Ricardo Arjona: Apague la Luz y Escuche

October 30, 2016

arjona1All Time Record

Listening Post 71. When Ricardo Arjona was playing on Guatemala’s state basketball team in 1987, he scored 78 points in a single game, setting a national record that stood for decades. He also has impressive numbers as a singer-songwriter—filling 100,000-seat stadiums and selling 20 million albums, placing him among the most popular Latin American artists of all time. Arjona crafts his music from elegant melodies and passionate lyrics; from a pop/rock base, he has explored a wide spectrum of Latin and Caribbean styles, probing love, culture and social issues. Apague la Luz y Escuche (Turn Off the Light and Listen), his sixteenth studio album, is an all-acoustic reset—reacting to what he calls “the massive productions and noise” of the music industry—with three new songs and 13 stripped-down arrangements of past hits. There’s a telltale bounce to Nada Es Como Tú (There’s Nothing Like You), which sustains a mystery over the object of his affection: “I watch you hunting insects/As I drink my coffee,” the proud father sings, “You must have flaws/But my loving eyes don’t see them” (video 1). Malena is an adolescent’s fantasy about the town’s most beautiful woman (inspired by a Giuseppe Tornatore film): “I want to swim in your mouth/Become clothing and stick to your body,” the boy declares (video 2). Su Menester (Your Need) trolls the edge between desire and longing: “I love the sailor’s farewell kiss/Even though it ends in loneliness” (video 3). The album has an intimate song for almost every facet of love, including struggle (Para Bien o Para Mal), reunion (Adiós Melancolía) and sensuality (Duerme). At 70 minutes, Apague la Luz… runs longer than a regulation basketball game, with one slam-dunk after another. (Metamorphosis Enterprises)






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