5th February, 2005
I said not long ago that we'd hear Juanes do better than "Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor." Peak Juanes is yet to come, but "Volverte a Ver" (see you again) isn't far off: a Nineties-style combination of rock grit and reggae flow, it's corny, but authentically corny: the emotions it communicates are sincerely communicated, if easily commoditized and hyper-consumable.
Juanes' performance at the center of the song is what really sells it, of course: his voice is as thin and strained as ever, but he knows how to use it to maximum effect to sell the song's heroic-faithfulness emotions without spinning into the kind of self-regarding bathos that (for example) Enrique Iglesias would. And the production backs him up with classic rock-band dynamics: Emmanuel Briceño's Fender Rhodes laying out a rootsy but polished bed for the opening verse and Juanes' guitar only crunching into stop-start bridge to the reggae chorus.
Juanes is undeniably a pop classicist, in love with the sounds and structures of the past, but the gloss and dynamism of his work means that he can sound just as contemporary and vital as his generational peers like Ricky Martin or Shakira. As of this #1, he hasn't yet achieved their heights with a perfectly iconic song; but one is on its way.