India

Soy Diferente

(CD - Univision Records #40004)

Review by

Following the '90s, a decade in which she rose to iconic status amid the contemporary salsa scene, India was relatively quiet, releasing an album every few years or so, without all the fanfare she enjoyed during the '90s. Soy Diferente is one of those post-'90s albums, and like its predecessor, Latin Songbird: Mi Alma y Corazón, it arrived after a few years of inactivity. Its modest release belies its exceptionality, however. Soy Diferente isn't just another India album. It's different -- well, a little different. For the most part, the album does include the kind of slickly produced, exuberantly sung salsa that had long been India's stock-in-trade. For instance, "Solamente una Noche," one of the album's standout songs, would fit nicely on one of her many greatest-hits albums, where you likely wouldn't presume that the song was from 2006 rather than 1996. So, from that standpoint, the bulk of Soy Diferente is sure to please longtime India fans, who generally are happy to have more of the same. What makes this album a little different from past ones is the integration of reggaeton on a few songs. Perhaps it was inevitable, given reggaeton's sweeping popularity among young urban Latinos, but still, those trademark galloping beats do sound striking within the context of an India album. And they strike you right away, in the opening minute of the very first song: the "Salsatón" version of the title track. The fusion of reggaeton and salsa on this song is tastefully done, rest assured. And following this opening song, the subsequent numbers are mostly straight salsa like you'd expect, until the latter quarter of the album, that is, when India reprises the title track in a straight reggaeton version and the aforementioned "Solamente una Noche" likewise. These straight reggaeton versions don't work as well as the "Salsatón" fusion of the album opener, but they do work and they are mighty interesting to hear. If anything, you must credit India for trying something new. Lastly, it's worth singling out another highlight, "Cuando Hieres a una Mujer," which boasts a feature from reggaeton superstar Ivy Queen that kicks the song into high gear, accompanied again by those infectious galloping beats. It's moments like these that make Soy Diferente a relatively exciting latter-day India release, which is saying quite a bit, given her numerous high-quality albums over the years and her decade-plus of overall activity. Above all, it's nice to hear her still sounding vibrant and willing to try new sounds and approaches.

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