using it in the title of his opening salvo for 2015 — The Big Mouth Rocks A New Year! at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura on Saturday, Jan. 3, starting at 8 p.m. with special guests Allen Sta. Maria, Morissette Amon and KZ Tandingan. That Big Mouth was unstoppable when Martin sat down for lunch with some movie writers a few days before Christmas at the Jet 7 Bistro (one of the show’s sponsors).

By the way, Martin left for the US early this month for two shows in Las Vegas Dec. 20 and 21, another show (a repeat) in Michigan on Dec. 26, and is flying back home posthaste for a New Year’s Eve show on Wednesday, Dec. 31, at Solaire Resort & Casino.

Here are “gems” that stumbled out of Big Mouth:

• He did his own shopping for Christmas gifts (“I enjoy doing it alone”) on a long list. “I prefer to give personalized gifts, as opposed to by bulk,” explained Martin. “Doon kami nag-aaway ni Pops (Fernandez) noon because she wanted to buy in bulk. I want to choose each gift myself na bagay doon sa bibigyan ko.”

• While other singers take care of their voice by staying away from cold drinks and refraining from talking several hours before a performance, Martin does the opposite. “I take care of my voice by using it a lot. It’s like a diesel engine. If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Asked in jest if that applies to, you know, other parts of his anatomy, Martin was undaunted. “Ask him,” he smiled, pointing the wireless mike between his legs. “I will tell you in five years,” he quipped, adding, “You know my grandmother, Lulu Corrales (Name supplied by Ronald Constantino because Martin forgot it. — RFL), she was an opera singer and she was fond of cold food…ice-cream, etc. Kami ni Regine (Velasquez), we take iced water. I think it’s all in the mind. Ang bawal talaga, dairy products.”

Entertainment ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 • He doesn’t mind being a replacement as he was for Jed Madela (who got sick) in Lani Misalucha’s recent show, so he had to learn how to do the songs in Jed’s (very high) range overnight. “I think we are all equal,” said Martin who is devoid of any insecurity. “We can all replace each other. No one is a bigger star than the other.”

• Embarrassing moment: During a show at the old Ultra, he actually wet his pants in the middle of a song and since the audience wouldn’t let him go backstage to change (yes, his pants), Martin did it right there with only a huge towel (held for him by two assistants) covering him from the wildly-applauding crowd. “It was a very quick costume change,” Martin recalled with a laugh, adding in jest, mentioning that the show’s title has the word “dream” in it, “the reviews would have headlined, ‘Wet Dream a big success!’ Hahahaha!”

• Another embarrassing moment: At the Kodak Theater in Hollywood where Martin was to receive an Entertainer Of The Year Award presented by Brian McKnight (who insisted he be allowed to do the honor). On the front row were artists with Asian background, including Mark Dacascos and wrestler Dave “The Animal” Batista. Martin appeared onstage singing “this is the moment” and what came out was a “lip-synched” version instead of a Minus One. “Wait, let me rewind,” Martin told the audience. Same thing happened. Finally, he decided to sing a cappella, after which the audience broke into a heart-rending applause. Everybody thought it was part of the act. An American guy who did the Grammys and the Oscars came up to Martin and said, “That was a great act!” Told that it wasn’t an act, the guy said, “If that were a Hollywood star, he would have walked out and blamed the production, the director, the sound engineer, everybody!”

• ”I have learned to relax,” he said. “I’m not in a hurry anymore. You know, singing is just like sex. The first time around, you try to get as many as you can; you rush. But now, you take your time. There’s now a lot of kissing and hugging, a lot of overtures, and it’s much more fun and satisfying.”

(The Big Mouth Rocks a New Year! is produced by H&D Hills & Dreams Events Concept with The Belo Medical Clinic and Volvo among the major sponsors. Ticket prices are P2,000, P2,500, P3,000 and P3,500. Call 470-2222.)


FROM THE INQUIRER

Box office: ‘The Interview’ makes $1 million theater debut Associated Press 4:30 AM | Saturday, December 27th, 2014


Patrons buy tickets for “The Interview” at the Cinema Village movie theater box office, Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014, in New York. AP

LOS ANGELES — Despite on demand availability, crowds still flocked to theaters to catch showings of “The Interview,” Thursday.

