19th July, 2003

Wiki | Video

Summer, 2003 was fairly late in the millennial-pop era which had first crested in the late 90s: in the Anglosphere, *NSYNC had parted ways, Beyoncé had gone solo, and even Eminem had started taking himself seriously with 8 Mile. The Latin boomlet of 1999 was experiencing its own growing pains, as the next generation of Latin pop stars were coming into their own; mainstays like Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, and Shakira would have to adapt to new climates.

This song introduces two voices we'll meet again (one more frequently than the other), and whose highest moments of pop imperiality are still some years off. But their careers, intersecting here for the first time, have run in odd parallel. Their debut albums debuted within a week of each other in October 2000, and their first hits, "I'm Like a Bird" and "Nada," though quite different thematically, showed off a shared melodic flair and deceptive lightness of touch (and thinness of voice) that meant they would both be perpetually underrated for years.

"Fotografía," as the title suggests, is in a long string of pop songs about mooning over a lost loved one's recorded image: the Pretenders/Selena, Def Leppard, and a bit later Nickelback have all bettered it in terms of staying power, but for sheer charm, the Colombian Juanes and Portuguese-Canadian Furtado are hard to beat. The thin, shuffling beat, the carefully but not intricately picked guitar, an electronic whine, and eventually an electric buzz, make up nearly the whole of the production: the focus is on their voices, both nasal and unadventurous, sticking closely to the sing-song pseudo-reggae template. Which sounds like a formula for dullness, but Juanes' melodic gifts and Furtado's surprisingly excellent Spanish make the song one of the best Hot Latin #1s of 2003, behind only Shakira and India.

They would collaborate again, reversing the ft. credit on Nelly Furtado's 2006 single "Te Busqué", but since it only hit #1 in Spain, we won't cover it here. But we'll have plenty of time to get to know Juanes: he's only getting started.

No comments:

Post a Comment