In 2001, Philippine singer Maricel released Maricel. The album contains mostly passionate, easy listening love songs, a style of music quite popular in the Philippines. While most songs here are slow, there are also some spirited numbers, which gives the album some diversity. In addition, most songs on the album avoid sounding derivative despite the fact that the album doesn't stray much from the Philippine easy listening formula. "Ang Sarap-sarap ng Ginawa Mo" (What You Did Really Feels Good), which received much radio airplay, features spirit and a catchy melody, and Maricel sings it with enthusiasm and professionalism. Maricel possesses an excellent voice and has depth, and easily reaches all the notes here. Unfortunately, a significant amount of Philippine female singing artists have weak voices and sing off-key -- females in the Philippines often get record contracts on the basis of their good looks and popularity. While Maricel is cute, it's obvious she got her contract based on her ability to sing. "Tayong Muli" (Together Again), "Sayang at Sinayang Mo" (You Wasted It), and "Higit Sa Lahat...Mahal Kita" (Most of All...I Love You) are representative of the fine quality of Philippine-style love songs on this album. It's even possible that international listeners might find "Tayong Muli" an attractive song. One of the best and most surprising numbers is "Ikaw Pa Rin Yata" (I Think It's Still You), which features a modern, dance-inflected sound. Maricel smoothly handles this upbeat, adventurous number. This easy listening album is better than most, and Maricel is someone to watch for in the future.
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AllMusic Review by David Gonzales