Olga Tañón

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Sobrevivir Review

by Jason Birchmeier

Olga Tañón's continuing search for pop-crossover equilibrium again misses its mark on Sobrevivir, another ill-received pop album that resulted in a couple major hits ("Asi Es la Vida" and "No Podras") yet still angered her longtime fans, who wanted more merengue, not more pop. Past albums like Te Acordarás de Mí (1998) and Yo por Ti (2001) had been mixed bags, interweaving tropical music with ballads and pop, but Sobrevivir isn't even a mixed bag: it's a pop album through and through. Sure, there are some tropical-styled dance songs -- and good ones, at that -- namely "Caramelo" and "Asi Es la Vida," but they're not the kind of dizzying merengue barnburners that had brought Tañón such acclaim and devotion during the '90s, when she was clear and away the Queen of Merengue. (That title was highly questionable by this point in time, however.) If you can accept Sobrevivir for what it is -- Latin pop graced with layers of studiocraft and an army of technicians -- it's a fine album, about as good as any adult-leaning Latin pop release of its time. For instance, there are some of Tañón's best ballads to date here -- "Mentiras," "No Podras," and especially "Quien Diria," a duet with Luis Fonsi -- while the aforementioned "Caramelo" and "Asi Es la Vida" are also first-rate. Alas, Sobrevivir wasn't met with universal acceptance, let alone praise, and it ended up becoming Tañón's lowest charting album since Mujer de Fuego (1994), as it only reached number 11 on the Top Latin Albums chart, a relatively poor showing for the former Queen, who was accustomed to scaling the chart, album after album. Consequently, damage control would ensue, beginning with A Puro Fuego, a sure-fire collection of her best merengues, released within a year's time.

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