Edgardo Monserrat

Hasta Que Digas Mi Nombre

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Fonovisa Records is best known for regional Mexican music, but occasionally the label will sign an artist who isn't Mexican and doesn't provide norteño, banda, grupero, Tejano, mariachi, ranchera, or duranguense. A good example is Puerto Rican singer Edgardo Monserrat, who shows some promise on his debut album, Hasta Que Digas Mi Nombre (Until You Say My Name). Despite coming from an island where salsa reigns supreme, Monserrat doesn't get into tropical territory on this 2005 release; his music is Latin pop first and foremost, and he generally keeps things neutral (by Latino standards) whether he is providing romantic power ballads like "De Qué Me Sirve Esta Vida" and "Quizás Mañana" or doing something more uptempo. When one speaks of Latin entertainment -- perhaps music, perhaps a telenovela -- being neutral, that means it is meant to have an across-the-board appeal in the Spanish-speaking world instead of being aimed at a specific group of Latinos. Los Tigres del Norte's music, for example, is not neutral -- their songs often deal with Mexican culture specifically -- whereas José José, although Mexican, is a pop singer who goes for an across-the-board appeal among Spanish speakers. And similarly, Monserrat doesn't use a lot of Puerto Rican slang (like one often hears in reggaetón) or address specifically Caribbean subject matter -- this is the type of album that is designed to reach Latin pop enthusiasts whether they're living in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Lima, or Seattle. If anything is less than neutral about parts of this 36-minute CD, it is the traces of Brazilian rhythmic influence one hears on occasion. But Monserrat doesn't sing in Portuguese -- all of his lyrics are en Español -- and his credentials as a Spanish-language pop artist are never in question. Hasta Que Digas Mi Nombre is slightly uneven, but overall, it is a decent effort and indicates that Monserrat is worth keeping an eye on.

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