Vina Morales

Look at Me Now

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In 1996, Philippine female artist Vina Morales released Look at Me Now, her second album. Her first, Easy to Love, was a delightful concoction of upbeat, dance-inflected numbers and engaging middle-of-the-road tunes, all benefiting from Morales' depth-filled performances and versatility.

The latest album copies the formula of the first and tries to make magic once again, but where the first album sounds natural and spontaneous, Look at Me Now seems forced and self-conscious. The problem, however, does not lie with Morales, but with the lackluster material, even on the upbeat tunes. It's probable true that no one could do much with these songs. Once again, Look at Me Now opens on an upbeat, dance-inflected tune, this time a number called, "Sabihin Mo Na" (trans: You Say It). While the chorus is strong, the rest of the song is directionless and vague. Much of the middle-of-the-road material is more sophisticated than before, almost as though Morales is imitating the style of local singer Regine Velasquez, who is known to admire such singers as Barbra Streisand. However, the insipidness of such "sophisticated" material here as "Wait Awhile," "Over and Over," and "Nais Ko" (trans: I Want), among others, does not give Morales much to work with. Her most inspired performance comes on the remake of "(Last Night) I Didn't Get to Sleep at All," which was first popularized by the Fifth Dimension. This song gives Morales something she can really use, and she sounds absolutely relaxed and happy here.