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Album Review

Julieta Venegas made a remarkable debut in 1998 with Aquí, an album of enormous breadth and boldness. Her follow-up, Bueninvento, is no less bold, though it is more stylistically consistent from beginning to end. The piano songs that characterized the second half of Aquí are nowhere to be found on Bueninvento, as Venegas instead delves headlong into the style of driving rock en español exemplified by "De Mis Pasos," one of the two singles from Aquí. Like "De Mis Pasos," the songs of Bueninvento are driven by drums (often programmed), accordion accents, electric guitar, and compelling choruses. There's also a lot of keyboard, which becomes evident immediately, on the album-opener, "Fé," which sounds like an amped-up rewrite of "Cómo Sé," the other single from Aquí. The second song on Bueninvento, "Hoy No Quiero," makes evident the degree to which guitars play a large role in driving these songs with aggressive forward momentum. In fact, the entire opening stretch of songs showcases the qualities of Bueninvento; for instance, "Casa Abandonada," the third song, opens with a minute-long solo accordion riff, while "Enero y Abril," the fourth song, is richly layered with programmed beats. As Bueninvento progresses, the variations in mood and intensity from song to song become the most noticeable aspect of the album: downbeat songs often follow upbeat ones, and loud choruses often cut through the calm opening verses, with a chaotic finale capping off most songs. A few songs toward the end of the album stand tall: "Bueninvento," which rattles along on a nervy beatscape and erupts with strings toward its close; "Sería Feliz," the successive song, which mesmerizingly seems to sway back and forth; and then "Instantánea," which opens with a couple minutes of tense acoustic guitar strumming and fragile singing, then ruptures gloriously. Despite the many standout songs, Bueninvento plays like one long 14-song suite. The songs themselves have their unique characteristics, to be sure, yet end up seeming like sequenced movements when the album finally comes a close after 54 tumultuous minutes. While this can make the album difficult to penetrate at first listen — make no mistake, this is not pop music — Bueninvento is a deeply rewarding album, one that is rich with tension and intensity and one that reveals itself a little differently with each listen.


Born: 24 November 1970 in Tijuana, Mexico

Genre: Pop in Spanish

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Mexican singer/songwriter Julieta Venegas established initially established herself as a cutting-edge Latin alternative artist during the late '90s, before her career shifted direction significantly with her third album, Sí (2003), a broadly appealing pop/rock effort graced with genuine hits, including a couple chart-toppers. In the wake of her 2003 breakthrough, Venegas didn't look back. Her next album, Limón y Sal (2006), was just as broadly appealing as its predecessor, and it was an even bigger...
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Bueninvento, Julieta Venegas
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