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Today we’re introducing the latest addition to the Ninja Pants staff – welcome Theodore Ko, AKA TKO, who will be covering Filipino smooth-stylin’ R&B/Pop sensation Manny Garcia’s Story of My Life.

Manny Garcia, Story of My Life, R&B/Pop 

I should preface this review by saying that I don’t really think too highly of R&B as a musical genre. It’s nice as a change of pace, maybe an R. Kelly song here and there on the ol’ iPod, but I can’t really handle a full album of the stuff. Which makes me the perfect review option for Manny Garcia’s Story of My Life – riiiiiight. It’s not that I dislike R&B, per se. I just don’t feel compelled to listen to a musical genre characterized by the phrase “mood music” in situations where I don’t feel inclined to set that kind of “mood”. I used to bum rides home from a nice young Chinese boy in high school who would leave Usher’s “U Got It Bad” on loop and sing along while angsting about a nice young Chinese girl; that is, to me, R&B at its best.

But enough of me – on to Manny G.

Story of My Life opens with “Here”, an upbeat, funky little number that tries to set the album off with a little sass. It kind of reminded me of the soundtrack to Ridge Racer IV (dork much?). It’s an optimistic way to start, I suppose, and the juxtaposition between this and “This Ain’t A Love Song” (clever guy, Manny. I see what you’re doing there. And this ain’t an album review!) kind of sets the bipolar tone for the first 2/3rds of the album. Where “Here” is perky, “This Ain’t A Love Song” is a solemn, melancholy track that consists of Mr. Garcia awkwardly using the power of his voice to obscure poorly-written full sentences – a reoccurring trend in this album.For example:

English:     

I don’t know what love is. It might be something that makes you feel so alive.

 

Manny Garcia:  

I don’t know what love IIIIIIIS, it might be something that makes ya feeeeheeeeeEEEEEEEEEEL so a ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!!!!

  This proceeds well into the album, courtesy of “Next to You” and “Gone”, with “Take It Slow” and its acoustic as a welcome interlude, and “Who Do You Think You Are” as a return to Manny’s more upbeat side. “As Long As I’m With You” is kind of sweet, I guess, but before you know it we’re into the last three songs – “Stand Up and Shine”,  “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, and “Story Of My Life” – all of which, together, kind of blend into each other like a really long version of “I Believe I Can Fly”. Beware those last few songs – the sappiness is strong in this one.  This kind of review is the trickiest to write because it’s not (it’s not!) a complete pan.

The problem is not Manny’s talent as a musician, because he sounds fairly average for R&B. It’s the variety that suffers – Story Of My Life would have done better as a 4-track EP release, so we wouldn’t have time to get tired of his croon and his piano. Don’t worry, Manny, I’m not turning that dial, you’ll be here for a while – and hopefully you’ll pick up a little more artistic definition.

TKO