Not the Same Old Songs

Thalia, Emmanuel and Monica Naranjo bring distinctive new sounds to the contemporary Latino pop scene

By Marco Antonio Velasco
Published on LatinoLA: June 22, 2000

Not the Same Old Songs

The telenovela diva strikes again, and this time she goes beyond Amor a la Mexicana.With Arrasando, Thalia is sure to take the Latin dance scene by storm.
There couldn't have been a better title for Thalia's sixth full-length production, than Arrasando, which literally means to clear the sky or to fill to the brim, and that mis amigos, is exactly what Thalia has accomplished with her latest musical baby. Long behind are the flower power motifs or the femme fatale images, which she exploited mercilessly in her first three albums.
Today, Thalia emerges boldly as an artist, a creator of musical magic, which, with the production spells of Emilio Estefan and her own creative mastery, have given birth to her best album yet. Following the Latin Dance trends hitting dance clubs all over the US and Latin America, Arrasando offers a plethora of percussion-based and electronic beats, juxtaposed in such a manner that she leaves her competitors trailing far behind her. Among some of the hottest dance tracks in the album are the title cut, where Thalia ventures into some rap, Regresa a mi, a cool Euro-dance cut asking to be remixed by Pablo Flores or Victor Calderone, Reencarnacion, and the very cool Latin merengue hip-hop Tumba la casa.
Other notables include the first single Entre el mar y una estrella, which has already been remixed and is playing in dance floors all over the US, Gloria Estefan's cover Suerte en mi and for the noveleros, Rosalinda, the theme song of her latest telenovela with the same name. If you're looking for a soft and relaxing album, Arrasando is not for you. On the other hand, if you're looking for a volcanic, energetic and plain, down hot and sweaty workout, than Thalia will not disappoint you. ?Ay que arrasar!

Monica Naranjo - Minage [Sony Discos]
OK, where should I begin? Monica Naranjo is by far one of Spanish pop's leading ladies and possesses one of the most powerful voices in the Latino music world. Her two previous albums were instant hits all over Latin America and the US, and Minage sold 132,000 copies in Spain alone the day it was released.
In this, her third production, Monica pays homage to one of Europe's most respected and leading virtuosas: Mina, the Italian lioness that has recorded over 100 albums in her career. Minage is a very bold and risky musical proposition, and Naranjo knew this well in advance, but would you expect any less from this fearless pop muse?Of course not!
Monica's Minage takes Latin pop to an entirely new level, something never done before. She combines new sounds, styles, rhythms and techniques, and merges them into one harmonious and eclectic musical cocktail. If Palabra de mujer was the epitome of a dance album, Minage is simply breathtakingly unique. Don't expect any bouncy trendy songs, or hyped-up pop, 'cause you're simply not going to find it here.
Minage is the type of album that will have to grow in you. It might not be for everyone, but if you like the avant garde, than Minage will do wonders for you. Among the notables in the album are the first single Sobrevivire, with a remix bonus, already causing controversy in Mexico and parts of the US for a harsh word used and a homo-erotic video. Also compelling are the English cuts Enamorada, and If You Leave Me Now, the ravishing Abismo, which starts as a smooth ballad and ends up as a trance cut, and last but not least, the highlight and diamond of the album El se encuentra entre tu y yo, a duo with Mina herself. It is the glue that keeps it all together.
Minage is for the bold and out-of-the-box thinkers, so if you're into Barry Manilow, forget it, Monica will drive you to a hypnotic trance you might not be able to come out of.
Emmanuel - Sentirme Vivo [Universal Latino]
He's back, alive and kicking!
Emmanuel is to Latin Americans what Sting is to the English-language music world, or what Miguel Bose is to Spaniards. He's our angelic prince of pop, and then some.
Emmanuel has a career with a foundation that spans over two decades of entertaining international audiences. Better known for hits such as Bella senora, La septima luna, Toda la vida, and the monster classic Todo se derrumbo, Emmanuel finally comes back with an album which is certain to become an instant classic in Latin pop.
Whatever he's done in the past five years, well, it's truly a cloud as far as Im concerned, because with Sentirme vivo, Emmanuel has come back from the dead, and I mean, the ultra tumba dead. The title of the album couldn? be more appropriate, because Emmanuel has completely reinvented himself to keep up with contemporary sounds and styles, without having to resort to funky and ludicrous mediocrity, which would be unbecoming for a man of his stature and age.
Less is more, and Sentirme vivo offers just that: a very well-done, well-thought out, and extremely stylized soft pop album, which offers nothing extravagant but a pure melodic delight to the auditory senses. Produced by the man himself, Emmanuel is a living proof that like wine, a seasoned artist can only improve with age.
The highlights of the album are hard to pinpoint, because the entire album is mesmerizing. The title cut Sentirme vivo, is a romantic soft rock tune, which has always been Emmanuel's trademark, Vida, and Y ahora tu, have sultry and jazzy beats, and for the hopeless romantics he sings Por que no, Me tira el alma al suelo, and Fragilidad, the latter, beautifully written and arranged to hit you right in the heart. By far the stickiest and most danceable song is the Latin-based Corazon de melao, the first single from the album and the first dance mix already hitting the club scene both in the US and abroad. Way to go Emmanuel and welcome back to the land of the living!

About Marco Antonio Velasco:
Marco Antonio Velasco, a recent USC communications grad student, is working towards a career in broadcasting.

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