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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dancing to Juanes' pain
October 23, 2007 Washington Times
Alfredo Flores
Juanes La Vida ... Es un Ratico
Universal Music Latino

Juanes has a lot going for him. He's one of the few Latin pop stars to achieve crossover status without singing in English. He has won 12 Latin Grammys; he was named one of People en Espanol's 10 Sexiest Men in Hispanic entertainment; his two previous albums went platinum; and he has two beautiful children with his model wife, Karen Martinez. Underneath the fame and adulation of millions in his native Colombia and around the world, there was a heavily publicized breakup with Miss Martinez earlier this year. However, Juanes is an eternal optimist, especially after receiving sage advice from his 78-year-old-mother that life's too short to waste time worrying about problems you cannot solve. In his fourth studio album, released today in 77 countries, "La Vida ... Es un Ratico" ("Life ... Is a Brief Moment"), Juanes, 35, sings about his troubles — not negatively, but in a way in which you can dance away the pain. This is most evident in the smash worldwide hit (No. 1 in 14 countries) "Me Enamora," a song about love, redemption and reconciliation with an upbeat acoustic guitar beat, electric guitar riffs and heavy background percussion. Juanes beautifully delivers an ode to his wife in Spanish with, "I don't know if I deserve you/I just know I still want you to give light to my life in the future days." "Clase de Amor" features beautifully melodic background humming and danceable electric guitar riffs in a song about scorned love that caused him pain. Other love songs include "La Vida ... Es Un Ratico" and "Gotas de Agua Dulce" (both focusing on looking ahead) and "La Mejor Parte de Mi," about remaining best friends with his wife. Juanes — a contraction of his given name, Juan Esteban — has always blended his pop rock with guasca, cumbia and other musical styles found in his native country. He does it again here with heavy accordion sounds in the vallenato and Colombian folk-music-infused "Tres" — which will give his fans flashbacks to the popular "La Camisa Negra" on his previous album. Juanes continues his previous efforts to help Colombian land-mine victims in "Banderas de Manos," a German and Spanish duet with German rock star Campino of the punk band Die Toten Hosen, and the barcarolle-rhythms-filled "Minas Piedras" with Argentine rocker Andres Calamaro.

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