When the smash pairing of Tom Rodriguez and Dennis Trillo broke primetime TV convention to steal the hearts of millions of Filipinos, history was rewritten. Not only did this unlikely twosome made their characters Eric and Vincent one of the most adored couples on national TV, their welcome arrival on the scene comes at a time when the hotly contested issue of gay marriage continues to rage on. The My Husband’s Lover tandem confronted stereotypes to open up the overlooked idea that love is universal in whatever form it takes. And it manifests even on their new record, TomDen.
Crafted with the intent to tell Eric and Vincent’s story in a format that is just as authentic on the screen, the duo exhibits a generous helping of romance through tender tunes under the guidance of seasoned producers and songwriters.
Opening track “One More Try” sets the tone throughout the album. It shows the duo’s resolve underneath the delicate ballad, harmonizing and intertwining their warm vocals to complement the lovely musical arrangement.
More than just a straightforward record, TomDen feels like Eric and Vincent’s storyline, trading love song after emotional love song. The plot is bright and clear with the musical trimmings taking a backseat to emphasize chapters of a love story taken from the pair’s individual perspectives.
Immediately after the initial duet, Tom and Dennis exchange emotionally honest songs that appear to be meant for each other if taken from the My Husband’s Lover context. “Ikaw Ang Sagot” finds Tom displaying an underlying ability to be a promising singer. His distinctive range shows restraint without getting overwhelmed by the striking musical accompaniment. Dennis, meanwhile, holds his own on the equally romantic “Kailan Man” where he allows himself to be vulnerable without sounding soft: “Kailan man, ikaw ang iibigin ko/kailan man sa ’yo ay di magbabago,” he croons with his cool-as-ice vocals.
Most of the tunes share a classic ballad arrangement, but they are infectious enough and dripping with sugary ode to love to engage even the straightest of men. “Photograph” signals a change in direction of the lyrical themes. Its sparkling guitar and piano combo belies the ballad’s allusion to a lost love filtered convincingly through Tom’s beautifully restrained vocals.
Following in a similar vein is “It’s Over Now”, one classic effort with a choral background and a plaintive Dennis belting about heartbreak and coming to terms with the reality of a love that has since burned out. Much like the effective actor he is, Dennis seems to emote more when pushed to his boundaries—evident by the high notes he hits. One of his best moments on the album.
While the songs’ arrangements throughout the record appear to be cut from the same cloth, they make up for it with emotionally direct and rich themes. “Hey It’s Me” and “Stay” are both engrossing, merging lyrics about chance encounters and crossing paths with fantastic adlibs and memorable hooks.
Clearly, the finest tracks are the duets but in the closing number “Forever” written by Louie Ocampo and Martin Nievera, Tom and Dennis are at their most ambitious. Delivering a confident performance, the duo play up the bright melodies and enigmatic chorus with spirited voices that sound even better when they feed off each other’s lines.
It’s a satisfying finale to a tale of two men out for a happy ending. This collection of ballads feels genuine, focusing on matters of the heart to take listeners on Eric and Vincent’s journey. But at the same time, constructing Tom and Dennis’ identities as promising singers in their own right.
Just a day after TomDen the album was made available on digital format, it debuted at the 9th slot on iTunes Philippines’ Top Albums chart, based on full album downloads. The following day, it already topped the chart!
TomDen, the album, is now available on CDs nationwide thru Astroplus, Astro Vision, Odyssey Music and Video, The Landmark and SM Music and Video outlets. It is also available on digital format worldwide thru iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and OPM2GO. Ringback tones will soon be available. Standby for further announcements through GMA Records’ Facebook account.