Review Summary: Jennifer Lopez makes a full length spanish language album and forgets to bring the flavor of the language itself. Tepid and dull and lacking any sort of spice this is one of the years most disappointing albums thus far.
Language. It plays a big part in song. Sometimes we use phrases like "musical language" to describe a style or sound, whether exotic or common. But when listening to music with vocals sung
in a spoken language we understand we seldom consider language at all. Its the lyrics we listen to, vocal inflections, the emotion in the delivery. We try to discover meaning in the music through words.
So when listening to Jennifer Lopez's first all spanish language LP "Como Ama Uma Mujer" that was taken from me. You see although of hispanic heritage I understand not a lick of the spanish language or anything else remotely latin. Under these circumstances the voice becomes not something I look to for meaning or understanding, but rather it becomes something that is pure instrument, similar to listening to an operatic performer singing in Italian. Jen could be singing about cheeseburgers and washing dishes and it wouldn't matter. And this as it turns out is a good thing for someone unfamiliar with her native tongue as it helps make this lackluster recording bearable when its good, as you can just sit back and listen without having to worry about how cheesy the lyrics might or might not be. But chances are you aren't missing anything for lack of understanding, as if the lyrics are as dull, listless, and contrived as the music and performances you might even be better off deaf.
I approached this album with excitement, expecting the talented singer and dancer to go to her latin roots for some hot salsa numbers, cumbia's, some latin jazz/hip hop style hybrids, and pretty much hot rump shaking latin sounds worthy of a night spent on the dance floor. And while I understand Jen is Peurto Rican and not all latin music is the same, it would be nice to get something
resembling authentic latin anything
rather then this commercially driven, lite on spice collection of duds.
The best comes first as Jen kicks things off with the latin rock of "Que Hiciste" where Lopez drives the funky music forward and shows good conviction and steadiness of voice. But problems start on the the very next track as "Me Haces Falta" falls flat from the start with a thin generic rock riff that drones for the entire song and a lazy vocal turned in by Lopez, while the title track comes along next and nearly lulls you into a bored stupor with its orchestral pretensions and a melodic chorus which comes too close to the old Kenny Rogers MOR hit "She Believes In Me".
Other then the opening track the sole other highlight of the album is the spirited cumbia flavored "Te Voy A Querer", and while its nothing special it at least has some heat to it and makes you take notice. As for the rest, it is typical commercial pop/pop rock dreck disguised as something exotic and different for the fact Ms Lopez is singing in something latin and nothing more. Its almost novel that she is, as what most of these songs sound like are mediocre english language pop ballads given a twist of latin here and there and translated into spanish. Which is a shame and I wish there was more to say about this album, but to say that each song is much like the next and Lopez's "instrument" does nothing to enhance or make matters interesting is really quite enough. Jennifer, while a competent singer, does nothing new in her native tongue other then make us happy we can't understand her and pray the song finishes in a quick hurry. Furthermore on some of the more overblown tracks it seems she tries to go about convincing us she has actual vocal chops rather then the thin alto she has always possessed, overreaching and overplaying her hand at shooting for the Diva mark and missing by a Puerto Rican mile.
Its not often I consider an album and think what could have been? Especially when an album can usually be judged as good, bad, mediocre or otherwise and not given a second thought. But given J-Lo's "getting back to roots" attitude for this album you would think that meant musical roots as well. Music of the people, reflecting culture and soul and a way of life and living. The latin people in general are a spirited, colorful lot which fly under many flags, cover many races, and come from many diverse and interesting countries. For Jennifer Lopez's first spanish language album one would think she would embrace and reflect that in a more serious and heartfelt manner. But instead what we get is listless by the numbers "latin rock", dull, sleepy ballads, and overblown Diva numbers I wouldn't wish on Whitney Houston. All sung in a "look at me I can sing english lyrics in spanish" sort of way and seemingly wanting us to think the novelty of that is enough to make anyone want to listen to this pap, multilingual or not. Viva la Raza
? Umm, better luck next time....