Ana Bárbara


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Queen of Ranchera Ana Bárbara teamed up with tejano princess Jennifer Peña to release 2005's Confesiones. The conception of this record begs the question, why would one make a best-of album for two different singers and squash them onto the same disc? According to the charts, regardless of the reasonability of the proposition, the results were wildly successful, landing a place on Billboard's Top 200, and scoring in the Top Five for Regional Mexican. Peña, having recorded her major-label debut a scant three years before the release of Confesiones, is often compared to Bárbara, her slightly more experienced counterpart. This could be because of stylistic approach, or perhaps because of the similar niche that they occupy, making this project feasible in the first place. Super-polished Latin pop or rustic, swaggering tejano? Yes and yes. The squeaky-clean production and processed sound is something not often associated with regional Mexican music, but it has certainly served both vocalists well, winning them a large and generally young fan base. Drum machines and soaring strings notwithstanding, all the tracks are undeniably mexicano. Though Bárbara and Peña are the emotive, confident vocalists that world audiences have come to love, the premise of Confesiones is confounding and strange to the point that it obscures the talent of either. The effect is one of the two songstresses exchanging blows, or taking turns at the drinking fountain. The unfamiliar will probably find this to be a bit too strange for a first time out with these artists, and the loyal fans will already own all the material presented.

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