You should know that there is a band not yet being played on L.A. radio whose record went to No. 1 in Spain and No. 1 in Mexico ‘«Ű in both CD and on iTunes formats ‘«Ű during the first week it was released. Oh, and the first single from the record also went No. 1 in Spain and Mexico ‘«™AND in Argentina ‘«™AND in Paraguay.
So, why don't we know about it in L.A., which is the largest Latino market in the United States? Sure, there's a certain "only-those-who-are-in-know-have-heard-it" factor, but on the other hand, it's just crazy for radio to ignore a band that is topping the Spanish and Latin American charts.
Con ganas, I called a couple of Latin-pop music stations to find out why. After a bit of a run-around at each, I found out that the reason they are not playing it is because they don't have the record.
Really? Why not?
"‘«™Because their record company has not given it to us!"
OK, even though the record and single have been No. 1 in Spain, Mexico and other parts of Latin America, nobody thought to ask the label for a copy? No one at the stations could expense $10 to download it?
Well, you can and you should. It's the age of the internet, so you have direct access to the best album to come out of Spain in years: La Oreja de Van Gogh's "Cometas Por el Cielo" (Kites Through the Sky). This record comes with all the flares LOVG fans expect from Xabi San Martin and Pablo Benegas, but it has some terrific surprises that include ?Łlvaro Fuentes providing backing vocals, which adds a new texture, and African percussion styles inspired by Haritz Garde's venture into Africa.
Most obviously, the range and texture of singer Leire Martinez has blossomed and coalesced with the group in a way that reaches new heights while making one wonder how she wasn't in the group all along (and how it is at all possible that she didn't win Spain's X-Factor in 2007).
True to LOVG's style on their first five records, the dramatic and up-beat pop sound often belie the sadness-tinged stories within the lyrics. Nature's beauty is often a theme within the poetry of LOVG's lyrics and, indeed, the music shines bright like the sun while the words seemingly stick to the shadows, as if watching and wondering if love will present another chance.
The first single from the record, "La Ni??a que Llora en Tus Fiestas" (The Girl That Cries at Your Parties"), is a perfect example of this style, with a dance beat thriving across dance clubs throughout the Latin world and lyrics that, well, match the title.
Other songs, such as the inspirational title track, "Cometas Por el Cielo" (Kites Through the Sky"), "Las Noches Que No Mueren" (The Nights That Don't Die), "El Tiempo a Solas" (The Time Alone) and "D?°a Cero" (Day Zero) enter the room gently before commanding it. Other songs announce themselves with drums and wires, like "Mi Calle Es Nueva York" (My Street Is New York) and "Esta Vez No Digas Nada" (This Time Don't Say Anything).
In "Promesas de Primavera" (Promises of Spring), Leire sings, "Por eso no podr?Ūn parar la primavera que est?Ū por llegar, por eso ven a verla a tu ciudad," and we can only hope that they come to Los Angeles this Spring. Until then, we have a wonderful record that fulfills the promise of the talent LOVG showed when they first burst upon the Latin pop scene.
Marco de la Paz:
Marco de la Paz has been a contributing writer to LatinoLA since D?°a Cero.