Just Like You

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"Welcome to my world and my debut album," are the first words out of this Montreal chanteuse during "Dedicated." It's a promising start that has the rapid singing and rapping à la Destiny's Child and TLC at their height. "Give It 2 Me" is an improvement on the same idea and an obvious first single. Singing since she was nine, it sounds like Chhaya has a voice that avoids theatrics at all costs, especially during the mid-tempo pace of "Imperfect Vision." Unfortunately, though, the major problem with some songs is how unimaginative or rigidly structured they sound. The number of writing credits for most songs is three- and four-deep, which often means a splintered song or a bland version all writers can agree on. "Maybe" highlights Chhaya's vocals, but the arrangement diminishes the effort. "Tired of Being Alone" is another example of poor songwriting, as her pacing varies from line to line, stressing some lyrics while galloping through others. Its saving grace is how radio-friendly it tends to be while resembling Mary J. Blige. "Love Is" is simply lovely because the arrangements and lyrics are fluid. The reggae texture to "If You Were Mine" also gives the album some audible color. Chhaya's duet with Nitty Gritty suits the Oriental sound of "Two Lips." Until gets off to a great start, and the song has that certain intangible quality to it until it drifts for the final two minutes. "Without You," and, particularly, the bass-heavy remix of "Give It 2 Me" are rather forgettable, despite some strong vocals on both. The remix has a Missy Elliott quality to it as well. With a plethora of like-minded divas being created, Chhaya has the potential to make a name for herself. The songwriting needs to improve, though.

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