Mucho Más por Vivir

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Some English speakers might think of adult contemporary as strictly an English-language phenomenon, but in fact, adult contemporary is equally prominent in the Spanish-language market. Romantic singers like Julio Iglesias, José José, Juan Gabriel, Marco Antonio Solís, and Joan Sebastían are masters of what is essentially Latin adult contemporary, and so is Laura Pausini (an Italian star who can sing in perfect Spanish when she wants to). Latin adult contemporary is exactly what you'll find on Mucho Más por Vivir, the debut album by Puerto Rican singer Sheila Romero (who only goes by Sheila professionally). Sentimental pop ballads are a major priority on this 2005 release, and even the more uptempo tracks are very middle of the road. As far as this type of album goes, Mucho Más por Vivir isn't in a class with Pausini or Rocio Dúrcal's best recordings. But it's a pleasant, likable debut from Romero, whose work doesn't have the strong salsa flavor one often expects from Puerto Rican vocalists. Romero does not cater to the tropical market, and Mucho Más por Vivir favors what people in the Spanish-language media would consider a neutral use of the Spanish language -- in other words, Romero doesn't use a lot of regional expressions that one associates with Caribbean criollo Spanish. Mucho Más por Vivir is the type of Latin pop album that is meant to have an across-the-board appeal in the Spanish-speaking world, and other than a brief reggaeton section on the closing track, "A Tu Lado" ("By Your Side"), this CD steers clear of Caribbean-isms. Mucho Más por Vivir isn't exceptional or mind-blowing, but it's a decent effort and indicates that Romero is worth keeping an eye on.

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