By Pablo De Sainz
Although Puerto Rico’s Olga Tañon is considered the Queen of Merengue, her newest production “Sobrevivir” (Warner Music Latina, 2002) offers much more than the usual tropical rhythm.
“Sobrevivir” is a perfect array of musical genres: beautiful, romantic ballads; modern pop songs; and ,of course, the groovy merengue songs that have brought international recognition to the artist. This album even includes a ranchera version of one song, with mariachi and all.
The three time Grammy Award winner shows a great deal of musical maturity in “Sobrevivir.” No wonder Tañon became the only female Hispanic artist to receive the Grammy two years in a row. And in this album, Tañon has assembled a trio of strong producers, that, without a doubt, make it even a stronger production: Hum-berto Gatica, who’s been Spain’s Alejandro Sanz’s producer; Kike Santander, composer and producer of songs by Thalia, Cristian Castro, and Gloria Estefan; and Manuel Tejada, a long time Tañon producer and collaborator.
“Sobrevivir” includes several ballads, that remind us of “Nuevos Senderos,” Tañon’s 1995 ballad album, produced in collaboration with one of Mexico’s most popular balladist and composers, Marco Antonio Solis, “El Buki.” That album sold over 500,000 copies and proved Tañon’s a dynamic artist who can sing in a variety of musical genres.
“Mentiras” is one the beautiful ballads included in “Sobrevivir”. This track tells of a woman who puts an end to a tormenting relationship:
“Mentiras, como olvidar tus mentiras,
frases palabras vacías que dejan profundas heridas,
tus mentiras, una rutina aburrida,
me cansé y no quiero oír más tus mentiras.”
“A partir de hoy” is a hymn of liberation with a positive attitude where Tañon’s voice can be beautifully appreciated. Other ballads in the album are “No podrás,” written by Kike Santander; the track that gives the album its name, “Sobrevivir;” and “Ángel de mi corazón,” a song that could be Tañon’s tribute to her daughter.
This great production also includes “Quién diría,” a duo with Luis Fonsi, a popular pop singer who sings in English and Spanish. In this ballad, Tañon’s voice is perfectly complemented with Fonsi’s.
“Quién diría que daría mi vida por tí,
no me dejes así,
quién diría que no puedo estar sin tu amor,
que yo te sueño...”
In addition to the ballads, “Sobrevivir” offers a good set of moving pop and merengue songs. “Beso a beso” is a modern tango mixed with R & B, giving it a sound similar to some of Marc Anthony’s hits. “Caramelo” seems to be the track in which Tañon had the most fun recording. It is a tongue twister full of rhythm and surely will be become a dance floor classic.
With “Sobrevivir,” Tañon adds a new album to her successful discography, which includes, among others, “Sola” (1992), “Mujer de fuego” (1993), “Siente el amor” (1994), “Exitos y más” (1995), “Nuevos senderos” (1995), “Llévame contigo” (2000), and “Yo por tí” (2001).