The film made just over $1 million in ticket sales from 331 locations for an impressive $3,142 per theater average, according to distributor Sony Pictures. Many theaters reported selling out showings.

Just one week ago, it seemed no one might see the satirical comedy following hacker threats, but, in a dramatic reversal of events, the studio this week decided to allow theaters to show the film and made it available for rental and purchase on digital platforms.

Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures, said in a statement that the studio is extremely grateful to the people all over the country who came out for the unconventional release.

‘The Interview’ hits US theaters Agence France-Presse 8:58 AM | Friday, December 26th, 2014


Moviegoers walk into the West End Cinema in downtown Washington, DC, for the “The Interview” movie on Christmas Day. Some two hundred US theaters are screening the Sony Pictures film starting Christmas Day, notwithstanding threats of terrorism and murmurings of an international cyberwar spawned by the farcical comedy about a plot to assassinate the leader of North Korea before it was even released. AFP

LOS ANGELES–Raunchy comedy “The Interview”–featuring a fictional plot to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un that has enraged Pyongyang–opened in crowded US movie theaters Thursday looking to make a statement on free speech.

Its future had been in doubt after entertainment giant Sony said it was canceling the release following an embarrassing cyberattack on its corporate network and threats against moviegoers.

Star Seth Rogen and co-director Evan Goldberg made a surprise appearance at one of the first showings in Los Angeles just after midnight, when they thanked moviegoers and theaters for pushing to get the film out.

“We thought this might not happen at all,” Rogen told a cheering crowd, according to a video posted on YouTube. The theater was near Rogen and Goldberg’s homes, the men said.

“The fact that it’s showing here and that you guys all came out,” Goldberg said, “is super fucking exciting,” Rogen finished.

The film played to crowded theaters and viewers looking to make a political statement.

Many of the biggest US movie theater chains had gotten cold feet about showing the film after anonymous online threats, prompting Sony to pull the film.

The United States has blamed the Sony cyber attack on North Korea, and President Barack Obama has threatened reprisals.

Free speech

But Sony came under fire from Obama and free speech advocates for canceling the release, and some 300 independent theaters so far have offered to show the film.

“I probably would not be seeing this movie, and certainly not today, but with all the controversies I think it was important to come out and watch it,” said Jeff Crowley, 49, seeing the movie at a sold-out independent theater in the capital Washington.

“To me it was more about the precedent that was setting in… we don’t want all these studios afraid of what they can say the next time around.”

Josh Levin, a co-owner of the West End Cinema that often screens more sophisticated films, said he was showing the film on principle and that it’s been warmly received.

“We sold out all our tickets for today in less than one hour. We are sold out for tomorrow and Saturday,” Levin said.

The madcap, irreverent R-rated comedy was also available online for US and Canadian viewers starting Wednesday.

“After discussing all the issues, Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country — however silly the content might be,” Google chief legal officer David Drummond said in a blog post.

The movie was being distributed on Google’s YouTube for a $5.99 rental fee, on the Google Play app for Android devices and on a dedicated website, seetheinterview.com.

The Google search engine also promoted the film on its homepage.

On vacation in Hawaii, Obama, who had previously called Sony’s move to cancel showings a mistake, told reporters he was “glad it’s being released.”

A bawdy, expletive-laden tale full of sexual innuendo and scatological humor, the film starring Rogen and James Franco is a silly, low-brow romp about a CIA plot to assassinate Kim.

The film depicts how girl-chasing, hard-partying, always fashionable tabloid TV presenter Dave Skylark (Franco) and his producer (Rogen), score an exclusive interview with the leader of the world’s most reclusive state.

That is when the CIA steps in and presents them with a plan to kill Kim.

Despite initial doubts, Skylark eventually learns the truth about the regime’s brutality, and he sets out to take down Kim by exposing him as a liar during his live interview.


