Former Ratu members face-off
with new releases

Former members of Ratu, Maia and Mulan, were responsible for the pop hit Teman Tapi Mesra, arguably one of 2007's most popular chart-toppers.

Since the purportedly bitter bread up of from Ratu, Maia and Mulan have taken different paths, but their individual efforts are not as strong as their work in Ratu.

Mulan, now known as Mulan Jameela instead of Mulan Kwok, launched a solo career, while Maia recruited new vocalist Mey Chan as her duo partner. Both Mulan and Maia got a little help from their friends for their new releases, which are respectively titled Mulan Jameela and Maia & Friends.

Mulan Jameela

Mulan's first hit single from the album,Makhluk Tuhan Paling Sexy (God's Sexiest Creature), is the only strong tune on either album. In the video, Mulan wears a Middle Eastern belly dancing outfit, a fashion which suits the Middle Eastern influence of the song.

An internet blog expounds on the story regarding the song. An elementary school student fails to get a perfect 10 on his multiple choice religion exam because the word "sexy" is not one of the possible answers to "God's Creature is....". So the kid leaves that question blank. The answer, which has a poetic bang, becomes implanted in his head.

The 10 songs on Mulan's album were produced by Ahmad Dhani. If the collection were a cassette, side A might be considered new songs, while the latter half of the album, side B, could be called recycled songs.

Musnah (Vanished), for example, sounds like a song from Andra and the Backbone. The tune blatantly takes a distorted guitar riff from the Weezer song Buddy Holly. This is a major turn off for those who have heard and loved the original track.

Mulan's cover of Mr.Big's Green Tinted Sixties Mind is infectious. The pop-star, who regularly appears in movie and consumer product advertisements, delivers justice to the U.S. pop-metal icons. There's nothing wrong with covering other artists' songs. Cover versions can always give a new nuances to old, worn out, songs that we used to love.

Maia & Friends

Maia produced her new compilation with a little help from her friends. Maia, who composes her own songs, launched Ingat Kamu (You are on my mind) as her first prospective hit. The tune pales in comparison to Mulan's more provocative approach.

The tune bobs and flows with Mey Chan's catchy chorus, "When I'm about to have dinner, you are on my mind, when I want to go to Bed, you are on my mind". Unfortunately, it's hard to shake off the feeling that this single is not up to the same standard that Maia achieved in her Ratu days.

While it seems that Mey Chan's voice and persona are not that far from Mulan, the effervescent spirit of creative dynamism is missing. The other lead track from Maia, EGP, is also inferior compared to Ingat Kamu.

Gigi sings on the third track on the album called Nakal (Naughty) while Glenn Fredly pitches in on Happy Sunday. Drive, a new band, wrote Bersama Bintang (With the Stars), a ballad that should go well with the pop-rock audience.

The real treat here however is Doo Be Doo from Gita Gutawa and Slow Down Baby by SHE. The simple and unpretentious sound provides ample opportunity for lay people to be entertained on their way to the office.

Those who are looking for more than Makhluk Tuhan Paling Sexy and Ingat Kamu may want to think twice about making an impulsive purchase, as most of the songs on both albums are considerably flimsy.

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