Miguel Bosé says that his closest friends call him papito ['little daddy'], an explanation for the title of his ambitious new release which came out on Tuesday here in the United States. He has also said that the word is intrinsically Latin American and that it is a way for him to show gratitude to the continent for all that it has given him (born in Panama, Bosé has made a living in Spain for decades).
In "Papito" the legendary Bosé invites some of today's best known Spanish language pop singers to reinterpret 14 singles from his prolific 30 year old career through duets.
I have never necessarily been a big fan of his music but for anyone who has lived at least part of their life in Latin America or Spain, some of these songs have ingrained themselves so deeply in popular culture that they've become a soundtrack to specific moments of anyone's life.
It's his larger than life personality, his magnetism, his knowing and playful way of dismissing questions about his sexuality (while at the same time playing into the ambiguity by producing videos that sometimes incorporate gay and bisexual content) that has made me a fan.
Some of his biggest hits are synth heavy tracks from the 1980's and early 90's - which means that their sound hasn't aged particularly well. So I decided to give "Papito" a try and see if some of these songs could actually improve on their originals.
My take? For she most part, it works!
Some songs still don't make it for me ("Bambu" with Ricky Martin and "Nada Particular" with Juanes) and some barely do (the single "Nena" with Paulina Rubio). But there are great songs here (among them the reggae-tinged "Morena Mia" with a great vocal by Julieta Vanegas, the amazing "Si Tu No Vuelves" with Shakira and "Este Mundo Va" with Leonor Vatling). There is also a great brand new song - "Hay Dias" with Alejandro Sanz - and a nice duet with Michael Stipe of R.E.M. in which Stipe sings (gulp!) in Spanish!
Ah! And I almost forgot! There's the kitch brilliance of "Amante Bandido" - perhaps his signature song - featuring a duet with the quintesential queer idol Alaska (from Alaska y Dinarama)!
And that cover illustration that plays on Southern Cal street tattoo culture? Just love it. Shows his sense of humor is still intact after all these years.
More "Papito" at the following links:
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