15th June, 2002

Wiki | Video

The last time Chayanne appeared in these pages, I complained that (at least as far as his #1s history goes) he lacked a real identity beyond "smoldering jawline," his thin voice and limited expressiveness held hostage to his choice of material, and his production rarely keeping up with the times. As if in answer to my complaints, his new #1 begins with a twitchy electronic rhythm which sounds exactly like 2002.

Unfortunately, it's then overlaid with a pillowy bed of bombastic ballad signifiers, less of its time than of the generic "anywhen" of adult contemporary, and all that's left is emoting.

Surprisingly, the emoting works. That's because the song itself is a good one, architecturally well-constructed, and Chayanne's overdriven performance matches the heightened emotions that the chordal structure, the pacing, and the production dynamics evoke. For this, we can thank the song's writer, an almost forgotten name which we only met once, in 1991: earnest Venezuelan singer-songwriter Franco de Vita. I sneered rather heavily at him then, in terms that I now think are not entirely warranted, but his emulation of pop craftsmen like Billy Joel pays off here: "Y Tú Te Vas" (and you leave) is a strong song, its sound structure able to overcome a self-pitying lyric. When Chayanne allows a little pseudo-soulful grit into his voice on the chorus, it's the most effective singing I've ever heard from him.

The video is exactly as lavish and generic as the song: but I like it because its sympathies are never entirely with Chayanne, who smolders ineffectively; the woman leaves anyway, and all his self-pity is for naught.

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