All through the 1980s and 1990s Fito Páez more than secured a place for himself in the pantheon of the greatest songwriters of the Spanish language with a seemingly endless string of astonishing songs. In this light, the noticeable decline of his creativity in the 21st century defies any rational explanation. It is not that Páez's albums after 1999's Abre (arguably his last true great album, although some may even take that back as far as 1994's Circo Beat) are all that bad -- it is just that they are not particularly memorable or at least surprising. More importantly for an author who seemed to have such a keen grip on the pulse of the times, they no longer seem in the least relevant; the career of Elvis Costello, a musician much admired by Páez, offers perhaps the best comparison for English-speaking audiences. Is Páez, a notorious megalomaniac, aware of his fans' patience running thin? The title and opening track of his 2010 release Confiá seem to hint in this direction: "Have faith," he says, a mantra he repeats in the second song, "Tiempo al Tiempo" (Give It Time), as if time and trust will reveal the hidden depths of his new material for the true believers. Confiá is ostensibly designed as Páez's return to rock after the piano- and voice-only Rodolfo, and shares the same feel good zone of Páez's later work. This abundance of upbeat material can be a little jarring to Páez's longtime fans, as it does not seem to fit his characteristically nasal voice very well and contrasts starkly with the anger of his younger days. While the perspective may be more optimistic, thematically and musically Páez is still revisiting familiar terrain. Songs feature the usual repertoire of city portraits (Rio de Janeiro, London), character-driven narratives, and considerable amounts of living advice, buoyantly set to tinkling piano, ringing guitars, and the occasional horns. Here and there, winks to Charly García, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Stevie Wonder, and the aforementioned Elvis Costello make their customary appearance. Arrangements and instrumental performances are tight, and even if Páez's lyrics are no longer what they were, he still has a superb musical gift -- check the melodies, bridges, and modulations of the album's finest moments such as "London Town," "El Mundo de Hoy," and "Desaluz." The truth is, Confiá is full of Páez's traits and tics, virtues and defects, to the point of being almost stereotypical. In conclusion, a decent album in its own right, but one that cannot help but sound like a lesser, derivative copy of his best work.
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AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes