By: Wesley Reno, Entertainment Writer
Natalia Lafourcade is a Mexican pop idol, and has been for the majority of the 21st Century. Since the release of her self-titled debut in 2003, she has adapted with the changing artistic climate in the Latin rock community. Her debut project is filled with stereotypical, turn-of-the-century Latin pop tropes that don’t seem to resonate well with changing times. As her career developed, however, she built on her Latin pop roots; this process culminated in her winning a Grammy in 2016 for her album Hasta la Raíz. In May of 2017, she released a trend-breaking record, Musas, which draws heavily from traditional Mexican folk music.
The first two tracks on the album make it clear that this project will be a divergence from her traditional style, and they show characteristics of classic Latin folk rock. “Tú Sí Sabes Quererme” is a passionate, somber tune that delivers intense themes of love, lust, and passion. Despite the fact that I don’t speak Spanish very fluently, I feel exactly what Natalia Lafourcade is trying to convey in this song. The incredible musicianship that she and her band, Los Macorinos, display delivers a performance that captivates and immerses the listener in her perfectly crafted love story.
The second track, “Soledad y el Mar,” is a mellow, dinner-time track that engulfs the listener in a world of relaxation and happy feelings. As the song progresses, tension is built and released by resetting this buildup after prolonged pauses. The band is incredibly in tune, and Natalia’s vocals perfectly complement the moods of this composition. It is impossible for me to not be content when listening to this song, and it’s become means of cheering myself up on days that are less than ideal.
The tracks that follow the first two are all outstanding, but aren’t as impressionable. “Mi Tierra Veracruzana” is a joyous tune about Natalia’s homeland. “Son Amores (That’s Amore)” is a modern, Mexican rendition of the classic love song in which Natalia shows her personality and musicality. “Tú Me Acostumbraste” is a powerful, emotional duet with Omara Portuondo that shows immensely deep romance.
The only track that I don’t really enjoy is “Te Vi Pasar.” This song features playful vocals that seem like they belong in a theatrical production. While a lot of the album has the same theatrical vibe, this song is the most show-tune-like, and it feels out of place in the project. There is also some annoying use of vocal effects on this song, which culminates in me skipping this one whenever I listen to the album.
Without a doubt, this album is an incredible work of art. It brings so many classic characteristics of traditional Mexican string music to a modern setting, and delivers some amazing performances from extraordinarily talented musicians. I would recommend Musas to any music fan.