Aside from the hundreds of thousands of global fans who've attended his concerts, the millions of albums sold, and awards received, Juanes remains unwavering in his commitment to artistic growth and constant reinvention, which isn't easy for any pop star to achieve.
Mis Planes Son Amarte was conceived and created as an audio-visual album, the first by a Latin artist. Each of its 12 tracks accompanies a scene in a film directed by Kacho Lopez Mari. Juanes is its conceptualist, writer, and star. Its loose-knit thematic plot finds a lonely astronaut/internal traveler making a life journey -- through time and space -- to find and understand love. There are scenes shot in forests, in space, in cities, in deserts, at home. Juanes, female lead Aluna, and other characters are not only human entities, but psychological and spiritual archetypes through whom the story unfolds. Mis Planes Son Amarte intersperses animation, green screen, and "real" shots, -- it's trippy, elastic, and utterly engaging, with a wonderfully indulgent narrative (is any film work that comes from rock -- Quadrophenia, Under the Cherry Moon, Yellow Submarine, et. al -- not?). It's gorgeous to watch as it morphs from one scenic reality to another (for Anglos, there are subtitles).
Mis Planes Son Amarte's songs bind these fluid images. Juanes recorded and produced the album in Colombia. His co-producers are Sky & Mosty and Bull Nene Cano. The seamless sonics range stylistically from cumbia ("Fuego"), Latin funk ("Angel"), tropical pop ("Es Tarde"), reggaeton ("El Ratico" feat. Kali Uchis), and steamy dance rock ("Hermosa Ingrata") to 21st century bolero ("Alguna Vez" feat. Fonseca). The set's production aesthetic is defined by opener "Perro Viejo" as ambient sounds create open space around guitars, vocals, synth, and percussion to create a dreamy, pillowy atmospheric backdrop for his singing. Juanes lets the listener know he's primed for travel in outer and innerspace: "I have no concerns/My suitcase is light...." As his journey unfolds, he discovers love's transformative power, how we fight it with petty attachments, and how its pure state juxtaposes our connected technological world: The latter passes away, the former is who we are. The title track is a jazz-inflected Steely Dan-kissed number shot in both a club and space; its lyric underscores our human dilemma: "I don't know where to begin, the silence invades us/I want to love you, you want to go to the moon." He follows with its nadir, "Goodbye for Now," his first-ever song in English. A bouncy, Auto-Tuned radio pop number, it nonetheless carries a weighty message about love's difficulties, its insistence on freedom, and its eternal return on its own terms. He closes/emerges with the dubby cumbia stepper "Esto No Acaba," with stinging guitar fills, a bumping bassline, and infectious hooks. Lyrically, it's a reminder that neither Juanes the artist nor his character ever surrender. Despite -- or perhaps because of -- its sense-altering format and creative indulgence, Mis Planes Son Amarte not only breaks ground on every aesthetic frontier, but results in the finest outing in Juanes' career to date.