Maná

Esencials: Luna

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One of three best-of Maná compilations in the Esencials series released in 2003, Luna focuses on the band's ballads, whereas Sol focuses on their rockers and Eclipse on a distillation of both. Maná enjoyed the most commercial success with their ballads, beginning with their first major hit, "Rayando el Sol" (1992), and their breakthrough hit, "Vivir sin Aire" (1994). For the most part, the band's subsequent ballads are variations of these initial hits, and from album to album this becomes apparent. Thus, Luna is a bit redundant as a whole. These ballads function superbly amid any given Maná album, interspersed dynamically among rockers and mid-tempo pleas of passion. Lined up one after another as they are here, however, the ballads lose much of their impact as the album progresses. Nonetheless, Maná writes fine songs, ballads especially, and always performs them with the utmost passion, so even if Luna drags on by its midway point, the individual songs are always appealing. Since Eclipse compiles the best of the band's ballads as well as rockers -- distilling the highlights of both Luna and Sol to a single disc -- it's the recommended route to take for anyone considering a Maná compilation. Eclipse includes all the key songs found here, like the aforementioned "Rayando el Sol" and "Vivir sin Aire," and it intersperses them with rockers, not only showcasing a full picture of Maná's musical ability but also offering a more compelling listening experience overall. Note that all three Esencials releases include "Te Llevare al Cielo," a soaring rocker that is newly recorded and among the band's best songs to date.

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