Obie Bermúdez

Lo Que Trajo el Barco

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Lo Que Trajo el Barco continues fledging Latin pop singer/songwriter Obie Bermúdez's string of loosely conceptual albums, succeeding Confesiones (2003) and Todo el Año (2004), a pair of fine releases that garnered him various accolades, including number one hits and a Latin Grammy. The underlying theme of Lo Que Trajo el Barco (What the Ship Has Brought In) is the priceless value of human relationships, whether they be familial or romantic, and how such value enriches society, especially one as pluralistic as that of America, where generations of immigrants have contributed to the interwoven fabric of the overall country in all its cultural greatness. It's a rather heartfelt theme, represented by the numerous family portraits showcased amid the album's artwork, and it's a timely one, considering the barbed debate in America circa 2006 over illegal immigration and the resulting legislation mandating a 700-mile-long wall along the Mexican border. But Bermúdez is a crafty songwriter, and the songs comprising Lo Que Trajo el Barco are light vignettes that can easily pass for standard Latin pop. Rest assured there is nothing at all overbearing here, despite the potential for polemic. This is perhaps Bermúdez's greatest strength as an artist: he crafts easily enjoyable pop songs that happen to be pieces of a greater thematic puzzle that comes together track by track over the course of each album. Like his past two efforts, Lo Que Trajo el Barco is comprised entirely of songs written or co-written by Bermúdez, and stalwart producer Sebastian Krys once again applies his Midas touch. A handful of songs stand out, including the leadoff tracks ("La Soledad" and "Decisiones Que Matan") as well as the lead single ("Sigo con Ella") and the one English-language entry ("Spanglish"), yet it's more notable that there are no dull songs here. Bermúdez's touch is indelible throughout: the songs are not only well written and interesting in terms of the stories they tell, but his performances are passionate and almost painfully earnest. It helps, too, that he has an ace cast of supporting musicians: Sal Cuevas, Luis Quintero, Lee Levin, and Laércio Da Costa, each notable in his own right. All of this adds up to another Grammy-worthy album for Bermúdez, who has his career off to an amazing start after the misfire of his 1998 debut, Locales. Despite his youth, he's worthy of comparison to the other leading singer/songwriter voices among Latin men: Juanes, Carlos Vives, Alejandro Sanz, and even Marco Antonio Solís. In fact, his youthfulness makes him one of the more interesting Latin pop singer/songwriters to have firmly established himself commercially, for he, along with Luis Fonsi, represents the voice of a younger generation of Puerto Ricans otherwise associated, sometimes negatively, with reggaeton.

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