FROM THE INQUIRER

What would you ask/give Pope Francis if you had a moment with him? Bayani San Diego Jr., Marinel R. Cruz | Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:33 AM | Monday, December 29th, 2014


Gabby Eigenmann -Actor

I just want to be blessed. It’s not only about being showered with more job opportunities… All I want from Pope Francis is to be blessed by him. It’s rare for our country to be visited by the Pope. So I want him to see and feel that the Philippines is not just a third world country—that Filipinos are warm, hospitable and loving; that in spite of the crab mentality that Filipinos are accused of having, they genuinely care for each other. I just hope we would always care enough to act. We always say that we want change, but it seems we are scared of it. I want the Pope to see that we Filipinos are very capable and are willing to change ourselves and our society.


Manilyn Reynes -Singer-actress

What I would like to receive from Pope Francis is a simple prayer for me and my family—that’s all. I know that he prays for the whole world all the time but, given the chance to tell him, in particular, the names of my husband and my children, that would make me very happy. I know that a lot of people pray for him, but all I can give him are my own prayers. I would pray for his health and continued good shepherding of the Church. But it will also be a thanksgiving prayer because he’s so endearing! I hope he will continue to bless everyone, so that everyone will be safe and content.


Mylene Dizon --Actress

I don’t have anything particular to give to Pope Francis. I am sure he receives lots of gifts from countless people and that he is not into material things anyway. I would like to show him around the Philippines and introduce him to our countrymen. What I would like to receive from him is wisdom…about Christ and how we can become good Christians like him. I would like to hear his insights on the things that are happening in our country—for instance, the devastation caused by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” There is a lot of talk that relief funds have failed to reach the victims. I would like to hear his thoughts on this.


Frank Magalona --Actor

I would like to write a beautiful song and sing it to Pope Francis. It would be a happy song. An upbeat tune would make anyone happy—the Pope is also human and, hopefully, he would enjoy it as well. And I would like to receive a blessing from him.


Elmo Magalona --Rapper-Actor

This question is a big one. I would ask him to help me pray to God for more blessings. I would ask for prayers as well, so that calamities will no longer hit our country.


Chynna Hortaleza --ACTRESS, PHOTO BY ROMY HOMILLADA

I wouldn’t ask for anything more, because I can see that he has given the Catholic community a great service by being himself. Pope Francis is very brave. I like how he is changing the way people think—many Catholics are no longer as close-minded as they used to be. I feel that because the Pope prays to God, he has the courage to do what he has to do. Should I get to meet him, I’m just going to hug and thank him. If he allows me to pray with him, that would be something I’d remember forever.


FROM PHILSTAR

Robin Padilla surprised by daughter after 4 years apart By Joyce Jimenez (philstar.com) | Updated December 27, 2014 - 12:13pm 19 2654 googleplus0 0


Robin Padilla meets his daughter Camille after not seeing each other for four years. TV5/Paul Mata COURTESY OF PHILSNEWS.PH

MANILA, Philippines- Robin Padilla met with his daughter Camille, a child from his past girlfriend Leah Orosa.

Camille visited his dad for the holidays after not seeing him for four years, with the help of Robin's wife Mariel Rodriguez.

The visit happened two weeks ago, but it was only last Sunday when Camille posted a video clip of their meeting in her Instagram account.

In the video, Robin was seen surprised to see his daughter and all he said was “wow.”

The only daughter of Robin Padilla with Lea Orosa, Camille Garcia surprised the action star during the Christmas holidays after she visited the actor in time for the holidays courtesy of Robin Padilla’s current wife, Mariel Rodriguez. The “Bonifacio” star, Robin Padilla was in his home during the second week of December.


Camille, Robin's daughter with former actress Leah Orosa, was spotted at the press conference. Photography: Noel Orsal, COURTESY OF WWW.PEP.PH

Although the meeting of the father and daughter happened during the past weeks, Camille Garcia, who is based in the United States, uploaded her surprise visit to her dad on social media. The video which was uploaded on Instagram recently by Camille Garcia went viral already, garnering likes and shares among her friends and followers.

