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In The Raw

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Album Review

In 1997, popular Philippine singer Jaya, who is based in the United States, released In the Raw, the follow-up to her massive-selling 1996 Philippine debut album, Jaya, which remarkably went nine times platinum (360,000 units; platinum is 40,000 units sold).

If anything, In the Raw is an even better set than Jaya. Jaya sings throughout In the Raw with indelible self-assurance and relaxed confidence: she sounds like a singer who's had a hit album, and is ready for more.

Where 1996's Jaya was dominated by passionate, easy listening love songs, a style of music quite popular in the Philippines, Jaya tackles a wider variety of music on In the Raw, including more moderately upbeat numbers than before. The album still has many easy listening love songs, and none of the songs are at a sustained fast tempo, but Jaya's approach is certainly more daring this time out.

She adorns, "Magpakailan pa Man" ("Up to the End"), for example, with soulful, Toni Braxton-styled flourishes, and renders the upbeat "Together" with panache and verve. Her assured handling of the delicately nuanced, "Sana'y Mauli Muli" ("Hope It Happens Again"), is a tour de force. In addition, she has the ability to make a relatively minor song sound good, delving into the lyrics and melody and bringing them to full bloom.

Though a variety of producers are used throughout the album, the songs work well together and the album is more cohesive than before. Several songs from In the Raw gained wide airplay, including, "Wala na Bang Pagibig" (Is There No More Love?). It should be noted that Jaya does not write any of her material, but is a superb interpreter.

The album sold quintuple-platinum (200,000 units sold), and cemented Jaya's reputation as one of the most popular and talented singing artists in the Philippines.

In The Raw, Jaya
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