Natalia Oreiro

Tu Veneno

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While Tu Veneno contains no shortage of Latin pop, it also has Natalia Oreiro's attempts for more rock credibility. Added to her usual mix of Latin rhythms and mainstream pop is a mixture of hard rock energy and even old-school production. While "Rio de la Plata" and "Como Te Olvido" are as polished and danceable as any Ricky Martin tune, "Aburrida" adds a Santana-like guitar lead to a song exhorting for more social consciousness. Similarly, "Febrero," an acoustic bluesy song, sounds like it could fit in a bar jukebox, and the title cut adds organs and guitar licks to a stripped-down arrangement. There's even a lovely cover of Boz Scaggs' "We're All Alone" with rewritten Spanish lyrics. Oreiro isn't always the strongest singer (her vocal limitations are most evident on "Febrero"), but she does fit her material, for the most part, and her charisma and energy make her compelling. In fact, it's really the unevenness of the songwriting that makes the album falter. The attempts at breaking from formula are commendable, but not entirely successful (though they do have their moments) and many of the straight-ahead pop songs, while pleasant and lively, are not especially distinctive. Still, Tu Veneno offers some intriguing moments, and makes for a promising listen.

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