Koko Stambuk

Valiente

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    7
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A certified hit songwriter, producer, and teen pop band designer in Chile, Koko Stambuk (aka Koko) moved to Mexico in 2007 to be closer to heart of the Latin pop industry. The move was predictable, as his achievements had long outgrown his native market, and a couple of successful productions for Reik and Luis Fonsi quickly confirmed his reputation. What few suspected is that Koko's ambitions were not limited to becoming a major player in the industry, but apparently his deal with Warner Bros. also included the launching -- and extensive promotion -- of his own solo career. Accordingly, Valiente, the first album Koko released under his own name, is an entirely predictable affair, a perfectly conceived and manufactured pop package, carefully tailored to the taste of an intended audience of teenage girls, and featuring at least two surefire hits: "Chicas y Chicos" and "Valiente" (the latter a number one in Mexico). As far as mainstream Latin pop goes, Valiente is pretty flawless, but its very generality is exactly where the problem lies. Koko has been wearing so many different hats and composing for so many people that his own music lacks discernible character. One track recalls Café Tacuba, another Andrés Calamaro, a third Los Fabulosos Cadillacs...or Julieta Venegas, or Coti, or Enrique Iglesias (incidentally, the cover art certainly does its utmost to present him as a Latin heartthrob), and so on. There is even a new version of "Freebola" (renamed "Chica Light" for the occasion), a hit for Koko's first group, Glup!, included as a wink to his early fans, now pushing 30, while a few tracks take on typical Mexican genres. Certainly Koko does not want to leave any stone unturned or niche audience unaddressed in his personal quest for stardom.