Various Artists

Latin Beat: Mundo Romantico

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The Right Stuff was best known for R&B reissues in the 1990s, but the label ventured into contemporary Latin music in 1999 with its Latin Beat Magazine Presents series. For the series, The Right Stuff consulted the editors of Latin Beat Magazine and relied on their recommendations for various compilations. This CD, which spans 1989-1998, focuses largely on the romantic side of Latin pop with selections by artists ranging from Luis Miguel, Alvaro Torres, and Ednita Nazario to Millie, Linda Lucia, Richard Montaner, and Carlos Vives. Essentially, Mundo Romantico is an album of sleek adult contemporary sounds by younger Latin pop artists (as opposed to veterans like Jose Jose and Julio Iglesias). Although ballads are a high priority on this generally enjoyable, if unremarkable, collection, Mundo Romantico isn't without some uptempo numbers. The inclusion of exuberant offerings like Paulina Rubio's "Enamorada," Sentidos Opuestos' "Donde Estan?" and Thalia's urban contemporary-flavored "Amandote" prevent Mundo Romantico from maintaining a relaxing, turn-down-the-lights ambience, although they fit in with the disc's romantic theme. Female trio Xtacy's "Porque," meanwhile, is basically urban contemporary with Spanish lyrics -- the Latin equivalent of a Brandy single, you might say. A few of the tunes are a little too bubblegum, and The Right Stuff could have made things more eclectic by adding some salsa romantica and some Tejano ballads. Nonetheless, Mundo Romantico is a substantial compilation that has more pluses than minuses.

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