Debi Nova

Luna Nueva

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Available in two versions -- one primarily sung in English, the other primarily in Spanish -- Debi Nova’s genre-defying debut album is stylish, cool, passionate, warm, and mostly what you’d expect from a singer groomed to be Costa Rica’s answer to Shakira. There are plenty of ways to tell the difference between the two artists, but first and foremost, Nova’s got an appealing bossa nova breeziness about her that’s more conservative and more comfortable. While the hit single “Drummer Boy” is Luna Nueva’s infectious and big Black Eyed Peas moment, everything else here is much more sensible and less showy, a smart move since Nova seems like a free-spirited near-hippie at heart. She shines on more organic groovers like the War-inspired “Rather Be Your Lover” and the Prince-like “Ashes & Pearls,” while her grand moment comes during the elegant “Don’t Wanna Forget,” a heartbreak number with plenty of strings. Strange that there’s barely a touch of hip-hop considering her previous work in the genre, but Luna Nueva is already juggling four or five Latin flavors with plenty of rock, funk, and smooth jazz thrown into the mix. That it hangs together at all is impressive but it flows extremely well, providing the perfect soundtrack to summer afternoons and romantic getaways.

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