Marie Picasso

The Secret

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Winner of the 2007 season of Sweden's version of Pop Idol (and prior to that a popular contestant on the Swedish edition of Big Brother), Marie Picasso makes her album debut with The Secret, as bland and chart-directed a modern pop record as one could imagine. Picasso is a big-voiced singer in the mold of Celine Dion, and she sings with exactly the same eerily precise diction and near-total lack of human emotion that make Dion's records oddly fascinating. Rather than the adult contemporary leanings of Dion's records, however, The Secret is aiming for more of the Kelly Clarkson or Natasha Bedingfield audience, with occasional flashes of crunchy rock guitars and intimations of hip-hop beats under the up-front vocals, but Picasso has none of the emotional heft of the former or the clever pop suss of the latter. This is most painfully obvious on first single "This Moment," a giant dramatic ballad so much in the style of Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" that a lawsuit could be in order, and the flaccid attempts at winking meta-commentary on the follow-up single, "Winning Streak." Tellingly, that single stalled outside the Top 30 even in Sweden, a likely clue that Marie Picasso may be a contestant on Sweden's version of Survivor by 2010.

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