Ricardo Arjona

Simplemente...Lo Mejor

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Fifteen years after his major-label album debut, Animal Nocturno (1993), established him as one of Latin pop's most admired superstars, Ricardo Arjona saw his greatest hits compiled for the first time onto a chronologically sequenced single-disc collection that handles the treasures of his back catalog with the care they deserve. Granted, over the years there had been several cut-rate releases on fly-by-night labels that repackaged Arjona's independent label material to no end, and there had also been a B-sides collection (Lados B, 2003) as well as a couple live albums (Vivo, 1999; Solo, 2004). Yet the closest Arjona ever came to an official greatest-hits collection was his final studio effort for Sony BMG, Quién Dijo Ayer (2007), on which he re-recorded many of his best songs, often recasting them in different styles or as collaborations. Simplemente Lo Mejor is therefore a long overdue career retrospective, compiling classics such as "Mujeres," "Jesús Verbo No Sustantivo," "Señora de las Cuatro Décadas," "Historia de Taxi," "Te Conozco," "Tu Reputación," "Si el Norte Fuera el Sur," "Desnuda," and "Cuándo" in chronological order on a convenient single-disc collection. Arjona's first three albums for Sony BMG, Animal Nocturno (1993), Historias (1994), and Si el Norte Fuera el Sur (1996) are the primary focus of Simplemente Lo Mejor with four songs culled from each, and rightfully so, for these albums were the foundation upon which his reputation was based for exceptional songwriting craftsmanship, social consciousness, and meticulous arrangements. However, the emphasis on these early albums comes at the expense of subsequent albums: for instance, only two songs each are culled from Sin Danos a Terceros (1998) and Galeria Caribe (2000) while none are culled from either Santo Pecado (2002) or Adentro (2005). The absence of Top Ten hits such as "El Problema" (from Santo Pecado) or "Acompáñame a Estar Solo" (from Adentro) is no doubt troubling; after all, it's not as if the quality or success of Arjona's music lessened after the turn of the century -- quite the contrary, in fact, especially in the case of Adentro, which was perhaps his most acclaimed album to date. This shortcoming of Simplemente Lo Mejor aside, the compilation is nothing short of stellar, filled with major hits and showcasing perfectly Arjona's mid-'90s rise to fame.

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