Sunday, October 30, 2005

Madonna, Shakira... Andrea Echeverri?

November will bring a new album from Madonna, who is seeking to regain some of her lost dance music status with "Confessions on a Dance Floor." The new single "Hung Up" is catchy, thanks to a prominent sample from ABBA's "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight)" and the video, which seemed a little underwhelming at first sight, grows on you with it's retro look and the "Flashdance" vs. "Ray of Light"-like dance floor sequences. Catch the video, the song and the remixes here while the lawyers get to and ban them from the site (the video is also here).

November also brings Vol. 2 of Shakira's two-album experiment in world domination begun earlier this year with the awfully titled Spanish-language "Fijación Oral" and now followed up with its equally awfully titled English-language counterpart "Oral Fixation." Both only share two songs in common and, surprisingly, it's not her smash single "La Tortura" which featured hottie Alejandro Sanz from Spain. Musically, "Don't Bother" - the new single - is actually the best song Shakira has released in quite a while with a rock edge that was missing in most of the last album. The video, which also premiered this week, is also one of Shakira's best. I simply love what the director did with the use of lighting in the car junk yard. Unfortunately it's the lyrics that strike the wrong note as Shakira delves one time too many into a soap opera-ish tale of a woman scorned taking vengance on her unfaithful lover (and what's up with the lines "she's the greatest cook and she's fat free" or "for you, I'd give up all I have and move to a Communist country"?). It's also a bit uncomfortable to watch someone who was lauded in Colombia for her musical talents as well as her beauty embrace the bimbo package that the United States music market has encouraged (as a matter of fact, fans are up in arms over the semi-nudity for the cover of her new album - pictured above - as this forum shows).

So, as the Shakira vs. Madonna new CD release dates approach, perhaps we should leave the marketing to them and focus instead on an album that will probably leave both of them in the dust at least artistically and musically. An ode from a mother to her three-year old daughter, Andrea Echeverri's self-titled Spanish-language debut album was released earlier this year remains one of my favorite albums of the year. It is also one of the most erotically assured albums I have ever about womanhood addressing, for example, the erotic fullfillment of giving birth. All that without pouring black tar on yourself or posing semi-naked for an album cover! Go figure! It is a mellow, sonically challenging, beautiful album that strikes moments of pure emotional power.

Three songs in particular always leave a lump on my throat and even some wetness around my eyes, "Fulgor," "Quedate" and "Menos Mal." They are basically love songs. A translation of "Menos Mal" follows:

"Menos Mal / Thank heaven"

Thank heaven you showed up
Thank heaven you convinced me
Thank heaven you are still here

Thank heaven we offended each other
Thank heaven we forgave each other
Thank heaven we gave each other another opportunity

Thank heaven we built
Thank heaven we decided
To continue 'til the end

Don't leave
Never will the bad be forgiving

Thank heaven we placed a bet
That we'd sow the little seeds
That we'd make each other laugh

Thank heaven we had fun
Like surprised children
Thank heaven together we felt the hunger to live

Thank heaven we connected
Thank heaven we made each other pregnant
Thank heaven we penetrated each other

Don't ever leave...

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