Album Review: Love Zone – Isabelle de Leon

An award-winning child actress, Isabella or Isabelle de Leon became known to the public via her portrayal of Duday, one of Vic Sotto’s daughters in the GMA7 sitcom “Daddy Di Do Du.” She also appeared in many movies alongside top-caliber actors and actresses, but her portrayal of a child with cerebral palsy in the film “Magnifico” earned her the FAMAS award for Best Child Actress.

After years of rest from the showbiz limelight, the former child actress is back not only to act but to make a name in the music industry. Her passport is her debut album entitled “Love Zone.” It contains six tracks, all of which were composed and written by her.

People not familiar with her face and age will probably assume she’s a middle-aged woman entering the Pinoy pop-rock scene. She has that mature and “old school” type of voice comparable to DJ Alvaro or Lou Bonnevie, especially noticeable in her first track “Feelingero.” The song has that pop-rock novelty vibe which appeals well to the “masa” audience. These types of songs are the ones that will definitely hit the airwaves of the “masa radio stations” because the lyrics are simple and has that easy recall factor. The second track “1 Week to Move On,” features drum beats similar to that of Imago’s style, but it still didn’t shy away from the DJ Alvaro/Lou Bonnevie feel, same with the last track “Friend Zone.” Among the tracks included the album, these two tracks and the last (“Friend Zone”) share the same theme and story – heartbreak and unrequitted Love. They also share the same mainstream pop-rock sound that come with simple lyrics and catchy melodies that can easily attract the “masa” audience.

In the third track, “Alice in Wonders”, she made a great effort in changing the mood. Among the six tracks, this has the most poetic lyrics. The mellow intro of bass guitar matched with smooth mellow vocals is perfect. If she’s gearing towards the “tugtugan” of Imago, General Luna or Cathy Go, this kind of track could be her key, not too much of a hard sell.

“Pag-ibig Ko’y Sa’yo” offers yet another sound. The intro ventures into the ethnic tribal sound reminiscent of the sounds of Bayang Barrios and Lolita Carbon. Towards the middle it transitioned again to the pop sound. This may somehow confuse the listener as to what sound she really wanted to showcase.

“Sa Yakap Mo” probably has the most commercial sound in the album. The acoustic sound sits well with the mellow ballad listeners. Although there are still portions in the song where she tends to sound old school, she manages to pull off a fresher feel with her mellow rendition. This song sounds close to Yeng’s “Salamat” and “Hawak Kamay.”

For a maiden project, her debut album is still worthy of a listen. While the lyrics may lack some depth, it’s worth to give her a chance, because definitely the talent is there. The album may have offered different tracks of different styles; at least she was able to showcase her variety in creating music. And that is a good starting point for her future albums and songs.