Olga Tañón

Yo por Ti

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On Yo por Ti, Olga Tañón continues the pop transformation that had begun two years earlier with Te Acordarás de Mí. Like that album, Yo por Ti is a mixed bag, including several of her trademark tropical dance songs as well as ballads and lightweight pop. And also like Te Acordarás de Mí, Yo por Ti is at its best when it sticks to Tañón's bread and butter: tropical, in particular merengue. There are four such songs, and they're far and away the album highlights: "Miénteme," "Como Olvidar," "Tú Te lo Pierdes," and "Ahora Soy Mala." A couple of the ballads, namely the title track and the version of "Como Olvidar," are serviceable -- which is much more than can be said of the lowest common denominator pop of "Me Gusta" and "I Wanna Have Fun," both of which are downright embarrassing. So while Yo por Ti does include several songs worth hearing, it also includes several not worth hearing, hence the aforementioned mixed bag description. At this point in her career, circa 2001, Tañón seemed lost. For whatever reason, she'd given up her straight merengue approach of the '90s -- the approach that had brought her enormous, downright iconic acclaim among the tropical music community. She seemed to be fashioning herself as another pop diva à la Thalía, Paulina Rubio, or even latter-day Gloria Estefan, and she would continue to do so for at least another album (the similarly dicey Sobrevivir). Tañón's longtime fans were obviously dismayed by all this, and hardcore tropical listeners had no interest in her crossover aspirations, to the point where many were revoking her Queen of Merengue crown (almost angrily, as if impeaching her!). Clearly, Tañón was struggling at this point in time, in a way, yet she was still turning out a few solid hits with each album. If those hits interest you -- which they well may, because they're first-rate by general Latin pop standards -- it's best to gather them up on rock-solid compilations like A Puro Fuego (2003) or Como Olvidar: Lo Mejor de Olga Tañón (2005) rather than ill-conceived albums like Yo por Ti or Sobrevivir, which can be uneasy listens, especially for longtime fans disheartened by Tañón's drift toward the middle of the road.

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