6th February, 2010
We haven't heard from Alejandro Fernández since 2004, and so much has changed since then. Maybe the most obvious change is signalled by the fact the single for "Se Me Va la Voz" (losing my voice) was supported by two remixes: a bachata one featuring Héctor Acosta, and an urbano one featuring Tito El Bambino. What we're missing, maybe more obviously from Alejandro Fernández than from anyone else, is a Mexican regional version. But that's because "Se Me Va la Voz" was the second single from Dos Mundos, which was a double album released as Dos Mundos: Tradición (a ranchera record) and Dos Mundos: Evolución (a modern pop/rock record). The first single, "Estuve", was from the Tradición side, and covers much the same themes, athough in a classicist black-and-white video compared to the hypercontemporary, moody pop/rock of "Voz."
"Se Me Va la Voz" was written by Roy Tavaré, a Dominican-born journeyman singer, songwriter, and arranger based in Miami, and produced by Áureo Baqueiro, a long-serving Mexican producer who was responsible for Sin Bandera's signature sound from nowhere. Comparing it to the sound of "Estuve" is instructive: Fernández sounds painfully generic and buried beneath the rock-band swell of the production here, where in the ranchera song his voice is given the sonic space to resonate with the superb technique I first admired him for way back in the late 90s.
Insofar as the song means anything more than "here's Alejandro Fernández singing a rock-inflected song" (complete with fourth-generation Beatlesesque na-na-nas), it's a song of romantic longing, the singer losing his voice because of desire for an unattainable woman. The fact that it ports over so easily to bachata and reggaetón is itself a cautionary sign: nothing about it is intrinsic to its form, and it just as easily slips out of the mind as it slipped into the ears, a one-week wonder at #1.
As of this writing, it's the last we'll hear from Alejandro Fernández: his one-time rivalry with the other second-generation pop pinup has been definitively won by Enrique Iglesias, whose comfort with the limited range and aggressive egotism of contemporary production far outstrips Fernández's. He remains an enormous star, but the contortions necessary to remain relevant in an ever-increasingly pop-focused market are beyond him. Ave, Alejandro.