By: Robyn Barnette
Without an artist like Chayanne, it's difficult to put Latin music into perspective. His two-year absence from the music and entertainment scene clearly attest to that idea. When was the last time we heard of this Puerto Rican entertainer? Let's see...he had a leading role in the popular 1994 Televisa telenovela "Volver a Empezar." Then after that, he simply disappeared from the public eye, never heard from again. Problems with his label Sony Music? His previous album "Influencias" flopped? Or just plain burnout? Try none of the above. Chayanne just wanted to take some time off, make some changes in his professional life, and work on a style of Latin that paralleled the constant changes made to the music. And after his two-year hiatus of making those changes, he returns with his seventh album, titled fittingly enough, "Volver a Nacer." Judging by the careful arrangements in the vocal styling and production on this album, this could be Chayanne's best effort yet.
"Volver A Nacer" is a fruitful, catchy mix of cool ballads and jumpin' dance tunes. Chayanne experiments with a new twist on tropical, club, pop, and R&B sounds on this album, but he's more direct and comes off with a funky style to generate the interest of those who are looking for something out of the ordinary. Case in point, the first track "Solo Traigo Mi Ritmo" is a Latin-influenced dance groove that's spread with guitar-riffs, dope keyboards and Chayanne's sharp vocals. "Solamente Tu Amor" is a sizzling tune that brings forth a radiant aspect of the album. It's romantic, but has a more R&B-influenced sound than a Latin sound. Chayanne displays a more passionate side to his vocals on the album's title track, a heartfelt ballad where the acoustic guitar laces the beauty in his music and strengthens the song's romantic aspect. "Baila Baila" is an energetic dance joint with a thumpin' bass groove, and Chayanne displays a more Salsa-oriented approach to another thumpin' dance joint "Ramito de Flores."
As an entertainer, Chayanne's emphasis is his charisma both on stage and on screen. On "Volver A Nacer" he entices the listener with the translation of his charisma and presents it in a form that shows his full potential as a musician. The production team of Donato Poveda, Hal S. Batt, Estefano, Ronnie Foster, and Steve Roitstein help maintain a good balance between dance, R&B, and Latin. Each song is an exploration of combining R&B and dance with all styles of Latin, from Salsa/Tropical to Rock Español. However, some of the material loses its charm because it sounds less structured and more thrown together. From a vocal standpoint, Chayanne's vocals are more polished than any of his prior material and prevent anyone from writing him off as an imitator of such famous tenors as Ricky Martin, Luis Miguel, or Enrique Iglesias. For the most part, "Volver A Nacer" is his step in the right direction in gaining some respect and recognition for being a Latin artist. It sets personal artistic standards, discards the comparisons to other Latin tenors, and reflects both maturity and confidence. This album certainly represents Chayanne's cherry on the sundae; let's hope the pit doesn't leave a bad taste in his career.
ROBYN'S RATING: 3.5 MICS--DOPE
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