Poquita Ropa, the 15th album of Ricardo Arjona's illustrious career, is a stripped-down acoustic effort that doesn't have much in the way of smash hit material but is nonetheless impressive. No two Arjona albums are alike, and Poquita Ropa is indeed unique in several ways. From a lyrical standpoint, songs like "Vida," "Puente," and "Mi País" deal with matters of identity and take a long view, concerning themselves with the past as well as the present and raising questions about the future. Not all of the songs on Poquita Ropa are woven together thematically, but there is clearly a conceptual arc to the album that is supported by the uniformity of the musical style. Similar in style to the acoustic pop second half of Galería Caribe (2000) and the unplugged album Solo (2004), Poquita Ropa finds Arjona at his most naked, backed by spare arrangements of acoustic guitar, piano, and Hammond B-3 along with occasional touches of strings, woodwinds, and chorus vocals. These stripped-down arrangements are out of character for Arjona, whose music tends to be wide ranging and at times overwrought. For instance, there's nothing on Poquita Ropa that comes close to the bombast of "Como Duele," the smash hit power ballad from Arjona's previous album, 5to Piso (2008). That's not to say that Poquita Ropa is entirely minimal in style. It opens with a couple songs that pack a punch, "Vida" and "Marta," both of which top the five-minute mark and are anchored by percussion, and it closes with an elaborate tropical version of "Puente" that runs for eight and a half minutes and brings the album to an extraordinary conclusion. These three songs are clear-cut standouts that bookend the album for good reason. Among the material that comprises the quiet, easily overlooked middle of Poquita Ropa, interspersed highlights include "Aleluya," "Que Voy a Hacer Conmigo," "Usted," and "Mi País." Like Galería Caribe, the Arjona effort to which it's most reminiscent, Poquita Ropa is an artistically ambitious album sure to delight the Guatemalan-born singer/songwriter's devotees without scoring a bunch of smash hits in the process.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier