The Local Outsider #32: Peaceful Gemini, Moira dela Torre × Nieman, and D’Sound × Armi Millare

As always, I don’t know how to start this month’s column. I’ve been preoccupied, in case you haven’t noticed it in my entries in the past couple of weeks or so – and then there’s the packed editorial calendar for the last couple of months of the year. So I’ll be upfront and admit, like I always have, that I am writing this the night before publication with no plans – well, a vague idea of who to feature, but not much of an idea of what to expect. And that’s what we all expect from this column, yes? All right, let’s go.

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Review: Malaya by Moira dela Torre

Malaya by Moira dela TorreI like Moira dela Torre. I like her singing. I like her voice. Yes, that was a given considering I have a thing for vocals like hers, but still, I like her voice. I’m happy to see her steadily rise up the ranks. When I first properly heard “Titibo-tibo” while browsing at a store I was genuinely surprised to learn it’s her. Malaya, her first full-length, allows her room to expand and show off what she’s got, after doing all these soundtracks for these vaguely indie rom-coms (although some of those songs appear here). That said, man, this album is a drag. Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Saying that implies it’s Moira’s fault, and “Titibo-tibo” – which shows up at the very end of the record – proves she is capable of being bouncy, a bit frothy, definitely playful, even if that’s your typical whimsical singer-songwriter trope. But to get there we have to go through ballad after overwrought ballad, and while it’s nice at the start (“Langit Lupa”, a duet with Iñigo Pascual, is a highlight – a male voice breaks the monotony) it becomes too much halfway through. Even Moira is straining by then, and her voice shows it. By the time we reach the obligatory covers – Imago’s “Sundo” and Moonstar 88’s “Torete”, songs so iconic any cover will never compare – I am, well, furious. The producers have severely hobbled her, done her absolutely no favors. Moira deserves better. What a waste. [NB]2/5

“Have I ever told you how much I want you?”

“I’ll Be There” by Moira dela Torre | The whole “who sang that McDonald’s jingle” thing led a commenter, Melit, to refer me to Moira dela Torre. It’s not her, by the way… to an extent. She did sing a McDo jingle. She did sing “hooray for today”. But it was for the previous year’s campaign. But you might know her more for joining the blind auditions on the first season of The Voice of the Philippines. I haven’t seen the show a lot, but I watched one of the early episodes – I was on holiday in Batangas – and remembering Moira there. I mean, I remember talk of a jingle singer joining. I remember liking it. But that was the episode that gave us Mitoy Yonting, whose theatrical style gave him the final victory. Now she still does covers on YouTube – she just posted this a few days ago! – and maybe you’ll still hear her on those ads. Hopefully an album, lovingly made, is next. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)