Camille Garcia is the only child of the 45-year-old Robin Padilla with former girlfriend Lea Orosa, a Filipino actress who is married to her husband Antonio Garcia and currently based in the united States. The action star Robin Padilla has four other children with ex-wife Liezl Sicangco.

The Instagram video was captioned “FINALLY got the video upload! Surprised my dad two weeks ago in Manila after over 4 years of being apart :)”

The 15-second video clip shows Camille Garcia standing in the living room as Robin Padilla arrived home. The Bonifacio actor could only say “wow” as Camille approached him for a hug after more than four years of not seeing each other in person.


FROM PHILSTAR

Taylor Swift’s 1989 in 2014 SOUNDS FAMILIAR By Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 29, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

1989 was the year when Taylor Swift was born. She is now 25 years old. 1989 is also the title of her latest and first, all pop album. As she has done in the past, she tells stories in it, bits and pieces of her dreams and realizations about life, personal vignettes of how she came to be Taylor Swift. It is nothing profound or earthshaking but it sounds real. More than ever before Taylor’s music resounds with truth and we find ourselves in what she has to say.

1989 is not the perfect album. Taylor can be repetitive at times but it makes for a pleasant listen and she has a way with words that is endearing. It is obvious that at this point in her career that she is aiming more for cohesion rather than stand-out singles. This is the reason why the album comes across as initially unimpressive but grows on the listener with repeated plays.

As always she is at her best with the lyrics as in these from Blank Space. “I’ll leave you breathless or with a nasty scar/ got a long list of ex-lovers/ they’ll tell you I’m insane/ but I’ve got a blank space baby/ I’ll write your name.” Or the simple but meaningful “Say you’ll remember me/ standing in a nice dress/ staring at the sunset, Babe/ Red lips and rosy cheeks/ say you’ll see me again/ even it it’s just in your wildest dreams” from Wildest Dreams.

The songs included are Welcome To New York, which sets the synth heavy music phase of the album; the hook-filled with amazing lyrics Blank Space; Style, short, sweet and very stylish; Shake It Off the infectious and inspiring first single that took 1989 to new heights; the almost torchy Wildest Dreams; You Are In Love, the album’s intense romantic ballad; the danceable New Romantics, plus Out Of The Woods, All You Had To Do Was Stay, I Wish You Would, Bad Blood, How You Get The Girl, This Love, I Know Places, Wonderland and Clean.

Take note though that music is not all that 1989 has to offer. Taylor has created a delightful package filled with goodies that should satisfy her fans. If your budget can stand it, I say buy the Deluxe edition of the album. This costs P850 but it comes with three bonus tracks and that means 16 songs in an album.

Taylor has also included her songwriting voice memos, three studies about songs in progress, I Know Places, I Wish You Would and Blank Space. This should give her followers an idea about how she works. And for the die-hard Taylor fan, there are 13 souvenir picture cards, shot and printed to look like polaroid shots from 1989 with notes in her handwriting. I will not say this is her best but she has truly made this album her most personal ever.

Now for that other 1989, the year when she was born. Twenty-five years after 1989, Taylor notched what is surely her most accomplished year so far. I believe that 2014 is the year when she came into her own as a matured young woman. Red and Speak Now, those albums she created only a few years ago now seem so nondescript in terms of what she has done. Taylor has transcended all that she began. Biggest proof is she was in fact, named Billboard Magazine’s Woman of the Year, one of the youngest music stars to be conferred the much-coveted industry honor.

Then 1989 sold a record 1.287 million copies on its first week in the market last October. She also broke out of country music and emerged a full-blown pop star with the album. Then would you believe that she bravely took on Spotify and withdrew her music from the site, a move that in a way brought spotlight to the battle for better contractual terms for music artists and deals for users with the streaming giant.

On the lighter side, Taylor was a glamorous presence in most industry events and a big seller on magazine covers. She was even in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show where she held her own alongside those towering models. She also made her mark in social media with a huge 15.8 million followers on Instagram. And wonder of wonders, she was not linked to any male celebrity by the tabloids all year.

She has indeed grown up and she has done it remarkably well. Taylor is truly music’s Woman of the Year. I am now so excited to find out what she will do next.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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