Thalía

Arrasando

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If En Extasis and its breakthrough hit, "Piel Morena," established Thalía as a prospective Latin pop artist in 1995, and if the Emilio Estefan, Jr.-produced Amor a la Mexicana established her as a sizzling sensation in 1997, then her likewise Estefan-produced Arrasando firmly established her as a full-fledged superstar in 2000, when it began spinning off its five hit singles. The album is a trendy one, very much of its time -- that is, right at the turn of the millennium, when high-intensity, trancy dance music was all the rage in fashionable circles. The bulk of Arrasando plays to that style, with its abundance of synthesizers and dance beats, as well as its ecstatic choruses, which seem to reach for the stars song after song. Trance music was peaking around this time, remember, and that style of dance music, which was the club sound of Europe and the coastal cities of the U.S., certainly informs Estefan's production here. It works relatively well for Thalía. That's because she's not so much a singer as she is a personality, admittedly a very attractive one. So for much of Arrasando she mainly rides the rhythms, wrapping herself in bombastic production laden with synthesizer stabs and overdubbed background vocals. The result is probably too much for anyone not inclined to dance madly; this especially goes for the title track, which is tailor-made for peak-hour club play. However, there are several slower songs that help relieve the intensity, most notably the airy "Entre el Mar y una Estrella" and the soothing "No Hay Que Llorar." Once the opening run of singles comes to an end, the album ironically gets more interesting, as Thalía tries out different styles to varying yet generally fun effect. The album closes with "Rosalinda," the theme song of Thalía's telenovela of the time. It's the most traditionally Mexican song on the set and does stand out because of that, but again, in a fun sort of way, especially given its substance and its album-closing sequencing. To step back for a moment and put Arrasando in perspective, it certainly differs from its predecessor (Amor a la Mexicana) and successor (Thalia). All are among her best efforts, with Arrasando being probably the most contrived. It's more adventurous than the streamlined Thalia, yet it's not as free-flowing as Amor a la Mexicana. Of the three, it surely sounds the most dated, and for all these reasons, it's a strangely curious album, very evocative of its time.

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