14th October, 2000

Wiki | Video

Although in low-resolution hindsight it's easy to mistake Christina Aguilera for being part of the wave of young Latinos renovating Latin pop around the turn of the century -- a peer to Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, at least -- this is her sole appearance (as of mid-2017) on this travelogue, and after the comparatively middling sales of Mi Reflejo would rarely record in Spanish again, and then only in duet with an established Latin star.

While she did hire hitmaking Cuban-American songwriter and producer Rudy Pérez (we last saw him assisting Luis Fonsi) to translate "Come on Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" into vernacular Spanish, the production remains pure Stockholm, Johan Åberg's piano, string stabs, and fake scratching ported over wholesale from the English-language original.

So ultimately, despite Aguilera's half-Ecuadorian heritage, "Ven Conmigo" is exactly as much an opportunistic cash-in on the newfound brand-expansion possibilities of the Latin market as any Anglo star might have done: indeed, acts like N'Sync were recording versions of their hits in Spanish, as would Beyoncé years later. That it worked, to the extent that she is one of the exclusive club to have both Hot 100 and Hot Latin #1 hits with the same song, is a tribute to the breezy, galvanic joy of Åberg's production, Pérez' solid work finding rhythmic equivalence in Spanish, and her slightly mechanical but always impressive performance.

It's one of those songs (common early in her career, much rarer later on) when her overdriven vocals sync up with an overdriven emotional state (the excitement of young, sexually curious love), so that her endless elaboration feels like a spontaneous expression of excitement rather than mere showboating. If we're not going to see here again here, at least she left her mark.

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