Print this Page

World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Alejandro Fernandez

By Jeff Tamarkin
Published January 24, 2008

Viento A Favor
Norte

Fifteen albums into his career—roughly one per year since his 1992 debut—Alejandro Fernandez remains the most popular singer of romantic songs in Mexico today. Like his father, the larger-than-life Vicente Fernandez, Alejandro doesn’t believe in holding back: He throws himself fully into his lush arrangements, and if his vocals are sometimes over-the-top, that’s mainly because he can get away with it. Viento A Favor finds Fernandez turning away from traditional rancheros and deeper into pop—a move that has allegedly cost him some of his fanbase. There are more dance beats here than before, starting with “A Manos Llenas”—the album’s second song and one of its liveliest—while “Amor Gitano,” an uptempo flamenco duet with Beyoncé, is also thrilling. But even when the rhythm is harder and the horns take a funky direction that might leave mariachi fans cold, Fernandez never loses his natural inclination toward the come-hither croon. In the end, the ballads best showcase his considerable skills, and tracks like the lovely “Estabas Ahi” and “Tanto Amar” will more than please the loyalists.