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Secrets Review

by David Gonzales

In 1999, female Philippine singer Viktoria released Secrets, a fine outing distinguished by an adventurous spirit and excellent production values. Much of the credit goes to the singer herself, who, aside from purveying her talents as a singer, also composed the material and produced the album. Her voice isn't the greatest of vehicles, as it sometimes lacks depth, but she uses it to her best advantage and comes off sounding better than others with more technically-skilled singing voices. This reminds one of Madonna, who's had a fabulous, trendsetting career despite possessing what many critics perceive as a less-than-powerful singing voice. The opening "Puede Ba" is upbeat and Latin in tone; perhaps it is a nod to the worldwide popularity of Latin music which occurred in 1999. Viktoria begins by singing in a whispery manner, gradually opening up to a more forceful delivery. Several songs, including "Sexy Boy," "Deeper," and "I Do," focus on a dance backbeat and contain electronic, techno-styled flourishes as well. One of the album's best songs, the Viktoria-composed and arranged "Padaplis" features, of all things, an ambience of American country music, offering an approximation of a steel pedal guitar. The tender, slow-paced "Padaplis" also has an immediately likable melody and chorus, sung with passion and grace by Viktoria. On Secrets, Viktoria presents herself as more than just a pretty face and voice, and displays many admirable talents in the areas of songwriting and arranging. The high-quality production values also speak well of her abilities as a producer.