ROBYN'S REVIEW:

By: Robyn Barnette




PERFORMER: FEY
ALBUM TITLE: FEY

In an age where la musica Latina is going through a renaissance, exploding in popularity and reaching out to audiences of all races (not just those within the Hispanic realm), the music has seen a significant influx of new talent. Among the music's fresh new faces are acts like Millie, Chikko, Esmi Talamentez, and Jennifer Peña y Los Jetz, who have basked in the Latin renaissance glory by releasing albums that have launched successful music careers. But these new artists know they have to manage their success carefully, especially at their ages, for they are prone to mistakes. And one false move--like a song that was deemed "last weak"--and their musical fame leaves a bad taste in their mouths like Lite beer, delineating their fame by the beer's most infamous catch -phrase, "It's it and that's that." Hoping to add to the explosion of the Latin music renaissance without becoming susceptible to the dangers lying within its obscure territory is Fey, the latest face to join this bumrush of new talent.

Fey's self-titled debut from SDI (Sony Discos Inc.) is a fourteen-track fun-filled mix of Mexican pop/dance tunes that you can groove to, from slumber parties to the streets of Monterrey, to dance clubs throughout Mexico and beyond. The material on this album is well-balanced, with Fey's glistening vocals layered over funky techno grooves and cool "hip-hop-lollipop" pop melodies. However, it's so weighted with synthesized keyboard licks that there's hardly anything Mexican on the album except Fey's Spanish lyrics. On the album's opening track, "Bombòn," Fey manages to parallel her vocals to a dance party-style joint while dropping verbal silliness: "Pam-pata pam / Como truenos de tam-tam / nuestros pechos estan / sincronizados pom-pam / je t'aime bombòn." Another lively tune is "Gatos en el Balcòn," which pulls out of the deluge of church bells in the beginning and delivers a catchy "hip-pop-and-ya-don't-stop" groove. On "Tirando a Matar," the focus is on an energetic techno-rave rhythm implicative of a 2 Unlimited track. She demonstrates it again with a more slammin' approach on "La Noche se Mueve," working the rhythm to an underground "bubbly-fun" sound ornamented with phlava-phat rap scratches (don't be surprised if you hear this track at a Monterrey nightclub). The energy takes a back seat on the ballad "Como Pan y Chocolate," where Fey displays a passionate vocal agility flowing along a heavenly sugar-flavored melody.

Fey carries an attitude in her music similar to that of Jennifer Peña, only more grown-up and seasoned with spunky charm throughout. She also carries an attitude in her music similar to that of Thalia, giving more emphasis on pop appeal and less on "cumbias" and Tropical sounds. From a vocal perspective, she doesn't convince the listener she's a sex-kitten like Thalia or a serious vocalist like Jennifer. She concentrates on a style that's more her--mature and fun, while exhibiting plenty of bubbliness, energy, and harmony. With its solid production and Real McCoy-influenced feel, the material on Fey's debut reflects that style. It evokes comparisions to that of American pop-artist Jennifer Love Hewitt, and at times she sounds like a Latin version of Jennifer Love Hewitt--or in Selena terms, the "Latina Love Hewitt." (?) Other times, however, she's nowhere near that distinction.

No doubt, Fey has created something delightful for the ear and crosses over--well, somehow--into the American mainstream. But disrespect aside, she doesn't add more dynamite to the Latin music explosion. It isn't anything we haven't heard or seen (at least it sounds like it isn't), but it is her attempt to make the music more charismatic, not to mention more--what's the word?--fun. Still, Fey does show much promise, and her album packs plenty of flavors to create a decent enough debut effort that will not disappoint. But you wonder if there's room for any more new talent in this renaissance of Latin music.


ROBYN'S RATING: 3 MICS--GOOD, WORTH CHECKING OUT

ALBUM DETAILS:
Performer: Fey Musical Category: World/International--MEXICAN
Album Title: Fey Producer(s): José Ramòn Florez, Peter Felisatti
Record Company: Sony Discos Inc. Engineer(s): Vicent Gomez, Alberto Pinto, et al.
Distributor: N/A Studio/Live: Studio
UPC: 3726816022 Stereo/Mono: Stereo
Release Year: 1995 Guest Artists: None
Album Length: 57:20 Availability: CD/Cassette


DATE OF REVIEW: June 24, 1996

Currently, this album is only available through Ritmo Y Mas and other record stores in south Texas and Mexico. It will be available to other mail-order companies and record stores in the United States beginning September, 1996.