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El Patrón

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Album Review

Tito el Bambino's third album, El Patrón, finds him developing as an artist and experimenting with different styles without abandoning his reggaeton roots. Tito's previous album, It's My Time (2008), also found him moving forward creatively. On that album he worked with a long list of different producers, everyone from Luny Tunes and Mambo Kingz to the Neptunes, and branched out stylistically, but the results were unfortunately mixed and didn't quite measure up to his debut album, Top of the Line (2006), and its smash hit single, "Caile." In contrast, El Patrón is a solid effort filled with lots of good songs and a few excellent ones. It's also a balanced album that includes the reggaeton style for which Tito is best known, plus several songs on which he tries out different tropical styles. The most obvious stylistic experiment is the album's opening song and primary highlight, "El Amor," a heart-warming cumbia produced by Nérol that showcases Tito's singing ability. It's curious that "El Amor" is sequenced first, given how uncharacteristic it is of both Tito and El Patrón, yet it's the most sure-fire hit and gets the album off to a surprising start. After "El Amor," El Patrón turns toward the style of reggaeton that fans expect, much of it produced by Monserrate, but there are a few other intermittently sequenced songs where Tito switches styles, most impressively on the mid-album bachata "Te Comencé a Querer." Among the reggaeton songs, there are several standouts, in particular the collaborations "Mi Cama Huele a Ti" (with Zion & Lennox) and "Agárrala" (with Plan B), plus "Suéltate" and "Under." Furthermore, and perhaps best of all, there isn't any filler on El Patrón (that is, with the exception of the "La Victoria" special edition, which appends a few extraneous versions of "El Amor" and "Mi Cama Huele a Ti").

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