Producer: Sergio George.
Audio Mixers: Juan Mario "Mayito" Aracil; Carlos Alvarez ; Armando Avila.
Recording information: 5ta Estudio, Bogotá, Colombia; ABC Records, Barranquilla, Colombia; Avatar Studios, NY; Cocoa-Butt Studio, CA; Cosmos Studios, México; Flybot, Bogotá, Colombia; GML Recording Studio, Miami; Hit Factory Criteria, Miami; José Aguirre Producciones; Leo Music Productions, Valledupar, Colombia; Monterrey Sound Studios; Rola Studios, PR; Siluma Studio, Barranquilla, Colombia; White Lemmon Recording Studios, Bogotá, Colombia.
Photographer: Ariadna Sodi.
There is a reason that Thalia is a global pop culture icon. It goes beyond her hits and the telenovelas of the 1980s and '90s that drew more viewers than the World Cup, and completely transcends the continued -- and appalling -- general Anglo ignorance about her music. Her musical appetite is enormous; she is adept at plugging into the zeitgeist on the charts and reinventing it in her own image.
Latina is her 13th studio album, and was ably produced by Sergio George. This set picks up where 2014's Amore Mio left off. It seamlessly synthesizes pop styles and Latin traditions. Opener (and first single) "Desde Esa Noche" features a guest spot by Colombian sensation Maluma: Reggaeton is juxtaposed against mariachi horns and cumbian accordion. The skittering beats and pulsing bassline are exhortations to the dancefloor. It's not the only collaboration here, either. "De Ti," with vallenato superstar Silvestre Dangond, manages a reinvention of Colombia's longstanding pop sound through the lenses of bachata and just a touch of early rock (à la doo wop), driven by whomping club beats. Reggaeton and old-school cumbia meet head on in "Todavia Ti Quero" featuring De La Ghetto. "Frutas" is a burning, funky salsa with Chiky Bom Bom "La Pantera" and one of the strongest cuts here. Omi and Jacob Forever claim the mike at the beginning of the floor strutter "Todo (Poso Se Thelo)" -- in English -- with Thalia offering the syncopated choruses and final verses in both Spanish and English. The dropped basslines are killer.
The fine participation of guests aside, the rest of what's here reveals that Thalia could have carried this set on her own. Check the powerful second single, "Vuélveme a Querer." It begins as a tender pop ballad and transforms itself into a Latin rock anthem in waltz time. While "Tiki Tiki Ta (Uno Momento)" is slick, razor-sharp modern cumbia, "Pena Negra" is a passionate update of Afro Cuban son. "Enemigos," by turn, is a slow, sultry, steamy salsa. Old-school fans have plenty to enjoy here, too: "Te Encontraré" is a fist-pumping Latin pop song, while the classy midtempo ballad "Poquita Fe" contains jazzy arrangements for nylon-string guitar and horns. Closer "Vivir Junto a Ti" is classic Thalia.
Latina is more consistent than Amore Mio. The album's songwriting (by a slew of the best Latin music has to offer) is inspired, canny, and sharp, as are the performances and George's production. But it's more than that. Thalia has nothing to prove. She could easily have made a pop album for fans and they would have been satisfied. That she took such creative risks in trying to engage new listeners -- at this juncture in her career -- reaffirms not only her stature, but her ambition and confidence as an artist. ~ Thom Jurek