Various Artists

MTV Fabulous Divas [MTV Southeast Asia]

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In 2000, Philippine independent label Viva Records collaborated with MTV Southeast Asia to release MTV Fabulous Divas. All artists are Philippine female singers signed to Viva Records. The album is so titled because Viva Records is said to have many "divas" on its roster. The album features 11 female singers and one female singing trio. Four of the album's 14 tracks are new recordings, while the other ten tracks were culled from the artists' latest album releases. MTV Fabulous Divas features mostly easy listening and middle-of-the-road tunes.

Regine Velasquez, whom many consider Viva Records' most stellar performer, starts the album with a new song, "It Doesn't Get Better Than This." Instead of the simple melody performed so often in the Philippines, this song is a modern-sounding, MOR tune and Velasquez's performance is appropriately breezy and confident.

Another new song, "Stop Before You Break My Heart," has an irresistible early-'60s Leslie Gore ambience to it. It is performed by Judy Ann Santos, known more for acting than singing. However, she stays within a comfortable range and renders a respectable performance. This and the strength of the songwriting makes the song one of the album's most enjoyable.

The best song, however, is "Ilang," performed by Maxine. The song, which was previously recorded, features a sensuous, soulful performance by Maxine heard over an imaginative, hip-hop-styled arrangement. The song is stunning. MTV Fabulous Divas was conscientiously compiled, and the album is cohesive and enjoyable.

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