It took about a year for Bebe's debut, Pafuera Telarañas, to get the attention it deserves. A colorful, creative, and catchy album that brazenly defies gender stereotypes as they exist in the Spanish-speaking world, Pafuera Telarañas shot from near-obscurity to become one of the most talked-about Latin albums of the year when it notched five Grammy nominations for the singer/songwriter, far and away the most nominations for anyone and reminiscent of the out-of-nowhere acclaim that helped catapult Juanes to superstar status years earlier when he too notched numerous Grammy nominations after languishing in obscurity for a while. The Grammy hype aside, Pafuera Telarañas doesn't really fit neatly into any existing stylistic category -- alternative singer/songwriter dance-pop with a feminist-flamenco flair, perhaps? -- but it does bear a resemblance to a couple similarly striking Latin alternative albums of recent years: Natalia LaFourcade's perky self-titled debut and Julieta Venegas' commercial breakthrough, Sí. Like those albums, Pafuera Telarañas at its core is a dance-pop album, but with its incredible range of rhythms, sounds, and styles as well as its well-written, outspoken lyrics, there's significant depth, enough to make it radio-ready while also tickling the ears of discerning listeners looking for substance in addition to spice. Bebe starts the album on a high note, opening with a few really catchy songs driven by great dance-lite beats and singalong hooks. Pafuera Telarañas then takes quite a turn with the fifth song, "Malo," which cuts quite deeply and ups the intensity level significantly. From there, the album twists and turns through different moods and styles, without ever coming to a lull before the album-closing "Razones," which concludes the festivities on a serious, stunning a cappella note. Overall, Pafuera Telarañas has all the trappings of a pop album -- a reasonably short playing time, every song but one in the three-minute range, a plethora of hooks -- but its myriad stylistic twists and turns and its lyrical substance make it much more than that, so it ends up being the best of both worlds, an album that's rich in confection as well as creativity. Thankfully, it got the attention it deserves.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier