Amor a la Mexicana

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Essentially, Amor a la Mexicana is a more fully fledged version of Thalía's previous album, En Extasis, which was her EMI debut and her first noteworthy, internationally successful release. The highlights of that album were the ones written and produced by hitmakers, namely songwriter Kike Santander and producer Emilio Estefan, Jr., the duo chiefly responsible for the breakthrough hit "Piel Morena." Those two hitmakers not only return for Amor a la Mexicana; they mastermind the entire album, for the most part. The results are predictably excellent. Most every song here is propelled by the same confetti of Latin dance rhythms that had propelled "Piel Morena" to such dizzying heights -- bits of salsa, bits of cumbia, bits of banda, bits of balladry, and so on. But this isn't just a Latin dance album. Amor a la Mexicana is also an album of well-written songs with compelling, appropriately mexicana lyrics and catchy, singalong hooks. Furthermore, it's a tight album with very few, if any, dull moments -- ten strong songs averaging four minutes each. And it could very well be Thalía's best album overall. Her subsequent ones would score more hits and prove much more popular, certainly. But their tailor-made trendy pop songs were very much tied to their respective moments in time and sound relatively contrived in hindsight, whereas the songs of Amor a la Mexicana are all cut from the same cloth and flow freely and naturally, without the target-marketed pop concessions of those subsequent albums. For that reason above all, Amor a la Mexicana is a sort of timeless album -- the sound of itself rather than the sound of, say, 2000 (Arrasando with its bombastic synthesizers and trance flash) or 2002 (Thalia with its pop-crossover obsession).

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