Various Artists

Reggaeton Platinum Hits, Phase 1

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Of the innumerable reggaeton "hits" compilations flooding the stateside market in 2005, Reggaeton Platinum Hits, Phase 1 is genuine, if not totally sincere in its billing. The thing is, reggaeton had become a hot sound throughout urban America by summer 2005, for sure, but there weren't too many hits, so to speak. Just a buzz, mainly. And the few hits there were aren't here -- for instance, not a single song by Daddy Yankee ("Gasolina," "Lo Que Paso, Paso") or Don Omar ("Reggaeton Latino," "Pobre Diabla"), far and away the two biggest reggaeton stars in the United States. Nonetheless, Norte, Sony's stateside Latin division, does round up some quality previously released reggaeton songs. In particular, there are excellent songs like "El Bueno, el Malo y el Feo" (by Vico-C, Tego Calderón, and Eddie Dee), "Noche de Terror" (Héctor "El Bambino"), "Censurarme" (Eddie Dee), "Amor" (Baby Ranks), "Prepárate" (Zion & Lennox), and "No la Sueltes" (Mickey Perfecto & Joel Dando Tra). But there's also just as much filler, in particular courtesy of the shamelessly promoted Alexis y Fido (the album's intro is nothing more than a commercial for the duo's coming album!). Still, even if the folks at Norte feel the need to be a little exploitative here on their foray into the reggaeton "hits" compilation sweepstakes of 2005, at least they've put out an album with some music of genuinely high quality. You're recommended to first explore such titles as Chosen Few: El Documental, Mas Flow, Vol. 2, or Reggaeton Hitmakers 2000/2005, as these are uniformly excellent collections of some of the best reggaeton you're liable to find compiled on one album. But if you've already heard those and are looking for second-tier titles, Reggaeton Platinum Hits would be a good pick. You'll be pleased with at least half the selections, if not more.

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