AUDIO JUNKIE: Martin Nievera, Janine Teñoso & Adie drop uplifting new songs

Upper row (from left): Martin Nievera, Janine Tenoso; Adie and Janine Berdin, 'Mahika.' Second row (from left) single art Mikee Misalucha, 'Gabay;' single art Claudia Barretto, and Batasan single art.

Pinoy pop marquee names, established and new, lead this week’s pop singles lineup.

One of the most successful balladeers in Pinoy pop Martin Nievera returns with his first original ballad since returning to his original music label Vicor with a timely new song titled “Smile Again.”  

To keep himself sane during the height of the pandemic, Martin Nievera shared that he enumerated the things that bring him joy—his kids, family, loved ones and his pet pugs! This was the impetus to his just released new single. This coupled with the desire of having a song akin to Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” is what drove Martin to write the lyrics for the piano-driven music that long-time collaborator Homer Flores gave Nievera. According to the “Be My Lady” singer, everything came together quickly and what came out is this positive-vibed ballad. Rather than worry, Martin wants to uplift. Makes a lot of sense to us.

It’s somewhat the same with Janine Teñoso. After her fan-fave album “Mga Kwento Sa Silid” and the hit single “Pelikula”,  Teñoso returns with a new single, “Laro.” And it’s all about ‘kilig’ feels for Janine, who sings about the innuendos at the start of a courtship. And Janine singing “ano kayang pumapagitan sa ating dalawa?” is all the proof we need that love makes the world go ‘round. But of course, Janine says it better in this mid-tempo song that recalls her “’Di Na Muli” hit days.

Claudia returns with a club ready bop titled “Trigger.” This vibe-induced, head-bobbing single is the first single for Claudia after her collaboration track “Everything.” Claudia is currently in her ambient, lo-fi R&B phase, and each release establishes Claudia as a tastemaker for the genre. Over the course of a handful of singles, Claudia adds to her mystique, and ‘cool club chick on an atmospheric vamp’ adds to her persona as the musically inclined Barretto.

Hit solo music act Adie of “Paraluman” and “Tahanan” fame drops a tuneful mew number in the acoustic guitar driven and piano decked “Mahika.” Janine Berdin is also featured in this playful and unpredictably shifting song “inspired by the feeling people have when they get butterflies the first time one encounters moments that seem magical.” The song’s floating-in-air quality is there not only because of its theme, but of the quality of Adie’s buoyant vocal. And props to the one who thought of having Adie’s vocals rub with Janine Berdin’s voice because it works.

Music creative Mikee Misalucha shows off her versatility on latest single titled “Gabay.”  If it's not R&B inflected ballads, upbeat bops and moody atmospherics, Mikee is crafting songs like this rising inspirational. Mikee said she wrote to “dedicate to God,” and “describes my relationship with Him and how he guides me all throughout my life regardless of my imperfections and weaknesses.” The result is this uplifting new song that rises as it inspires. Written at the height of the pandemic, Mikee Misalucha’s “Gabay” is not only thematically calming, hopeful and sentimental but stylistically varied with elements of pop, ballad, electronic and worship.

Xbatasan makes it an old school rap affair with this sing and rap original titled “Halikana.”  This rhyming crew includes Cyresse Convocar, Efren Diesta, Rhod Arbie Aban, Raymart Sadang, Gilbert Canales, Rex Aeron Restum and Jomar Cabaña. They’re off to a good start with the hook and verse styled number about having dreams and striving for it to the best of one’s capability. Listening to it is even better.