Maria Gadú's brilliant first album appeared in 2009, and from then on, things have been moving fast for the next great hope of MPB (Brazilian Popular Music). Indeed, some may even say too fast for her own good: with only one studio album to her name, Gadú released not one but two live albums (albeit one with the great Caetano Veloso), in which she could do little but rehash her -- admittedly terrific -- small stock of songs from her debut. The risk of overexposure was patent. The only way to rectify matters was with a proper second album, which finally materialized in late 2011. Mais Uma Página recaps Gadú's situation on its first song, which wastes no time in stating "Singing, my life is always in motion, but without being more of the same, I'm still who I was." The problem is, at only 24, Gadú doesn't exactly know who she is as an artist. In many ways, Mais Uma Página is a textbook case of the sophomore album dilemma. Gadú sounds more assured, also courtesy of fuller arrangements and more upscale production by Rodrigo Vidal, but this new batch of songs is no match for the many instant classics included on her debut. Furthermore, there is a conscious attempt to set her on many different paths at once, in order to diversify her appeal and garner international stardom. The first four tracks give little hints of this, as they include three new Gadú originals, among these two of the album's highlights: the brief but all-too-beautiful "Estranho Natural" and "Anjo de Guarda Noturno," the song that most closely approaches the magic of her debut -- curiously, not written by Gadú, but by Miltinho Edilberto. Aside from these two tracks, Mais Uma Página starts to unravel a little, as it makes room to accommodate two songs in English written with Norah Jones' collaborator Jesse Harris, one in Spanish (presumably a translation from the Portuguese, as the song was written by Brazilians Cassiano Correa and Maycon Ananias), a wink to Caetano Veloso with the inclusion of "Oração ao Tempo," duets with both Lenine and Portuguese fado singer Marco Rodrigues, and a much higher ratio of covers vs. original material. Some songs are better than others; none either amaze or fall flat. All in all, it is plain to see that Gadú remains a wonderfully gifted singer and songwriter who only needs a little more focus -- and probably a little more time, as well. As a consequence, Mais Uma Página is a good album, but one that merely confirms a promise rather than surpassing it.
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