Ara Mina

Ara Mina

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In 1999, Philippine female singer Ara Mina released her self-titled debut album. Mina was a popular movie actress at the time, rising to fame mostly on the basis of her well-developed figure. The album sold well, reaching at least gold status (gold is 20,000 units in the Philippines), but Mina has little ability as a singer. Her voice lacks depth or charm, and she sings offkey all too often, sometimes laughably so, as heard in the painful opening notes to "Ay, Ay, Ay Pag-ibig" ("Ay, Ay, Ay Love") and "We Were Meant to Be." Ara Mina is dominated by slow, easy-listening love songs, a style of music popular in the Philippines, but which quickly becomes tedious for a listener desiring a more diverse sound.

Mina's voice sounds better on some songs than on others, and one of her better vocal performances comes on "Pag-ibig Ko'y Ikaw" ("You're My Love"). That said, the skilled backing vocals heard in that song unintentionally highlight the inadequacy of Mina's voice.

She also sounds passable on "Sino Ba Talaga?" ("Who Really Is It?"), where, toward the end of the song, she opens up and cuts loose, and makes a near-creditable singing bid. Perhaps the album's best song is the upbeat "Asa Ka Pa," a rollicking ditty which sounds almost like American country music. The song features an adventurous spirit sorely lacking in the album, and Mina's vocal performance, while not skilled, is lively. Mostly though, Ara Mina is an album that had no right to made, let alone heard.