SYLVIA RATONEL S/t (Universal)

In a recent interview, Singapore Idol runner-up Ratonel remarked, “I think the Singapore market is slowly growing, and more accepting for local artistes. But you cannot deny that it is a small market.” Arguable, since Singapore’s population is now hitting 5 million and is technically no longer a “small market”. No, it’s not the numbers that is the issue but the anti-local music Singaporean mindset.

Relax, I am not about to maul the young girl of Euro-Filipino heritage – what’s the point? She’s an Idol, not an artist, so this review is going to judge her within that limited context. Based on that very narrow scope, I’d say that it’d give Singapore Idol exactly what they want, if you know what I mean. However, it must be said that it is not quite as strong as Sezari’s album although the dance, hip hop numbers and ballads will please the mainstream set.

Don Richmond’s production is heavy on synthesized sounds with eyes firmly on the dance floor (definitely more so than Sezari’s album – perhaps this is reflective of the producer’s preferences?) Who knows? And when local rapper ShiGGy Shay makes his appearance on the pleasing and punchy version of Fly, the album veers into the whole realm of Singapore hip hop, which is a bizarro reality in itself.

Good enough for its purpose, I suppose, all things considered…

One major gripe though – it’s IMPOSSIBLE to read the liner notes because for some reason it’s silver text printed on gold backgrounds! I mean, seriously, WTF!?!