Luis Miguel

Complices

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It's a wonder what took Luis Miguel so long to enlist Latin maestro Manuel Alejandro to write and produce one of his projects. As one of the most prolific and respected songwriters in Latin pop -- his clientele is a who's who that includes Julio Iglesias, Plácido Domingo, Raphael, and José José, to name but a few -- the tunesmith's timeless, smooth compositions are a natural fit for the crooner. But Cómplices is more than just their first all-out collaboration: it's the first time Miguel ever hands over the reins of a recording entirely to a third party. He's worked with his share of legends, but never has El Sol De México, no matter how legendary the contributor, had one person handle everything -- from songwriting all the way to arrangements and production. Alejandro's eye for detail as a composer is exquisite, anyway, so the relinquishment doesn't result in a big sonic departure for the vocalist, even if the songs do follow a dark thematic line -- in terms of love songs, at least, this is perhaps the most somber, hopeless set of compositions Miguel has ever sung. For someone who has made a name for himself singing ballads and Latin standards -- his Romances saga attests that much -- the brand of love Cómplices champions is the kind that can be sensual and torrid one moment, only to cheat and break hearts the next. Poetically, the material is flawless, even beautiful, but a deeper analysis sheds light on a far from perfect version of love. This love fakes kisses ("Bravo, Amor, Bravo"), fears commitment ("De Nuevo El Paraíso"), steals partners ("Se Amaban"), and is on the verge of falling apart ("Dicen") -- far from the kind of record you put on as you wine and dine a romantic interest. That's not to say Cómplices isn't a romantic album. In spots, it certainly is, but it doesn't go beyond mere romance -- the one-night stand, an illicit affair, sweet nothings whispered in the ear. Cómplices paints such a bleak, depressing picture of what love ought to be, it's easily the most hopelessly romantic disc of Miguel's career -- pristinely executed by Latin pop standards, yet ironic coming from the biggest loverman in all of Latin music. Could this be the musical companion to the singer's sensational tabloid persona? You be the judge.

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