After his stripped-down effort Poquita Ropa, Ricardo Arjona’s 2011 release Independiente is a return to form for the Guatemalan singer, at least when it comes to instrumentation. Instead of going the “unplugged” route, highlight “Te Quiero” builds into a full-band rave-up during its choruses, while the moving “Se Fue” features a lush string section. That may sound akin to Animal Nocturno (1993) or Historias (1994), but as suggested by this album’s title, there’s also an artistic freedom here that wasn’t so prominent in the early days, one now allowed by Arjona’s move to his own independent label. Songs that don’t have much radio potential but are quite fulfilling nonetheless, are allowed to develop at their own pace with a handful of cuts passing the five-minute mark. Returning fans will revel in this combination of freedom and growth, and appreciate the return of producer Tommy Torres, the man who has been behind the boards for quite a few of Arjona’s most popular releases.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries