El Sexto Sentido

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Thalía's self-titled 2003 effort was meant to be her English-language breakthrough, with guest shots from Fat Joe and photography that resembled a Spiegel ad, or maybe a Shania album. But it was too superficial, and there was little crossover appeal in the music itself. In contrast, 2005's El Sexto Sentido is sung entirely en español, except for English versions of its three singles tacked onto the end. It's a straightforward Latin pop album, with the requisite balladry (the rousing "Olvídame" really shows off her voice), bouncy hybrid pop (the bandoneon-flavored opener, "Amar Sin Ser Amada"), and exuberant anthems you can imagine the entire dancefloor singing along with ("Seducción," "No Me Voy a Quebrar"). It also features "Amor Prohibido," Thalía's rendition of Selena's Tejano classic. (Thalía performed the song at an April 2005 concert event that remembered Selena on the ten-year anniversary of her murder.) El Sexto Sentido features songwriting and production throughout from Estéfano, and Thalía's vocals are buoyant, particularly on the biggest notes. But the album also lacks a certain vitality. Tracks like "Un Sueño Para Dos" are a little over-produced, and "Sabe Bien" could be any dance-pop coo, only it's cooed in Spanish. Fortunately, "24000 Besos (24000 Baci)" is much better, a dizzyingly upbeat track where the catchiness isn't lost in translation. Still, despite its highlights, El Sexto Sentido feels like product. It's slick and perfectly arranged and performed with just enough gusto to get the crowd moving or emotions flowing, but never with more effort than what's necessary. And as a result, Thalía fades into the background, like her pretty but hazy headshot on the record's cover. She's a superstar, an actress and singer, a businesswoman. She's even starred in a spot for Dr. Pepper in America. But while it will likely appeal to her die-hard fans, Thalía's El Sexto Sentido is neither up to her superstar standard nor a domestic breakthrough.

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