Carlos Oliva

Crossing Over

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Well, at least he's being honest about it. Not only did Carlos Oliva call this album Crossing Over (as in crossing over to a mainstream audience, the double-edged sword of all Latin music), but it consists entirely of Latin pop covers of old pop and R&B tunes, sung first in English and then in Spanish. It's not a bad concept in and of itself, but its execution is entirely dependent upon the quality of the original hits. Lou Rawls' 1976 Philly soul classic "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" recast as a slinky conga-driven Latin jazz groove? Brilliant! Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons' "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" utterly transformed into a sexy, syncopated strut? Excellent! Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music White Boy"? Yeah, it still sucks. Offering roughly a 60-40 split between gems and dogs (a sound-alike version of Lionel Richie's already Latinized "All Night Long" being the nadir), Crossing Over is a mostly pleasant diversion, but it lacks much of the charm of Oliva's original material.

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