Maná

Amar Es Combatir

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AllMusic Review by

Arriving a long four years after Revolución de Amor (2002), which had been the band's most accomplished album to date, and a Grammy winner to boot, Amar Es Combatir confirmed Maná's continuing designation as the world's standard-bearing Spanish-language mainstream rock band. Amar Es Combatir's lead single, "Labios Compartidos," was an overnight chart-topper, and the album itself debuted at number four on Billboard's overall album chart, the highest debut ever for a Spanish-language release by a band or group. And make no mistake, such success was warranted, as Amar Es Combatir is not so much a stride forward creatively as it is a consolidation of everything that had earned Maná such a devoted international fan base in the first place. For better, and perhaps for worse, there are no surprises on Amar Es Combatir: the band delivers yet another slick set of soaring rockers (of which "Arráncane el Corazón" and "Tú Me Salvaste" are the highlights) interspersed with laid-back pleas of passion ("Ojala Pudiera Borrarte," "Bendita Tu Luz") and, of course, the obligatory heart-clutching power ballad or two à la "Vivir sin Aire," the band's timeless breakthrough hit from 1994 ("Labios Compartidos," "Tengo Muchas Alas"). The band's critics, who are legion, offered the same age-old complaints upon the album's release: the band repackages the same product each go round, the songs are awfully sappy for such a gruff-looking bunch of guys, and yes, the music isn't authentic -- that is, it's not Latin enough. Regardless of whether you adore or hate Maná, there's no denying the appeal of Amar Es Combatir. This is a meticulous, impassioned, and all-around well-crafted album of what fans had come to expect from Maná, and if it lacks some of the courage of Revolución de Amor, Amar Es Combatir is nonetheless a standout rock en español effort circa 2006 and another laudable effort by the ever-reliable band.

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