In 1998, female vocal group Pinay released their debut album Inevitable. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, the band is comprised of four females of Philippine descent. Their name, Pinay, means "Filipino woman" (Filipina) in Tagalog, the Philippines' national language.
The group's sound is steeped in soul and rhythm & blues, and distinguished by elegant, soulful harmonies. Though some hip-hop elements are utilized in several songs, such as a bass-heavy, syncopated backbeat, Pinay's sound is rooted in melodic R&B. The four weave an elegant vocal/harmonic tapestry in "That's How I Show You Love," which is built around a catchy hook in the chorus (the hook is also played instrumentally elsewhere, reinforcing its significance). The instrumentation includes 1970s-style wah-wah guitar perched atop a shuffling, mixed-meter backbeat laid down by drums and bass. The crackle of wah-wah guitar is also heard in "Why Do Fools," a piece which also uses a string section recalling the vibe of Isaac Hayes' 1970s hit "Theme from Shaft." "Is It Real" is a tuneful song set amid an upbeat, hip-hop ambience. Its single version reached #41 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music-Maxi Singles Sales chart. (Inevitable includes an album version).
Throughout Inevitable, the voices of Pinay come across as strong, finely honed, and well-suited to R&B. They sing a striking a cappella rendition of the Philippine evergreen "Dahil Sa Iyo" (trans: Because of You). Despite all of this, however, the album could benefit in some areas from catchier melodies and perhaps a lighter, more fun approach on some songs.