Mariella's self-titled album, released in 2001 on local independent Harmony Records, is dominated by easy-listening love songs, a style of music quite popular in the Philippines, but posing little challenge to either artist or listener. Mariella possesses an above average voice, but needs some development in her poise and delivery. Yet, she has potential, and, given the right song, could become a star in her homeland. However, this album doesn't have the right song. Most of the easy listening tunes are forgettable, and they also tend to sound alike, a problem that plagues many albums of this style. Eight of the album's ten songs were composed by Vehnee Saturno, one of the country's most well-known and prolific songwriters. However, he seems to be rewriting his catalogue here, as many songs seem cut from the same mold. One interesting Vehnee Saturno composition, though, is "Laging Ikaw Pa Rin" ("Still Always You"), a spirited tune that contains a better-than-average chorus. Another interesting song is "Ikaw At Ikaw Na Lang" ("You and Only You"), an upbeat, snazzy number written by Freddie Saturno. The chorus to the easy listening "Madama Mo Sana" ("I Hope You Feel") is nice, but sounds derivative. One of the album's better love songs, "Kakaba-Kaba" ("My Heart Is Pounding"), sounds like a composite of other love songs recorded earlier. Still, Mariella does her best and soars on "Ikaw Lang" ("Only You"), and emotes much passion on "Kakaba-Kaba." She treads close to being off-key on parts of "Madama" and others, and sometimes displays a lack of poise. Despite this, she has potential that can be developed.
AllMusic Review by David Gonzales