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Juanes - 'JUANES MTV Unplugged' CD Review

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Photo Courtesy Universal Latino

Juanes - 'JUANES MTV Unplugged'

Photo Courtesy Universal Latino

There are many things that can be said about JUANES MTV Unplugged, the latest album produced by Colombian superstar Juanes. However, the most significant thing about this work is the fact that it divides the career of Juanes in two parts. In fact, JUANES MTV Unplugged gives us a solid hint about the musical path this famous Latin Pop star wants to follow. In the next lines, I will provide you with an overview of this work, which I already consider one of the best Latin music albums of 2012.

Outstanding Music

The first thing to note about this 14-track CD is the amazing quality of all the musicians involved in this project. This is something quite evident from the album's pleasant arrangements and melodies, which were enhanced by the legendary Latin music artist Juan Luis Guerra who acted as the musical director and producer of this work.

Musically speaking, there are just so many good things about JUANES MTV Unplugged. First of all, the brass sessions on this album are fantastic. You can fully appreciate the contribution of the trumpets, saxophone and trombone in different songs such as "Fijate Bien" and "La Señal". I also like quite a lot the nice touch provided by the trumpet mute in different tracks.

The strings are solid as well. To begin with, it is nice to see the ability of Juanes playing his guitar. For instance, there is a nice solo he plays in the middle of the track "Me Enamora". Besides Juanes, there are other very nice string arrangements in the album such as the ukelele featured in the hit songs "La Paga" and "La Camisa Negra".

Finally, we are in front of an album that touches different Latin music genres. Although Juanes is a Latin Pop star, you can listen Cumbia beats in "Me Enamora" just like you can be seduced by the Bolero melody that defines "Para Tu Amor". Because of this, JUANES MTV Unplugged is also an album that I highgly recommend to anyone just venturing into Latin music.

Experimental and Mature Sound

As with many unplugged albums, JUANES MTV Unplugged is a work that includes lots of experimental sounds. In this way, you are going to find a musical mix that includes songs that remain loyal to the original sound and singles that clearly depart from the original versions.

On the one hand, some of the songs that stay closer to the original sound include tracks such as "La Paga," "A Dios Le Pido" and "La Camisa Negra". On the other hand, you can find some of the most experimental stuff in singles such as "Es Por Ti," "Hoy Me Voy" and "Volverte A Ver". In any case, whether the songs stays closer or not to the original sound, every single track on this album incorporates a good amount of musical innovation.

This innovation and the sober tone that define most of the tracks, is a clear indication of the musical evolution that the Colombian star left on JUANES MTV Unplugged. The sound on this production goes far beyond the incorporation of nice arrangements and new instruments. It clearly conveys a more intimate style and an enormous desire to explore new things and move forward.

"Azul Sabina" - The Best Surprise

When you listen to JUANES MTV Unplugged for the first time, you may think you are going through a nice compilation of hits. However, that perception changes dramatically when you arrive to "Azul Sabina," the 10th track on the album featuring the legendary Spanish singer Joaquin Sabina.

To be honest with you, I was blown away when I first listened to this amazing track. I think nobody expected a sound like this coming through this unplugged album. This is the finest song on this CD. A fantastic New Orleans style blues that provides amazing brass sessions and a clever combination of voices by the two singers.

"Azul Sabina" is also a track that opens a huge field for Juanes to explore. This song reflects in a perfect way the desire of the Colombian singer to embrace a new musical path. If this kind of stuff is what Juanes is planning to produce in the future, I am definitely looking forward to the next album.

"La Señal"

Just like "Azul Sabina," this track is one of the three new songs Juanes included in this production. This was also the first single from JUANES MTV Unplugged to hit the market."La Señal" is another outstanding track featuring a solid performance by Juanes, nice percussion and very pleasant violin arrangements.

Besides the music, "La Señal" (The Sign) is the song that better captures the whole meaning behind this album. Juanes has repeatedly said this song encompasses the sign he needed to find in order to keep moving forward. Because of this, this single not only provides good music but also injects this album with the defining soul of it.

'JUANES MTV Unplugged' - Bottom Line

Juanes has met and exceeded the expectations that have surrounded this project from the very beginning. JUANES MTV Unplugged offers an innovative and unique sound where we can see the evolution of one of today's most popular Latin music artists. The fact that some of the best tracks on this album are new songs, is a clear indication of such an evolution.

This album has a decisive classy tone that you can enjoy from beginning to end. If you like music as it is, you are going to enjoy the JUANES MTV Unplugged experience. It is difficult not to embrace a work defined by excellent music and lots of innovation especially in a time where so many famous artists are unable to come up with something new. Juanes has delivered one of the best Latin music albums of the year. Five solid stars.

'JUANES MTV Unplugged' - Best Tracks

Record Label: Universal Latino
Release Date: May 29, 2012
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