Alyssa Milano

Locked Inside a Dream

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Actress Alyssa Milano achieved platinum status in Japan five times via her efforts in the pop music world. Her first two sets, 1989's Look in My Heart and Alyssa, are notable for their effective simplicity. They focus on cheery dance-pop melodies and tracks geared for the teenage market. Pony Canyon tried to up the ante on Locked Inside a Dream by enlisting an additional production team with a more "hip" American approach and having Milano sing (and, unfortunately, rap several times) about more mature subjects. While it is admirable that those involved were not content to simply shell out more of the same sounds, the problem is that Milano doesn't have the strength or diversity to make the new formula very enticing -- she struggles through some of the melodies, which come off as recycled versions of concurrent U.S. releases in the idiom. The production duo of Jamey Jaz and Ren Toppano relentlessly copies the style of Oliver Leiber's work for Paula Abdul on messy experiments like "I Want Your Number" and "Your Lips Don't Lie." Particularly on the latter, Milano sounds lost amidst inane sampling and a vexing arrangement. Even the efforts by Tom Milano and Joey Carbone (both of whom worked on the first two discs) are ill-fated. The only exception is the somewhat graceful ballad "Say a Prayer Tonight," which is pleasing in both its melody and Milano's subtlety. Luckily, the follow-up, Do You See Me?, would prove to be something of a return to grace.

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